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Strawberry Jam & A Recipe!

June 27, 2017

Lovely salads with our strawberries, lettuces, radishes, cherry tomatoes…

I have frozen so many bags of strawberries this season. Problem: There are so very many bags of strawberries in the freezer from last year!

Last year’s strawberries from the deep freeze.

Today I will remedy the problem: Strawberry Jam! I will make jam until all last year’s berries are out of the freezer.

Not sure how many jars I will have. The recipe says one batch is 8 cups. That requires 12 cups of berries. I have 17 quart bags of frozen strawberries, though some are over-filled, some under-filled. When they are all thawed I will pour them into an over-sized stainless steel bowl & get started. If there are strawberries left over but not enough for a full recipe, I will add raspberries & blackberries: Mixed Berry Jam!

Strawberry Cordial. Red Raspberry & Black Raspberry Cordials in the background.

Have a good day!
How about a recipe?

    Strawberries in Red Wine with Vanilla Bean

1 lb Small or Medium Strawberries
¼ cup Sugar
2 cups Dry Red Wine
1 Vanilla Bean, split in half lengthwise

Hull strawberries, cutting larger berries in half.
Combine all berries in non-aluminum bowl, sprinkle with sugar.
Add wine & vanilla bean.
Cover and refrigerate for 6 – 24 hours.
Enjoy over vanilla ice cream or pound cake.

Serve cold.

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Close The Gate

June 22, 2017

Mason first

Nearing sunset, DH walks to the truck, then calls the pups to join him on a ride to lock the gate. Our driveway is a quarter of a mile long, enough time for puppies to enjoy the air conditioning.

Dixon next

Mason loves the rides. Dixon must be coaxed.

Off they go!
Another day done.

Berries Are Ripe!

June 21, 2017

Raspberries are the Lord’s candy & they are ready for picking!
As the red raspberries ripen, the leaves change to a lighter green. Carefully place your fingers around the berry & gently pull. If it comes off in your hand, it is ripe. If it gives any resistance at all it is not ready.

Watch out for briars!

Black Raspberries have more antioxidants than any other berry including blueberries. They grow in clusters at the end of the florican, unless they are hiding under the leaves as solitary berries. A bit softer, sort of heavy, sweet, wonderful…yep, I like them very much!

Spiky briars on these guys.

I forgot to take a photo of the Blackberries & Blueberries. They have succumbed to the red raspberry onslaught – some plants forced out by the aggressive red raspberries so not as many this year. My favorites are the Thornless Blackberries. I hope to expand them in the fall. Shiny black berries that are so sweet! Planning to also add more blueberries.

Asian Beetles are wrecking their usual havoc. Last year they nearly destroyed all the strawberries. This year they are attacking the bramble berries with a vengeance. They eat the leaves & the fruit! When I see them resting quietly on the leaves, I quickly reach in a shmush them between my fingers. Sheesh! At least when the yellow jackets come they only want to eat the berries, not destroy the plants!

Pups jumped in the pick-up when I left the doors open fetching the tire iron.

I think it is time to start making jam. There are so many berries in the freezer from last year that I am running out of room for any other foods!

The big guys were hoping for a ride in the air conditioned truck.

Tuesday was a busy day: push mowed inside the new fenced garden; took the flat front tire off the tractor, had it repaired & put it back on the tractor so I could bush-hog today, but had to borrow Harry’s 19mm ratchet since my tire irons were too large; picked in the berry bramble, main garden & new garden; canned 8 quarts of dill pickles; tightened the bolt in the pot filler that was leaking; made homemade Keto Malted Chocolate Ice Cream (yum!); fiddled with the hens – there is definitely a snake eating some of the eggs……gonna have to sit out there with The Judge loaded with snake shot which I am not looking forward to ; errands, laundry, puppies… I forgot to exercise this morning but I did have my Bible time early. Unfortunately the list of what I didn’t get done is a much longer list.

Pups gave up on getting their ride in the truck when it took me a while to get the flat tractor tire off.

So, better get started on today’s To-Do list.
Have a great day!

Not-So-Mute Monday: Guardians Of The Barn Door?

May 15, 2017

Two little lizards were resting in the shade above the barn door.

Not expecting them, they kind of caught me by surprise.

Glad it wasn’t a snake.

Busy Week On The Farm

May 12, 2017

It has been a typically busy week here on the farm.

I have finally started bush-hogging the front pasture. The grass is too high to introduce cattle or goats currently, so I’m knocking it down a bit hoping to have grass-eating critters soon.

Of course the grass is so high I can’t see all the obstacles – like this stump that knocked the mower & tractor off & required me to make a call to DH to find out how to reset the silly thing when the tractor wouldn’t restart. Dangerous! Especially when the tractor starts sliding on a hill when I’m trying to cut along the upper fence.

Pups had their 1st visit to a Columbia vet. They caused quite a commotion in the waiting room coming & going. Sweet boys weigh 100 lbs. 9 oz.each. They should continue growing & adding weight for another 8 months or so.

If they are not aggravating hens, they are resting in the shade.

The hens continue turning greens from the garden into eggs. Now if they will just eat all the ticks that are covering the pups, DH & me!

Have a good weekend!

Mute Monday: Farm Store Fuzzy (Angora Rabbit)

May 8, 2017

I’m Back!

May 4, 2017

I haven’t been able to access my WordPress page for weeks & weeks! Finally stumbled onto the Bookmark in my history, so I’M BACK!

Being that it is Spring, I’ve actually been too busy to write – as I am right now, with a basketful of veggies & strawberries sitting on the counter in front of me.

But I’m going to at least let you know what I’ve been working on this week – a new fenced garden.

It was the fenced puppy yard last year when we brought the Pyres home. It was the chicken yard when the puppies learned to climb the fence. Now it will be the tomato garden, et al, for this summer. Hopefully I will get the raised garden beds enclosed in wooden frames by winter to move the strawberry plants to a more permanent location.

Did you know that large bags of raised-bed garden soil mix weigh about 40 pounds? On Tuesday I put 12 in place & planted the tomato plants. This morning I placed 15 bags & planted jalapeño peppers, cilantro, watermelons, green beans & cantaloupes.

I need at least 10 more bags to be able to plant okra, purple hull peas & white field corn, not sweet corn. So not finished yet.

This minute I am tired but the veggies must be washed – turnip greens, beet greens, Swiss chard, spinach & strawberries. Oh good – just caught a Colorado Potato Beetle climbing on the greens! Yikes! Bad, very bad bug!

Aren’t the purple top turnips pretty?

I forgot to take photos while working today…guess it was those extra 3 bags of soil… Oh well.

I gave the giant beet that has been growing since last Autumn & provided delicious leaves for mixed greens all winter to the hens. Nailed to the wall of the run should keep them occupied a while.

So that’s it! No more procrastinating – gonna wash the basketful…after I feed Lucy!