Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday biking and blackberries

Today's 'harvest'

Yesterday after the siding estimate, we ran a few errands. I picked up a water bath canning pot (big enough for 7 quart jars) for a great price at a local discount store. I was also able to pick up some sturdy hooks to add to the goat shed for use in milking. I needed a place to hang the milk pail out of the way while I did chores and another place to hang the lantern when milking in the dark. I also talked H into the long handled 'fruit picker'. I can't wait to make use of it later this week!

After we got back, I installed the above mentioned hooks and installed 2 removeable perches in the chicken coop. I still don't know if the chickens are using them yet because they scatter when we open the door, but I imagine that they'll get used to them eventually. My only fear is that they are too slick since I used broom handles that were already varnished. If I don't see evidence of their use in the next couple of days, I'll take some sandpaper to the finish and rough them up a bit.

This morning, we decided to go for a bike ride. After the chores were done, we headed out. I'd mapped out a route the night before, but only had a cue sheet printed out (because the map was too hard to read). The ride started out ok, but we made a wrong turn and headed towards Hagg Lake. It was actually a nice ride up there, so all wasn't totally lost. Then we turned around and headed back. We continued on our route and made a second wrong turn. This one wasn't my fault though...the directions were wrong. Anyway, we headed into a nearby town (which was smaller than our town!), and looped back towards the way we came. All in all, it ended up being 28 miles, but we were angry and fighting with each other most of the route. It wasn't pretty. The rest of the day was somewhat tense because of it, too.

After we got back, I adjusted a few things on my commuter bike in preparation for commuting to work on Tuesday. Then I started up the mower and got to work mowing the lawn. I did about 1/3 of it before the rain started. During that same time frame, H managed to shingle another 1/3 of the lean-to before it got too slippery to work. We then moved the chicken coop to fresh grass before heading inside. H ran to the store to get plumber's putty to replace the faucet in our bathroom sink while I headed out to pick blackberries (in the rain). I picked 3.5 quarts of blackberries (1.5 of the wild and 2 of our cultivated ones - with H's help). I also picked our first zuchini and a few tomatoes which we had sauteed with our dinner.

Zucchini & tomato saute - one step closer to our 100 foot meal!
I mashed the right amount of berries for one more batch of blackberry jam, and the rest are in the fridge. I'll make the jam Monday after work. I'm also going to make a blackberry apple crisp recipe I found - and we'll definitely be eating these on cereal and ice cream every chance we get! I think I may even freeze a few quarts with the next harvest. The wild ones won't likely freeze well because they are too easily squished. The cultivated ones are firmer and more likely to survive a freezing.

The next step will be figuring out how to preserve all the apples, plums and pears for the winter!

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