Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘black raspberries

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

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

Bountiful Harvest

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You would be wrong if you thought the only thing we harvest at Wintervale is hay. Although, you gotta love that hay is one of our big crops, when our last name is, “Hays.” Of course, you may also be remembering that our horses produce an impressive amount of fertilizer, but as much as I boast about our compost pile, it will be a long time before we will be making any money off that.

DSCN2114eThe lesser known crop we have here, and the one with probably the best potential of becoming a future money-maker, is black raspberries. When Cyndie cans them as “blackcap” jam, they turn into liquid gold.

The wild bushes we have all over the place sprout a surprising amount of fruit in a short amount of time, often overnight. Cyndie has gotten in the habit of bringing a container along when she takes Delilah for walks, because new fruit seems to burst forth in places we didn’t even realize had the potential.

There is something special about the jam these berries produce. Their tantalizing aroma is almost as satisfying as the taste. If you already know and love that flavor, one whiff of the smell will trigger the irrepressible urge to consume.

DSCN2117eWe had no patience once the berries appeared, and Cyndie cooked up the first small batch she picked, to create a topping for waffles. A little local maple syrup over the top and we had our taste buds doing flips of joy over their good fortune.

This year, when conditions have been miserable for a lot of things, the raspberry plants seem to be doing quite well.

We’ve got a year’s supply of hay stacked in the hay shed, but I don’t think we’ll ever be able to stock enough of her blackcap jam. It’s just too irresistible.

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Written by johnwhays

July 21, 2014 at 6:00 am

New Passion

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IMG_0045eI have developed a new passion for black raspberry jam. Cyndie has been making the jam out of berries we are getting from all the plants on our property. We learned that the local term for these berries is “blackcaps.” I have always been a fan of raspberries, so liking the blackcaps is no stretch. The flavor of these is as deep as the color.

Cyndie cherishes the berries so much that when we were about to clear all the growth behind the barn, she stopped and went to get a baggie to save the ripe berries before we cut. Unfortunately, she then stowed the bag of berries in a bigger bag that was filled with our cutting tools, and by the time she got to the house, her baggie contained blackcap juice, not berries.

Lately, we have taken to applying her jam over the top of some regular cream cheese that we spread on bagels, toast, or any variety of crackers. It is a seriously delicious combination. It makes me hungry just writing about it.

The crop has been good this year, and we continue to find ripe berries, still. It seems like every day, more have ripened, so the harvest has been ongoing, daily. The plants have all grown up wild, along the edge of wooded areas. Cyndie has tied some of the bushes up in bunches, to make it easier to wander among them to pick the berries. But they are everywhere around the property, so wherever we go, there are berries to be picked.

I need to apologize, in advance, to those of you who would otherwise probably receive a jar of her blackcap jam as a gift in the coming days or months. I think I will have exhausted the supply before she ever gets the chance. It’s just that good!

Written by johnwhays

July 29, 2013 at 7:00 am