We don’t have any purchased berry plants on the farm but are overrun with blackberries. We have a few black raspberries which are my favorite. All of these have been planted by the birds once again just like our asparagus patches around the garden. The black raspberry patch that is doing so well this year is on the back side of our big garage and are protected by the wind and harsh winter because they right along side the east wall. Eddie and I both have been picking a few everyday.
We have to pick them when they’re not fully ripe or the birds will eat them before we can.
We’ve been picking this quart container full about every two days. It’s a peanut container! Perfect size for holding and not losing any of the berries UNLESS Sadie is around!! She sets and begs for the sweet goodness of the berries too!
I bring them in and sort out any leaf or stem debris and quickly spread them on my baking sheets making sure they’re not stacked on top of each other.
After cleaning I pop them in the freezer and when frozen I transfer them to gallon size Ziploc freezer bags and pop them back into the freezer until I have enough to make jams and jelly.
I now have two gallon bags full and have about ten bags from last year. Raspberry jam is very easy to make and no pectin is required because they have their own natural pectin. I’ll work in the morning and come home to make as much jam as I can! Hay season will start again on Tuesday if the weathermen know what they’re talking about and everyone will be busy on the farm!!
We’re thinking ice cream and jelly, nothing to beat fresh made ice cream with raspberries mixed in. I have to pick them daily because the chickens have found the stash and are eating what they can reach. We’ve picked about a gallon so far and should get at least that many more from this small patch.
First pickings cleaned and ready for the freezer.
There’s three clumps of wild raspberries behind our garage. They’ll be gone before we know it.
There’s an old freezer filled with scrap metal sitting in the middle of the clumps. Next year I hope the freezer and old metal will be gone and the bushes spread with more delicious fruit.
When I clean them, I drain all of the water off and spread them out on a cookie sheet. Once they’re frozen I put all of them in large Ziploc freezer bags. They stay loose and I can take out a cup or whatever my recipe needs and reseal the rest. The bags don’t take up a lot of freezer space. In the winter if I want to make jam it’s very convenient to take out just what’s needed. We like to put them on a bowl of ice cream and it only takes a couple of minutes to thaw them just for the ice cream. How about a fruit cobbler hot out of the oven in the wintertime!
officially begun! Two small meadows were mowed yesterday along with a corner of one of the large fields. Today and tomorrow will be a mad rush to get all of it baled into 4 x 5 bales before another good chance of showers rolls in.
The grass had finished blooming and dropping seed.
It was so cool watching the tall grasses wave in the wind but not so cool to watch the clouds of pollen fill the air like a heavy fog over the fields.
This field and part of the big field started yesterday were cut today.
Hubby just started raking the first field he mowed yesterday. Our daughter, Heather, turned it over this morning to help it dry faster in the blazing sun.
First round of raking is half way completed.
The wind rows look four feet tall from where I sit on the porch taking pictures.
Unless our summer turns really dry we are going to have a bazillion blackberries this year!!! I’ll can them, freeze them, make jams and jellies, make some blackberry wine and juice and share with our friends. Here’s a few pictures of our wild patches of blackberries that the honeybees and other bees are making good use of now from the bloom.
These vines in the past except for last year produced huge blackberries.
These vines are in Barker Hollow and across a spring that comes out of the mountain in front of our house.
This is a small patch right beside Barker Hollow road and look very prolific so far.
These are easy to reach from both sides of the fence.
This patch is on the opposite side of that little field where the little barn sits.
The fenceline below the little barn is covered with the vines.
This is going to be the summer of fruit for us unless Mother Nature takes a severe turn. The only fruit that didn’t make it through the last frost was our pear trees. Apples, peaches, plums, rhubarb, and berries are abundant and I will be a busy farm woman!!
Every spring I try to add 2-4 new fruit trees to our dwindling orchards. The past few years have been apples and peaches. My daughter got me two new cherry trees for our anniversary and they’ve been planted in the back of the apple orchard and fenced to keep the deer from eating them up. Last year I planted four new grape vines along with some English walnut trees . All of the grapes have survived but I lost one walnut tree.
This year I ordered two Green Gage Plum trees and two Black Tartarian Cherry trees from Aaron’s Farm (http://www.aaronsfarm.com/) . The plum trees are three years old and about four feet tall and the cherry trees are three years old and 5-6 feet tall. The were shipped bare root and pre-pruned. We set them out yesterday evening and watered them well which I will continue to do daily until we get some rain and there after as needed daily or weekly depending on the moisture in the ground.
The Green Gage plum tree is an ancient European plum descendant that has been extensively grown and propagated in England and France since the 1700’s. My grandparents had these plums on their farm in Paint Bank, VA for years when I was a young child and we would eat them until they ran out our ears. I’ve not seen any for years and have been looking for them for about five years and lucked out with Aaron’s Farms this spring. I can’t wait to have some “green gages” in a couple of years. Green Gage plums are green-skinned when completely ripe with a pink overlay at the base of the fruit when tree ripened. The flavor is deliciously sweet with a slight sour taste to the skin.
The black cherries are my husbands favorite and most of the cherry trees on our farm have died or only produce pea size cherries. I’m hoping these will bring back some good memories especially when I make him some cherry pies in a couple of years.
The Black Tartarian Cherry tree is a sweet cherry with a black skin and bright red pulp. They are cold hardy which is one of the reasons I chose this type.
I can’t remember the name of the cherry trees my daughter got for me but think they are a red cherry.
Now we have blue plum, wild red plums, pears, rhubarb, peaches, apples of all kinds, grapes, gojiberries, blackberries, and raspberries on the farm. Plenty of fruit to add to our meals and snacks.Newest grape arbor
It will take me weeks to catch up on all of my blog posts that I want to complete from the summer and this fall. Thought I would start with the wonderful hay season we had this summer. I don’t help much with the hay production but I do make sure there’s plenty of refreshment for my two hard workers, my hubby, Eddie and our daughter, Heather.
Eddie decides what fields are cut down first and does the cutting with the haybine and the baling with a round baler. Sometimes, we do square bales but later in the summer as a second cutting of the crop. Our hayfields have orchard grass, red clover and timothy. This summer we had bumper crops and more hay was baled than ever before due to the wonderful spring and summer rains.
Beautiful orchard grass and clover
Haybine hard at work.
We have a large Massey Ferguson tractor and by looking at the back wheels you can tell how high the grass was.
One of the last fields harvested.
The season left us with over 800 bales this year. I just hope we won’t need to use it all because that will mean a “winter monster”!
I did get to drive the big truck when it was time to move it all off the fields and that took quite a few trips in several days.
Moving hay with a 1970 truck.
I love this old girl.
Eddie stacks six bales on the truck and carried two on the tractor each trip to the haylot.
Eddie would have moved all of it by himself if I had not been retired and home to help! I’m starting to feel useful again on the farm.
This is the blog for our little farm in Skagit county. Here we have Shetland sheep and Nigerian Dwarf goats. In addition we have donkeys, llamas, cattle, pigs, chickens, geese, and peafowl. The blog describes the weekly activities here.