Rural Adventures

Fall-ing into winter

Loretta LiefveldI stretch to pick that one, huge, perfect apple, just barely out of reach.  It’s so much larger than the other apples on the tree and looks so beautiful.  I know I should get down and re-position the ladder, but it seems like so much trouble for just one more apple.  My 5-gallon bucket is almost full.  It’s just one more.

But what's wrong with this picture?

Feeling the ladder start to give way, I briefly think about grabbing the branch in front of me.  Just as quickly, I realize that the branch is old and probably brittle.  Grabbing it would only add more debris under me, over me, beside me.  The ladder is going to fall under me.  I kick away from it, not knowing if I’m kicking the ladder away from me, or kicking myself away from the ladder.  It doesn’t matter.  We are now separated.

I’m not that far above the ground.   It only looks that way.   It’s a 6-foot ladder, so my feet are only 4 feet above the ground.  I could probably land on my feet.   I’ve landed on my feet from higher elevations than this.  But the ground is sloped, and it’s covered with apples that could roll under my feet.  I could easily break my ankle.  I should try to land on my butt.   It’s the most padded, and least likely to break.

All of this took mere seconds, surprisingly.  I successfully landed mostly on my butt, but also on my back, knocking the wind out of me for a minute.  But in only a few more seconds, I was sitting up, holding my left wrist tightly, as excruciating pain radiated through my consciousness.  I could hardy breathe.  How odd--the pain is in my wrist, but it’s so intense, that I can’t stand up or walk.  I’m not sure where my husband is, and I didn’t bring my phone out with me.  It takes 5 minutes or so, before I can stand.

Holding my wrist tightly seems to alleviate the pain somewhat.  I find my husband, who wraps it with an elastic bandage.  Two aspirin and an ice pack that I keep in the freezer also hold the pain at bay.  But an hour later, I decide I should see the doctor.  X-rays show that no bones are broken, but it seems that I have torn a ligament in the area between the ulna and the radius (the two major bones coming into the wrist).  I will be in a cast for 6 weeks... well into winter.

All of which brings me to ladder safety. I do know better than to do what I did.The ground was sloped. The ladder was not stabilized. I was depending on shifting my weight on the ladder to compensate for the lack of stability. I stood on a step higher than was safe, and finally, rather than getting down and moving the ladder, I stretched to reach.

Just to remind everyone, here are some safety rules for harvesting fruit (do as I say not as I did):

Use the right ladder for the job

Stepladders are the kind most people think of when they think of ladders. These should only be used on flat even ground.


An ‘orchard’ ladder has a tripod design and is only for orchard and landscape maintenance, such as pruning and harvesting fruit. It is lightweight, portable and is intended for uneven ground.

An Extension ladder is a long, straight, non-self-supporting ladder, that must be supported at the top by leaning it evenly against something.  This type of ladder is good for painting houses or getting up to a high place, like a roof.  But it is difficult to use in an orchard setting, since trees rarely have sufficient places to evenly support the top.


Extension ladder



A multi-purpose ladder, also called an articulating ladder, has joints that can be locked in place to create a stepladder, an extension ladder, or a step ladder that is shorter on one side. This kind of ladder is good for placement where the ground is on one side, but isn’t as good if the ground slopes in two directions.

Make sure the ladder is properly supported

  • The legs of an orchard ladder should sink slightly into the ground.For uneven ground, the next best choice is an articulating ladder. If the ground slopes in two directions, place a solid piece of wood under the ‘short’ leg.  Make sure the wood is large enough that the ladder won’t slip off of the wood, and make sure the legs are now even                                                                       
  • Do not use a stepladder if the ground is sloped or uneven. It is extremely difficult to properly support a stepladder under these conditions.Do not step on the top of the ladder. It may look like a step, but it’s not.  
  • As a matter of fact, standing on the step next to the top step is even questionable.  The closer you get to the top of the ladder, the more unstable you will be.
  • Do not reach sideways or diagonally above you. Reaching will change the point of stability.  Just take the extra time to get off the ladder and re-position it correctly.

Finally, it’s a great idea to let someone know when you are going to be on a ladder.  Better yet, have a household rule – no one gets on a ladder

Photos courtesy of Loretta Liefveld

Foraging Treasures

Loretta LiefveldIt's hunting season now, and we've been trying to figure out where all the elk are, since we're new to the area. So, a few days ago, we decided to take a drive specifically to find a good hunting spot.

We loaded the ATV into the back of the pickup truck (a feat in itself) and took off into parts unknown. Robby had found a hunting app that he downloaded to his phone, showing all the forest roads and trails and indicating public vs private lands.

As we drove along unfamiliar forestry roads, we noticed an enormous number of elderberry trees along the side of the roads. The umbrella-like heads of elderberries were gigantic!

They were much, much bigger than the ones I've managed to find on our property We finally decided to stop and gather some.

Most of the best heads were at the top of the trees, so Robby, bent the branches down, and I cut or broke the branches right where the heads were. Soon, we had a large pile at our feet.

Since we didn't plan on this activity, we had no container for them. Ah, but we DID have the ATV which has a bed. I started loading them into the ATV.

When we had finished one tree, we saw several others within just a few feet. Of course we had to get those as well.

Then we started back on our original journey. But now, those gigantic heads of berries just jumped right out at us from the side of the road, saying "pick me, pick me. Of course, we just had to stop and pick those too.

When we got home, I emptied them out of the ATV bed and filled two 5-gallon buckets and half of a large Rubbermaid rectangular container.

It seemed like a lot more than I thought we had picked. But, we had lots of leaves and branches. Surely those took up a lot of room.

The next morning, Robby brought the berries into the house, rescuing them from the chickens, which had discovered them and decided they were a real treat. I spent the next three hours getting the berries off the branches.

My previous experience had been with very meager heads, and this was a completely new experience.

Elderberries with leaves

For the first bucketful, I snipped the small bunches of berries off the main head. They grow much like grapes do, with tiny stems connected to another tiny bunch, and then connected to a 'main' stem.

The result of this method wasn't very satisfactory. I ended up with tons of tiny stems mixed in with the berries, and it was very difficult to get them out.

I changed my approach, and just pulled the berries off the entire head with a rolling or pulling motion.

The small, dark ones didn't come off easily. The big dusky ones practically fell off.

By tasting them, I realized that the small, dark berries just weren't as ripe. So I concentrated on the ones that came off easily.

Elderberries cleaned and washed in sink

By the time I was done, I had two 8-quart pans and several 4-6 quart pans filled with berries. I estimated I had 30 quarts of berries!

Do you have any idea of how much that is? I had run out of containers.

Elderberries cleaned and washed in pot

My 'treasure' was beginning to look more like a disaster.

I decided to make juice with some, using it later to make pancake syrup. The remaining berries would become ice cream topping or pie filling.

I filled my 8-quart crockpot and set it on low to start one batch cooking. I took my 8-quart stockpot filled with berries, added some water to keep them from scorching, and started cooking that batch on low.

The rest of the berries just sat there — waiting their turn.

The next day, one of our apple trees, which were all extremely prolific this year, distracted me. We've been taking 2-3 buckets of windfall apples out to the meadow every day, and yet the branches are still bending from the weight of more apples.

Robby really loves apple pie, but I have to confess, I've never made a pie from scratch. I decided with this 'treasure' of apples, I should learn.

The berries sat, while I dealt with the apples.

I picked about 2/3 of a bucket of fairly good apples. Since there are wild apple trees everywhere, unattended, wormy apples come with the territory.

For some reason, this tree had a lot of apples that had no worm holes.

I don't have one of those corer/peeler things. I had one once, but it just didn't work well with lopsided apples.

So I peeled, cored, and sliced those apples totally by hand. I ended up with about 13 quarts of raw apple slices.

I cooked them in a sugar syrup for 5 minutes, packed them into quart-sized jars and filled the jars with the syrup. My canner holds 7 quarts, so the rest of them will become apple pie tonight.

Whew! Now that the apples have been dispensed with, it's back to the elderberries.

I had accidentally left the crockpot on low this entire time, so that batch is scorched. But I managed to can four jars of berries in syrup, for either pie or ice cream topping.

It's now been almost a week since picking the berries. After all this work, I'm briefly questioning whether this was a foraging treasure or a foraging nightmare.

Photos property of Loretta Liefveld.

In Search Of The Perfect Plant Label

Loretta LiefveldIf you're anything like me, you gaze in wonder at those cute little plant labels made of wrought iron, ceramic, wood, or painted rocks, wood, "whatever." You know — the ones that just say "Basil," "Tomatoes," "Sage," etc. You wonder if it's possible for you to make something like that says "Purple Basil," "Thai Basil," "Beefsteak Tomato," "Roma Tomato." After all, it's pretty easy to figure out that a plant is a tomato plant — there's nothing quite like it. Zucchini squash is pretty easy to figure out, too. But if there are three different varieties, well, that's a different story.

There are many, many homemade plant label instructions and ideas online: painted rocks, spoons with a decoupage of the seed package in the spoon bowl, seed packages inside plastic zip baggies placed upside down on a stick, permanent markers on sticks, etched aluminum or copper tags. But they all have their drawbacks. Too short, too tall, too hard to make, not durable, fade or fall apart by the end of the season/harvest, or just plain ugly. I've tried many. But I think I've now hit on the perfect plant labels. They are tall enough to see over most mature plants. They last at least two seasons (so far), are easy to make, inexpensive and easy to store. Let me share my experience with you.


Items needed:

  • Wide, wooden plant label sticks. They aren't easy to find, but I found some that were 6 inches long and 3/4" wide. Popsicle sticks aren't quite wide enough, unfortunately, but they could be used in a pinch.
  • Labels made using a label maker. The one I use has a cartridge, and the laminated tape comes in 2 different widths. I found that labels printed on a laser jet printer from the computer just don't hold up. No matter what you do, the ink eventually fades, and it takes way too much work to put enough sealer on the paper to make it last outdoors.
  • Metal plant sticks. I like 28" simple metal stakes with the end bent into a flat circle. Some are also available where the bent circle is angled back a little, for easier viewing. The 28" height allows it to be pushed into the ground to hold it and yet still tall enough to be able to see it above a mature plant. I think mine are powder-coated... it seems more durable than just paint.
  • Liquid Nails or other glue that bonds wood to metal. I haven't tried glue sticks yet. If you have used glue sticks to bond wood to metal for outdoor use and it works, please comment.
  • Spar Urethane. There are several brands, but all of the ones for outdoor use must be applied by dipping or with a brush. None of the clear spray sealers will hold up for long-term outdoor use!

glued wood on stakes


  1. Print labels on the label maker with a large print. Multiple plant names can be lined up one after the other, leaving extra space in between for cutting. Two lines can be used if you want to shorten the length of the finished label, but that's more difficult if typing multiple names on a single pass.
  2. Peel the label adhesive off the label and stick onto the wooden plant label stick. If you haven't added enough spaces between the plant names when you printed the label, cut the labels first so you have enough room.
  3. Cut the wooden plant labels apart and sand the corners and any rough edges.
  4. Glue the wood labels onto the circle of the metal plant sticks. Use plenty of glue. Make sure the wood label is straight.
  5. Let dry completely. As a guide, use the maximum amount of time from the glue instructions. It may say something like "dry to the touch in 15 minutes…allow to dry 24 hours before use." In that case, let it dry for 24 hours. You want to make sure the glue is thoroughly dry.
  6. Cover with at least two coats of spar urethane. The instructions on the brand that I use say to put on a thin coat, let dry for two (2) hours and lightly sand before putting on a 2nd. These are so small, that I actually dip them into the urethane, let them drip for a bit, then wipe with an almost dry brush.

drying stakes

At first, I had difficulty arranging them to dry. Then I hit upon the perfect solution. I have a vinyl-covered wire rack with drawers of various depths. I took two drawers of different depths and put them upside down inside each other. Placing the "wire stems" of the plant labels through the same vertical space and varying the horizontal spacing worked perfectly.

sealant drying

Finally, after drying completely, here they are, ready to place in the garden.

wood glued to stake

Photos property of Loretta Liefveld.

Too Big A Bite

Winter was almost over.   Spring was coming.  Snow had turned to rain, and the temperatures were starting to rise.   My mailbox was filling with seed catalogs.   Time to seriously start planning.

This winter, I tried starting my own seedlings inside.  I bought 10 starting trays with domes and inserts, heating mats and 'smart' automatic timers.  I cleared two entire shelves of my metal shelf rack.  An existing two-bulb light provided the required lighting.  But I had zero luck.  My artichokes finally sprouted, but just sat there and didn't grow.   The asparagus sprouted sparsely.  Broccoli and tomatoes didn't even sprout until I planted seeds a second time.  Snapdragons and onions sprouted prolifically and then just died before they even got as tall as the edges of the inserts.  

I had big plans.  For the first time, I started a journal... that had always seemed too onerous before.   Every day was documented in the journal:  planted beefsteak tomatoes, 4 artichokes sprouted, etc.  Soon, my entries looked like this:  replanted asparagus, replanted artichokes, replanted onions.  It was getting very depressing.

My original plans called for four raised beds with rotating crops.  But we had managed to only build two before my husband had knee-replacement surgery in December.  I really wasn't up to building these all by myself and didn't really need them during winter.   Then spring came, and with it came a kidney donation to his niece-in-law and then ankle-replacement surgery.  Unlike the knee replacement, ankle replacement calls for eight weeks of non-weight bearing.  Building more raised beds was out.

A corner of the garden in the front was looking more inviting.  

I had already dug out a section for in-ground compost and it was half filled.  By spring, it was complete, and I had started another.   My plan was to plant asparagus and artichokes against the fence as permanent plantings.  Since my own seedlings didn't make it, I broke down and bought some.  I was sad that these were just 'generic' asparagus plants (just labeled 'asparagus') and Green Globe artichokes (instead of the varieties I thought would do better in my area).  

Store-bought broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, and bok choi sat in containers while I dug up places for those, dislodging a huge pile of basalt rocks ranging from baseball size to larger than basketball size.  Rain hindered my efforts, making the soil wet and muddy and impossible to work.  A couple of days of sun and I could dig for one day.  The rain brought out all the weeds, and soon I had to weed-eat instead of spending time digging.  Colder weather came back, which meant more time splitting and stacking wood.  New chicks meant building a coop.

I managed to plant a second set of snap peas, and a few leeks and potatoes went into the dormant raised bed.  But I ran out of room before planting the onions and the lettuce, spinach and bok choi started bolting after only 2 days of fairly hot weather.  Relatives came to visit and my time was spent with them.  No one except me liked kale, so it was ignored and grew taller and taller.

No doubt about it.   My plans were bigger than my ability to carry them out.  I had taken too big a bite.

I’ll continue on, but the plan has gone by the wayside, and I’m not going to try to revive it for this year.   I have a little bit of space left in one of the raised beds, so I might plant one more row of snap beans.  I took all of the flower seed packets, combined them, and then just scattered them over the remaining sections of the front corner garden.  Three different types of clover are starting to sprout as a cover crop over the rest of the garden.  But I still have tons of seed packets left.  It’s time to start planting warm-weather crops, so I guess the squash will get planted, but I have to regroup for everything else.

Next year, I’ll try to be more reasonable in my expectations.   At least the areas that I dug this year will only need minimal work next year.  The piles of too-small-to-be-firewood have now been chipped, and will provide mulch over the summer and next winter.  After a larger coop has been built for the chickens (and now ducks), we can get to building the two planned raised beds (although I’m sure I’ll fill those quickly as well).

My plan for next year will be more like:  dig three new 3’ x 6’ areas, stack excavated rocks onto rock wall, build two raised beds, plan paths through garden, THEN  plant two tomatoes, 1/3 raised bed with lettuce (one row at a time), etc.

Anyone else have this problem?  Any other solutions?

20180601 front corner garden Small Custom

Winterized! I'm ready...or am I?

Loretta Liefveld 

When does winter really start? Is it a date? Is it a temperature? Is it whenever you are "stuck" inside?  My answer is that it's different for different folks.

When our nighttime temperature first got down to below zero, I said "Winter is officially here."  But that was one night. We then had twoo weeks of drop-dead, gorgeous weather. Hmm ... maybe winter wasn't here after all. Then, one day, we had some snow flurries. Wow! Winter was finally here. But it didn't even stick to the ground, much less stay for even a day. Hmm ... maybe winter wasn't here after all. We finally had a 4-to-5-inch snowfall that covered not only the ground, but laid a 5-inch layer of snow onto the top of our heat pump, and 4 inches onto our portable greenhouse. NOW, winter was finally here.

But I was prepared (or so I thought). I had made hoops for one of my raised beds out of PVC pipe and shower curtains. I had gathered what seemed like tons of pine needles to cover my herb garden in a layer about 3-to-4 inches deep. I would have used leaves as mulch, but the leaves weren't falling much at that time. I pushed the pine needle mulch especially high right around the base of the plants. I had researched the plants to see which ones might survive and learned that for some of them, I should cut them down to the ground and pile mulch completely over the top of them. 

I was ready for winter! But was it enough?

The apple and cherry trees finally started dropping all their leaves, making a deep mat of leaves on the ground.  I did rake some up into a pile, but the pile never made it onto the garden.  

We did buy a wood chipper, but before we could use it to make wood chip mulch, it rained. Trying to make chips using soaking wet wood in a brand-new chipper didn't seem to make sense.

I thought about taking cuttings from some of my most cherished herbs, ones that aren't really supposed to be cold-hardy for my 6a Zone. But I had brought them here from my central California residence, and reasoned that they had withstood snow before (albeit only 1 to 2 days of snow). Besides, I've never been particularly successful with cutting propagation.

I had read that garlic would withstand winter, so I planted it in my raised bed that did not get hoops. My hooped raised bed had lettuce, kale, spinach, and snap peas.

So, was it enough?  I'm afraid only time will tell. We now have an accumulated 6 to 10 inches of snow (depending on where I look). This is what my raised beds look like now (December 28, 2017):

3_snow on raised beds 2017-12-28

In this picture, you can see the heat pump looks like it has about 10 inches of snow on top.

20171228102322 cropped Small

Finally, my front herb garden. You can see the tops of the shovel, the top of a rolling cart ... and all those "lumps" in the snow are plants. Yikes. Will they live?

Front herb garden covered in snow

Raised Beds Solve Rocky Soil Problem

Loretta Liefveld

If you’ve read any of my previous posts, you’ll completely understand why I decided that my vegetable garden will be planted in raised beds. This is a picture of what just the top of my back yard looks like, not to mention the black plastic that covers the entire yard about 4 inches below the soil, or the gigantic rocks lying about 8 inches beneath the surface.

Original back lawn

Large rocks in ground

I searched all over to figure out where to build my beds.  I checked both the front and backyard at different times of the day, so I could see where the sun fell at those times. I also wanted a place that was close to the house.  My previous garden was about 100 yards away from the house. In the summer, when it was hot, I just didn’t feel like walking that far to harvest vegetables. I knew I would be able to take care of them much easier if the garden were close.

I also had to decide on the size and materials. I wanted the beds to be high enough that I didn’t have to stoop down (another advantage of raised beds), so 2 to 3 feet seems about right. I wanted them to be sturdy (maybe even be able to sit on the edge) and easy to build. We decided on beds that are 3 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 2 feet tall. That would allow us to buy lumber in sizes that we didn’t need to cut very much.

I decided on alternating stacking pattern, partially for the strength and partially for the appearance. Here’s the result, before filling it.

Completed Raised Bed

I really wanted to utilize as much of the native soil as possible. Rob used the bulldozer to push a load of "dirt" over to my area.  Like everything around here, it was dirt and rocks, not beautiful, rock-free topsoil. So I had to sift the soil. Since our soil texture is primarily clay, I wanted to mix in plenty of organic material and some gypsum. 

First, I loosened up the soil at the bottom of the raised bed.  This also gives you an idea of what it would be like if I wanted to try to plant here.

Bottom of planter

Next, I needed some organic material to mix in. As I’ve mentioned before, we have lots of ponderosa pines and some red (Douglas) firs. So I took my trusty Husqvarna lawn tractor and its little trailer into the forest to gather "forest mulch."  In the old shed, I found four sifting screens made of half-inch hardware cloth in wooden frames. I wanted to sift out smaller rocks than that, so we put another layer into the frame and offset the holes, balanced the screens on top of planter, and I started sifting.

Sifting screen

The word sifting doesn’t really impart the effort involved.  I wanted about a 50/50 mix, so I would put three shovels of dirt/rocks onto the screen, and then four shovels of forest mulch. I used a short handled shovel to push the material back and forth until I only had rocks, pinecones, and small sticks left in the screen. I put this leftover debris into a wheelbarrow and started all over again.

Screening into raised bed

Little did I know that I would never be able to move that wheelbarrow once it was filled with rocks.

Wheelbarrow full of rocks

Needless to say, this was a long and arduous process, but finally it was finished, and I planted my first bed with some seedlings I had started earlier from seed, green bush beans, watermelon, basil, and peas (right to left). I also planted some carrot seed, but only two of them broke through.

Newly planted 1st bed
(June 30 2017)

I quickly realized that one bed wouldn’t even begin to be enough – even just for now.  

First planter plants grown
(August 27, 2017) 

I decided I needed at least four beds, just to get started. Fortunately, we recently moved the backyard fence out about 10 feet, giving me more room. We leveled pads for three more beds. It was really quite easy. I have a secret, little-known tool that makes this super easy…my husband (haha. He loves it when I say this).

Leveling ground for remaining beds

Soon, the second bed was finished as well, and ready to fill.

This time, I decided it was just way too much work to sift all that dirt and rock, so I bought raised bed mix. Most of the other bagged material that you can buy is meant to be mixed with the existing soil, and I did NOT want to go through that again. But, I finally figured out what to do with that huge rock-filled wheelbarrow that I couldn’t move. I shoveled it into the bottom of the raised bed! Shovelful by very heavy shovelful. But it was still easier than all the sifting I did for the first bed.

The raised bed mix was just a little to "fluffy" for my liking and I was afraid it would dry out too easily, so I mixed in some garden soil mix as well.

I planted two kinds of snap peas, two kinds of spinach, two kinds of kale and two kinds of kohlrabi. I also replanted my carrots. I have a couple of clear shower curtains that I’m using to cover the top of the raised bed when the nights were getting down to 32 degrees. But the days are wonderful, so I can open it up easily. 

First 2 beds planted for winter

I also took out my green beans, which were pretty much finished, and hung them up on the fence as a treat for the deer.  They loved it!  Two days later, they were all gone. 

Green beans for deer

 I’m always absolutely fascinated by how quickly plants grow. The bed starts out looking so lonely and it just isn’t any time at all before it’s filled to the brim. I can hardly wait for this one.

Dehydrating Wild Apples and Plums

Loretta LiefveldYesterday was another rainy day in Kamiah. I love the rain. I love watching it rain. I love doing indoor projects while it’s raining. 

I decided to dehydrate some wild apples I picked several days ago. I know, you aren’t "supposed" to dehydrate when it’s humid or raining, but I really don’t think it matters as long as you make sure the item is thoroughly dried. It just might take longer than usual. But since I normally just let my dehydrator run all night, it doesn’t make a lot of difference.

We have lots and lots of wild apple trees. Most of them have very small apples, but a few have some that are almost as large as the "small" apples sold in the stores. Most of them turn somewhat red-streaked when they are ripe, sort of like a ‘Fuji’ or ‘Gala.’  Most of them are also wormy, but I’ll just cut out the bad parts. The good parts will still be good for dried snacks and apple pies.

First, I used my electric slicer to slice them into ¼-inch slices. They are small enough that I can line up two or three at a time.  As the slices pile up, I immediately put them into a bowl of water so they don’t turn brown.

 2_20170919 Apples slices in colander

You can see that some of the slices look pretty good, but some have bruises or bad spots. On one apple slice, I noticed a worm that had been sliced in half. Yuck!  But at least it wasn’t crawling around.

I use an apple corer and a paring knife to make quick work of the bad spots. The apple corer quickly removes the core, and the paring knife cuts out other bad spots. I don’t worry about making "pretty" slices. The good slices go directly into a lemon juice/water mixture. The scraps go into a colander.

 3_20170919 3 apple slices and tools


4_20170919 Apple slices being cut 

You can see the proportion of good slices versus scraps in this picture. The scraps will go to my worm farm and my compost pile.

 5_20170919 Cleaned slices and scraps

Taking them out of the lemon juice mixture, I dry them in a clean towel, then arrange them on a dehydrator tray.

 6_20170919 Prepared Apple slices on tray

The apple slices didn’t use up all of the trays, so I decided to also dehydrate some of the plums I had picked.

8_20170919 plums in colander cropped 

The instructions said to blanch them for 30 seconds, which I thought was weird, but I did it. The skins all split, making it difficult to then cut them in half and remove the pit while still keeping the skin on.   

 9_20170919 plums in ice water cropped

The instructions said to put them on the tray with the skin down, so I tried to do that. In some cases, the skin had come completely off, so I put the skin on the tray, and then grabbed a skinless plum to put on top of the skin.

This morning, I took out the apples and checked the plums. The apples look great! I tried one, and they are the perfect consistency for a snack. I loaded them up into a quart jar. They barely fit.

7_20170920_Dried apple slices on tray


120170920Dried apple slices in jar cropped Small

The plums looked pretty weird. They stuck to the tray, and the skins that didn’t have any plums on top were crispy. I turned them over, according to the instructions, but I’m not holding out any hope. I’m sure they will taste fine, but they sure look weird.

99_20170919 Dried plums on tray before turning cropped 

Meanwhile, the store had a fantastic sale on strawberries, 4 pounds for $5! I bought 8 pounds! I'll freeze some with sugar (Rob's favorite dessert — sugared strawberries with cream). Then I'll slice some and try dehydrating those.

20170920 Strawberries 8 pounds cropped

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