Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sir Rose finds his voice

Sir Rose, the rooster who was known as Rosie until the morning he began to crow, while living with a family with close neighbors, has finally become secure enough in his new home, with us in the country, to crow for us. You can watch the video of him by clicking here.

The story of his introduction to us is here.

I am not sure he's engaging in other roosterly duties besides crowing, although he does seem interested in keeping track of the hens. Even if the hens are laying fertile eggs, none of the eggs can remain in the nest long enough to hatch because the black snakes keep raiding the nests and stealing eggs.  Perhaps hens normally have chicks in the spring, when the snakes are still hibernating.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Blackberry Time!

It's been a good year for snakes, chiggers, and blackberries.  I can do without the first two, but I love the abundance of blackberries.  These are thornless blackberries, which makes the picking process much easier than the thorn-laden wild variety.

Won't you please give a good chicken just one berry?



I have frozen at least 8 quarts of berries, I've turned them into blackberry muffins, and I also made jam.
Here I'm cooking the berries with sugar.  Recipes exist online or on the back of a box of fruit pectin; follow the instructions carefully.


Filling the jars with cooked jam.


After a dunk in the water bath canner according to the directions, the jam is ready!


My daughter wanted a taste of the finished product, and she approves!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Using Grandma's Containers for my Flowers

After my grandmother died in 2008, the family began cleaning out the house and distributing her things to family members.  Grandma loved to work in the garden and among her flowers.  I have many plants that she gave me starts of, and I'm also pleased to have these planters and this watering can.  Someone for whom my grandfather worked gave Grandma these cast-iron planters because she no longer wanted them.  I brushed off the flaking paint, painted them black, and filled them with sedum and other plants and put them on the porch.  I think that both they and Grandma are happy that they are being used and enjoyed again.



As we were leaving Grandma's house back in April after we loaded her dining room set on a moving truck bound for St. Louis, I noticed three galvanized watering cans.  My sister lives in St. Louis, and she flew back to help load the truck and drove it back.  We put one can on the truck to St. Louis for my sister, my uncle took one, and I got this one.  I use it regularly; it's just more pleasant and prettier to use than the plastic version.  When I picked these flowers, I used it as a temporary container.  

We all have things in our homes that remind us of people that have passed away.  I especially like to have things that I can actually use.  I have a pair of post-hole diggers that belonged to my grandfather, who died before I was old enough to remember him.  Although I use them infrequently, I imagine him digging the numerous post-holes he must have chiseled into the clay soil of the cow pasture.