Monday, June 25, 2012

Blackberries & Snakes - Every Girls Dream Morning

Saturday morning after my chores were done I decided to head to the pasture and pick some wild blackberries.  I have plans for those blackberries and, by golly, the birds aren't going to get all of them before I can get my fair share.

So me and the dogs got to picking before it got too hot.  And yes the dogs picked blackberries, unfortuanelty they didn't put them into my bucket but kept them for themselves. Selfish little beasts. :)  At one point there was a row of dogs next to me with their heads buried into the bushes.

Thank goodness they could only reach 2 feet off the ground!

Puppies still picking blackberries, whereas, the dogs are headed to the other side for fresh berries.

Scooby Snack
 At one point while I was picking I got a strong sent of cucumbers.  My cucumber vine was 100 yards away and it is barely surviving, so it wasn't my plant making this scent.  I had heard an old wives tale about copperheads secreting the scent of cucumbers when they feel threatened, and I know there has to be snakes in the blackberry vines, so not wanting to get tangled with a snake I backed away quickly and moved to some other bushes.

Now the cumcumber smell might be an old wives tale, but I can't figure out what would have suddenly made that smell where I was.  And I didn't want to take any chances.

Snakes have their place in this world, I would just prefer we didn't travel in the same circles.

A small tangent - this spring when searching for something in the attic I came across a snake skin in one of my boxes. I dropped that box and beat it downstairs...QUICKLY!  When I got downstairs that overwhelming feeling of "You are going to have to deal with this because there is no one nearby that will move that snake skin for you" came over me. Hand to forehead...sometimes I really hate being an indepentant woman. 

And...this was one of those times I chose to ignore the problem.  I made sure I got what I needed, but I waited for my Dad to visit and dispose of the snake skin.  There are just some things I would rather not have to do.  I can dispose of animal caracasses everyday but one snake skin creeps me out.
Where the cucumber sent was coming from.  I didn't want to explore any further.
After changing locations I proceeded to fill my bowl with juicy, wild blackberries and I only had to give up a few to the mooches with puppy breath.  I can't wait to make cobbler, cake and jams. Yum!  Now the temperatures need to cool down so that I can get back into the kitchen without sweltering.

Please keep an eye out for the others.

"Can I have those?"

A full bowl's worth even with a "snake" encounter.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Farm Animal Friday - Lulu

When you step outside of my house around 4pm you are likely to here a couple of things - chickens clucking, birds chirping and Lulu, the mule, braying.

She is not necessarily braying because she is hungry, though she will happily take any feed you give her, but around 4pm is when Brady, my thoroughbred horse, comes back from the front pasture with the cows - otherwise known as "work." It's like she calling her husband in for dinner.


Lulu is a sweet mule who at one time had a mischievous streak.  I was told that in her younger years she would cause havoc for her hitch partner and for anyone wanting to handle her.  She could leap tall buildings in a single bound and fight off monsters. I have heard her referred to as "a fiery pistol," (that might have been an understatement). 

She is older now and has subdued quite a bit, and then last year I brought Brady to live with her.  Those large ears perked up and she was immediately enamored.  She now had someone to "talk" to and share meals with.  So when he isn't home on time she let's the world know the only way a mule can...braying. It's just one more wonderful sound of a farm.

Brady greeting Lulu after a long day at "work."

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Strawberry Nibbles

Finally, after years of growing and tending to strawberry plants I have strawberries that actually take two bites to eat!!!! Yippeee!! Usually I get the tiny, misshaped nibbles before the bugs…or sometimes, the dogs, get them. All it is a taste sensation – a good taste sensation. But now I actually have real big strawberries.

I have been guarding them from everything…including myself. I want these suckers to ripen perfectly and then enjoy them as they were meant to be enjoyed…straight from the plant. Yum!

It all started when I bought a couple of strawberry plants at the store because the picture offered me possibilities of harvesting my own strawberries, and the bounty could be used to make jams, cakes, pies, etc. Yeah right…it takes more than two plants and at least a couple of years. So I kept purchasing plants and buying the offered strawberry hanging baskets, all in hopes of having a bountiful strawberry harvest.

My plants have been through a lot; me knocking them over, the dogs chewing on the leaves, squirrels trying to hide their nuts in the pots and the weather. But they have hung on through it all. Starting this spring I got quite a few little nibbles, where I could get the sweet taste of the strawberry while I was outside. But that is all. Then about a week ago I noticed one of my later bloomers had a huge strawberry growing on it. At first I thought it was an optical illusion. On closer inspection it was a real strawberry that was at last 4 times bigger than anything else I’ve harvested.

While keeping a close eye on it I noticed that another large strawberry was developing…JACKPOT!!!! I might get to make strawberry jam. Or not, I don’t think two strawberries will make me a lot of jam.

Hopefully the rest of the plants in this container will bless me with big strawberries, if not though, I will appreciate their sweetness in a small nibble. For now I get to look forward to two big juicy strawberries. I can’t wait!!!

UPDATE:  I ate the large strawberry this morning, and it was...wait for it...Perfectly Sweet.  Everything I imagined. Yum!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dog Days of Summer

The heat is here!

Denny and Nana have the right idea...

Where's the nearest Pool?