Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays’ take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘black caps

Never Dull

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There is rarely a dull moment in our lives with acres and animals. Yesterday was a particularly full day. Before I get to that however, I really must post more pictures from our great cow adventure last Friday. These belong with Saturday’s post, but I was up at the lake, and just didn’t have the bandwidth to support my intentions.

Here is my view of the main herd as their curiosity brought them over to see what we were up to at the fence:

I didn’t want them to get any ideas about joining the remaining escapees, so I worked to convince them they’d be happier going the other direction.

This is Cyndie, holding the opening as wide as possible while cooing sweet nothings to woo the last stragglers back into their pasture:

It was a hard sell. The second wire from the top was the only broken one, but holding them open provided plenty of clearance, if only the overly cautious (now they decided to be cautious!) bovine would step through.

After a busy morning at the lake yesterday, tending to minor chores before heading home, we traveled in Cyndie’s car with the top down in the beautiful sunshine, joining a LOT of other vacationers for the trek home.

It was as if our full day had barely gotten started. I was able to connect with our next-door neighbor to borrow his large trailer for hauling hay. Our first source of bales reported a shortage of availability, due to a new client who required 4000 bales. Five minutes after that sorry news, he called back to say his brother had bales we could buy, but needed to get them out of the wagon by the end of the day.

Cyndie whipped up an early dinner and then we set off to begin this summer’s hay bale escapades, the first of multiple expected trips.

Thankfully, due to our previous experience, the loading and transport went smoothly, and we got the load stowed in the shed while there was still daylight.

As the last light faded, I found Cyndie out picking black raspberries because there are still so many berries ripening.

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From inside the house, I heard branches breaking in the woods. I called out the window to Cyndie and she said she was hearing it, too, but didn’t see anything. She prolonged her berry picking to see if that last stray cow from Friday still might be roaming around, but neither a deer nor a cow materialized before she quit to go secure the chicken coop for the night.

We are happy to report, all twelve birds were safely inside.

Honestly, the fullness of our day was the epitome of the saying, “never a dull moment.”

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Written by johnwhays

July 9, 2018 at 6:00 am

Star Spangled

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Cyndie cooked up some star-spangled black cap jam yesterday! It all started with some pre-canning berry picking when Elysa and Ande arrived to join in the fun. Made from real fresh berries.

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Then the cooking magic in the kitchen commenced, using more sugar than I am allowed to be in the same room with, leading to jars upon jars of the precious dark jam.

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And a filled kitchen sink.

Just to top off the busy afternoon over the stove, Cyndie baked two loaves of bread so we could test out the jam while it was still warm. The flavor treat set off fireworks in my taste buds!

Speaking of fireworks, one of my trusted news sources (who shall go unnamed to protect their reputation) let me down royally with a timely story offering four tips to help dog owners ease the stress of frightened pets during the sunset hours of exploding ordinance this time of year.

One: Don’t take your pet to the fireworks show.

Really?

Two: Keep your pet safe at home.

Isn’t that the same thing as not taking them to the show?

Three: Try over the counter remedies.

Oh, why didn’t I think of that before?

Four: Make sure your pet is microchipped.

July 4 is the number one day dogs and cats get lost, it says.

Well, that is not a tip that will ease my dog’s stress, so that was only three morsels of expert advice.

Color me thoroughly disappointed in that “helpful” tidbit of intrepid journalistic expertise.

We ushered Delilah into her “den” for the night, and she was able to quietly ignore the repeating echoes of small arms fire sounds percolating well past my bedtime. Delilah sleeps in a crate with a cover draped over it, which seems to provide her with enough comfort that she will generally ignore most activity overnight.

Last night, I could have used a sound proof cover over my bed. Regardless, once I got to sleep, it was dreamy visions of star-spangled black cap jam dancing in my head all night long.

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Written by johnwhays

July 5, 2018 at 6:00 am

Berry Bounty

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‘Tis the time of year when raspberries suddenly appear in significant numbers, materializing magically against the dominant green backdrop in every direction we turn. Sometimes they surprise us by showing up in a cluster of growth that we didn’t even realize included raspberry canes.

Cyndie has tried pruning some of our wild berry patches in the past, hoping to make it a little easier to walk through for picking berries, but the vigorous bushes seem to grow themselves into a solid mass again as soon as we turn our backs.

Time to dig out the Ball jars with the two-piece metal lids in preparation of preserving the harvest.

As is clearly visible in the image, we are lucky to be getting Black Cap Raspberries. I am not clever enough to successfully describe the flavor distinction between a red raspberry and a black cap, but after developing a taste for the unique flavor of the black caps, I have truly become a snob about the black cap supremacy.

One of my absolute favorite treats is well-toasted New England Brown Bread spread with a layer of cream cheese and topped with Cyndie’s home-canned black cap jam. It’s an explosion of texture and unparalleled flavor that is pure culinary bliss.

The first year she canned berries here, we gave the majority of jars away to friends and family before we realized the distinct difference of the black cap flavor. It was a minor disaster when we discovered there were no more jars of the preferred black cap jam left in the house for us.

Now we know to hoard a secret stash of our own, separate from the stock that gets shared.

Honestly, of all the different ways we have considered monetizing our activities here, Cyndie’s black cap jam is probably the most valuable. Too bad we aren’t willing to part with enough of that black gold to make that idea worthwhile.

The yield looks bountiful this year. Something tells me I should be stocking up on loaves of brown bread, too.

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Written by johnwhays

June 27, 2018 at 6:00 am

Berries Galore

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When the fruit matures on all the wild raspberry bushes around our property, you can’t pick fast enough to keep up with the supply. It becomes a full-time job for about a week or so.

Too bad neither of us are able to give it that kind of attention.

Cyndie does a more than adequate job to collect a reasonable amount.

Last night the berries were turned into a few miniature pies and a batch of homemade pop-tarts.

I’m going to be picking tiny seeds from my teeth on a regular basis for a week or two based on her ambitious efforts to put the berries to good use.

One of my strong favorites is spreading her black-cap jam over cream cheese spread on a good piece of heavy grain toasted bread.

It’s a taste and texture extravaganza!

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Written by johnwhays

July 7, 2017 at 6:00 am