(Wasn't that a book by Margaret Meade?? No wait....Blackberry Winter. (It's a miracle my feeble brain could even come up with this...) lol
We started picking blackberries here on Honeysuckle Hill this week...so far-- some breakfast berries, one Blackberry Doobie (Thanks Wild Magnolia !!) and 4 or 5 quarts in the freezer. And lots of scratches and thorns and weed rashes on the ankles. It's just part of the package...the berries this year are huge and sweet and abundant. Some years, if it gets too hot and too dry too soon, you get small seedy berries that aren't good for much. These are all wild blackberries, so we're at the mercy of Mother Nature (which we always are anyway, if you think about it). They all come on so quickly and you spend a couple of weeks picking madly and trying to beat the birds to them. And the Japanese beetles, who have quite a fondness for them as well. But there's nothing on earth like popping a fresh off the vine sweet blackberry in your mouth. We are blessed to have so many brambles on 3 sides of our property.
One of the peach trees got so top heavy with fruit that it broke the branch...right where it should have been pruned last year, the Irishman says. lol Problem was , we had one really cold snap last winter and that was it. Apparently we missed it. Anyway, the apple tree is absolutely covered with apples and the other peach tree is loaded too. This is going to be a good year for fruit preservation. Berries, apples, peaches...yum.
Saturday we went to a solstice celebration out at the La Vista Ecological Learning Center. It was awesome...2 astronomers came with their equipment--scopes and special lenses and filters-- and we got to look at the sun. It was pretty damn cool. We turned the sun staff and had a scavenger nature hunt and ate watermelon and drank lemonade. We each introduced ourselves by name, told where we grew up and then shared our favorite childhood summer memory. Mine was sitting on a picnic table in our backyard, with a bunch of neighbor kids (who were mostly my cousins) and eating watermelon seeds and seeing who could spit the seeds the farthest. It was really fun and interesting...esp. listening to the city kids who got to spend some time in summer on grandparents or aunts and uncles farms. I made a new friend and we had a really delightful time.
Saturday night after we got home,. I made supper of leftovers and then found a recipe for a dessert called a Blackberry Doobie. Sandra at Wild Magnolia had mentioned it to me, and I hadn't heard of it. I asked--Do you have a recipe?? and Do I need an oven?? lol I looked up the recipe for it, and it turns out it is a sweet fruit soup with buttermilk sweet dumplings in it. It's an old southern recipe. I did a couple of things wrong, but it was still one of the best blackberry desserts I have ever had. I can't wait to make it again...I'm going to put the recipe on Dragon Woman's Kitchen...
This morning we went into town for a meeting and then stopped on the way home and bought 4 bales of straw from a local farmer. His wife came out and jerked those bales out of the shed like nobody's business. I was impressed. The Irishman leaned over to me on the way out and said--see? I told you she was a big old farm gal. She was tall and big...and had a baby under one arm and reached in there with her left and pulled those bales down. lol Farm women are freaking AWESOME. And that's all I'm saying on the subject. lol
Well, this weekend is running out, and I am tired and sore. Sore from picking blackberries on the hillside. Sore from bending over and picking the first batch of green beans. (YAY). Sore from picking 2 quarts of snow peas in 3 days. From bending over the lettuce beds, picking picking picking. lol I cleaned the chicken coop this afternoon and we tried integrating the chickens again with the pullets...I eventually went back in and separated them again,. as the older Australorp is bullying them all and they wouldn't come out of the coop into the run. The older Buff Orpington, on the other hand, goes right up in the coop with them and has no problem at all. Hopefully when the new flock gets a little older and bigger, they won't be so intimidated by her. It's so interesting to watch the social behavior of chickens..one of the many reasons I love having them. I cleaned and refilled all the water bowls too, as we were forecast a high today of 97. I think it made it to 95. Hot hot hot.
We have some family stuff going on right now...not with us but it's a sad time. Please hold us in your prayers...I know it will all work out exactly the way it is supposed to. Still, it's a hard journey and hard times. But it's the storms we weather that make us who we are, and the relationships in our lives that teach us about ourselves and about the things that are truly important in the world.
As long as we're learning...everything is going to be alright.