Friday, July 22, 2016

Hot and humid is making me lazy....

Whew! It has been so hot...and humid here lately. This weather makes me want to stay indoors. Of course...I can't so I just take it slow, and a little at a time. Yesterday after my first shift at work, I came home and changed into my work clothes. I headed out to make sure all of the animals were fed and had plenty of fresh cool water for the morning. The temps with humidity make for dangerous health warnings from the news. As I was finishing up in the barn, I grabbed an armload of hay for Daisy and Laura and proceeded to head outside with it Daisy was being a little pushy and blocking my way to the door. I nudged her to get her to move which didn't set well with her I guess. She dropped her head and pushed into my thigh. I have not had her horns removed yet and they are about an inch long. She shoved one into my thigh sending pain down my leg. I put down the hay and grabbed my "MOOve stick" ( it is a 1 x 4 I use to intimidate her..and teach her boundaries). With a good slap on her rump, she high tailed it out of the barn. After I set out her hay, I stopped to check my leg. Oh boy...she got me pretty good. I MUST get those horns taken care of...ASAP!
Once I finished with everyone at the barn, I looked out to find Daisy...she wasn't at the hay feeder like I expected. I looked around to see her at one of the water troughs, standing with her front feet IN the trough, with her head down, pouting. ( oh jeesh! ) I walked over and rubbed her neck, and explained to her about personal space and that she needs to be careful when she is demanding attention. I left the pasture, we were on " good terms" again. Once I got to the front porch, I removed my shoes, grabbed my bucket and headed to the Blackberry patch. Tuesday hubby picked just over a gallon from them but it was Thursday and they needed picked again. As I walked across the grass, it was relaxing feeling the cool damp grass on my feet. It has been a while since I have had the time to walk barefoot in the grass so I was really enjoying it. Since the Blackberry bushes are thorn less, I can pick from there in bare feet and short sleeves. As I picked, I snacked on those sweet large berries. I made sure that more of what I picked went in the basket and not my tummy. I was able to pick another full gallon. I am freezing them so that once this heat wave breaks I can start making jellies and jams. I will also be starting a few batches of wine soon. I have 8 gallon bags of strawberries in the freezer that I plan to use 3 for jam and one for wine. The other 4 I will save to use later for cobbler and muffins over the winter time. Another favorite of mine are Elderberries. They are starting to ripen as well. I filled a 3 gallon bucket the other day.
Now comes the task of de-stemming them. That takes a bit of time, but it is worth it. I will use these for wine as well. Of course I will save a bit of the berries in the freezer to make a tincture for cold and flu season. Here is how I make tastes great...and works wonders! Gather your supplies.... Elderberries (make sure the area you pick from has not been sprayed with pesticides.) Fresh Ginger, grated: 1 Tablespoon per cup of berries (or 1 teaspoon if you are using dried ginger) Ground Cinnamon: 1 teaspoon per cup of berries Ground Cloves: 1/4 teaspoon per cup of berries Raw Honey, preferably local: 1/2 cup per cup of berries What to Do: 1. Gather the elderberries, or order dried organic elderberries online and skip to the 3rd step. Look for clusters of black berries on red stems to ensure that they are fully ripe. 2. Use a fork to pull the berries from their stems, collecting them in a pot. Pull out as many small bits of stem as you can, but don’t get obsessive about it. Give them a little rinse. 3. Add water— 1:1 cups water-to berry ratio for fresh, and 2:1 for dried. 4. Add ginger, ground cinnamon and cloves. 5. Bring to a boil on the stove, then reduce heat and let simmer for about 20 minutes, then allow to cool. 6. Strain the liquid from the berries using a sieve, pressing on with a wooden spoon to get all of the juice out. 7. Add raw honey– local, if possible for the best health benefits– to the elderberry liquid. Stir until well mixed, and decant into jars or bottles. Store in the refrigerator. Take a teaspoonful daily during cold and flu season. Make up some for your family...

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