My last post was about a year ago. I
look back and wonder how time got away from me like that. A lot
of things happened in late summer and fall of 2018 and to be quite
candid, it sapped a lot of my ambition. Coupled with the fact that I
felt this blog seemed to me like white noise. There are thousands of
people out there writing about the same things I am. What makes me
or my perspective different? Honestly I’m not sure. I just do a
bunch of different things – Not much compared to others, but more
than most. I do these things because I like to do them, I like to be
busy -not to feel superior.
I realized that I have no desire to set myself up as an “expert” in anything, in the grand scheme of things I’m a newbie, there’s always going to be someone who knows more and I’ll always be a wanna-be. Not because I don’t ever accomplish a goal but because I learn something new every single day. I wanna try new things, I wanna-be more creative, I wanna-be successful, I wanna-be better, I wanna continue to grow and evolve and be willing to change and adapt when needed. My friend and I butchered our combined flock of roosters (15 in total) together a couple weeks ago and we both learned a ton not only about the process, but ourselves as well (like how we pamper ourselves with Aleve liqui-gels). Next time we’ll have it down to a science. Do I feel the need to write a tutorial about it when there are tons of how-to videos, blog posts, and books about the subject? Not a bit.
Here’s what you can expect. I’ll be posting more about what I am doing to (slowly) bring this 1890-something farm back to life, and all the things I’m learning. Maybe some videos of the process (if you thought I couldn’t possibly get more annoying you’re wrong lol). There will also be recipes. I hope to bring about free learning experiences in things I feel very solid in; basic canning, crafting, and gardening etc. -Again I’m not an expert, but I can get you rolling in the right direction- and offering a place for expert friends to teach a skill. You’ll be seeing more posts from my friends talking about their passions (most of them don’t even know it yet…) these are my go-to people when I need help and I appreciate them beyond words.
What’s in the works for next season?
A resource tab up top listing the most useful information I’ve came across.
A small market garden is planned – We always have more than enough to go around plus it’s something I know I can do.
Blueberries and Red Currants have been planted as our family’s memorial to my Grampa, Dale Bernath. He’d be over the moon to see this place and I still don’t know who is going to fabricate things for me. He was an inventor that’s for sure.
The laying flock will be expanding in the spring and by late summer/fall we should have free range/pastured eggs available.
Maybe Broilers – If there is enough interest. we shall see.
Blackberries bring back a lot of memories for me. My Grandma Newt used to take us to Aunt Jan’s house, usually because I begged and begged to go see her beautiful buckskin gelding “Buck”, and the best donkey in the world “George”. I always got to sit on Buck, my sister always managed to get George, a point that would be (and still is) brought up to me throughout the years. – I got the horse and my sister got the ass. There has to be a photo somewhere of an ecstatic me on Buck and a happy but slightly miffed Lauren atop of George. Both were calm elderly creatures that were treated like kings and we always brought them apples and carrots and plenty of scratches for their ears and backs. They were well loved and lived to very old ages, both being 36 years old or more before passing.
Aunt Jan also had an enormous back berry patch. I could not reach the top of canes, and they had to be about 4 feet thick. We’d pick a quart or two and want to go make jam with Newt (because she makes the best jam). But what happened inevitably every. single. time. was Newt would come out and see so many unpicked berries…the biggest best berries left behind for the birds, which was simply not allowed. There was a reason they were unpicked, these berries were about 3 feet back into the impenetrable bramble thicket and grandma wasn’t satisfied until we pressed back there and became human pin cushions. By this time my sister had retreated to George and Buck and I was left picking the damned berries. At least I got to munch them as I went along, which one day came to a screeching halt when I popped a berry into my mouth and felt something cling to my tongue, panicking spit everything out but the thing was still stuck there, by now I’m totally freaking out so gather up the balls and I reach in and pull out a japanese beetle. Blackberries weren’t the same for years after that.
Sometimes blackberries begin to ripen at uneven intervals and the easiest way to accumulate the quantities needed for large recipes is to freeze them as they come in, and it couldn’t be simpler.
How To Freeze Blackberries:
Dry them on a towel you wouldn’t mind getting stained
Spread them one layer thick on a cookie sheet, and freeze 4 hours or overnight
Place in a freezer safe container of your choice
To use them after they’ve been frozen, measure when they are still frozen then allow them to thaw. Drain excess liquid and use in the recipe as directed.
Confession time: Until this year I’ve never eaten or made a rhubarb pie. Feels really good to have that sin off my chest. I really don’t know what the reason is for it, other than I always ate rhubarb raw and maybe the thought of it in a pie was kind of a turn off? Well, whatever the reason my heart or my shoes, I’d always hated rhubarb pie. Completely without cause too, since I had never even tried it. Then Last year I made some amazing strawberry rhubarb jam and that was the turning point, I immediately regretted all the wasted years. I had a bag of frozen rhubarb tucked away in the freezer and I busted it out to create a masterpiece. I think I have made this pie the most so far this year, my husband loves it and so does everyone I share it with, so I’d like to share it with you too!
Crust: (make two)
1 ½ cup flour
½ tsp salt
1/3 cup cold lard cubed +2Tbs
¼ cup ice cold water
+ 1 beaten egg for brushing the top
pulse all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor, slowly drizzle in ice water until a slightly crumbly dough is formed. Chill dough for at least 3 hours before rolling on a floured surface.
4 cups chopped rhubarb
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup sugar
2 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
1 8oz jar strawberry jam
3 Tbs minute tapioca
Tip: if you are working with frozen rhubarb, measure while it is still frozen, then allow it to thaw. Drain excess water, then use in recipe as directed.
Stir all ingredients in a large bowl, pour into prepared pie crust and add top crust in lattice style. Brush Top crust with beaten egg and sprinkle with course sugar. Cover top with foil. Preheat oven to 425, bake for 20 minutes, change temperature to 375 and continue to bake for 45-60 min (until filling is bubbly) , remove foil with 20 min remaining. Cool and serve with ice cream.