Sunday, July 13, 2008

Genetic Mapping

Farm Roots
Ruth often says that I was a farmer's wife in a previous life. That may be true. I enjoy living on this farm, planting things and watching them grow, raising chicks, gathering eggs, picking fruit, making jams and jellies, canning stuff, chasing raccoons and groundhogs off my land and other things I can't think of right now. I watched my dad do all of the above as I was growing up. He grew up with many uncles (11 of them on his father's side and 7 of them on his mother's side) who were farmers. So, along with being a farmer's wife in a former life, I also was the son of a farmer wannabe. My dad spent his professional career building malls and shopping centers, but I think he longed for the serenity and the lifestyle of the family farm. He spent many free weekends as an adult at the farms of his relatives and would often spend his summers as a teen living with one of his uncles as a farmhand. This innate love of the soil, barns, tractors and chickens has been passed on to me, his fourth child, (of 6). I don't think any of my siblings have this bent.

Lesley and I scratched out a mini garden and planted several rows of carrots and radishes, (seeds) and also some green beans, eggplant and bell peppers. The radishes are going crazy! I didn't thin them, and I'm sure that will impact their size, but the ones in the picture below didn't seem to have any problems. Ruth and I aren't sure that we even like radishes!


Berrylicious
Once again, Mother Nature has given us a nice crop of black raspberries. I have been able to make 8 pints of freezer jam and will probably be able to make another 8 if I so choose. I prefer the freezer jam, because I think it tastes fresh. (it's also way easier!) Last night we had guests and Ruth served Maxi (German exchange student, visiting Ruth's great friend Inge), and herself a bowl of ice cream with some of these berries sprinkled on top. The rest of us were stuffed from all the food Ruth made.

Don't you just want to grab a handful!?



Winter Doldrums


Two of the pints of freshly made Black Raspberry jam, getting ready to hibernate until the depths of winter when we need a reminder of the sweet days of hot, humid July.



Uh Oh, Amiga becomes Amigo!

This is one of the "Tres Amigas" I bought to make sure I have "Easter Eggers" in my flock. Well, in the last week, Stiggy's little sister began looking a little brotherish. (S)He hasn't crowed in my presence yet, but I am fairly certain that she is a he! I love the white tail feather that is sprouting. What do you think? Amy, is this a boy or what?



Green is as Green does

Thank you to all who participated in the previous post on Being Green. I plan to do a follow-up after I apply some of the things you have taught me and aslo after I find other ways I can do a better job. Please add more!

33 comments:

laura said...

Though I'm the product of countless generation of New Yorkers (new York Cityers), last year I got into making pickles; I love it, but I especially love to serve to my guests and say, I made them. (It's juvenile, but I can't help myself.) I have all the equipment to branch out to jam--now I need blackberry bushes!
Lucky Ruth to have a wife! But seriously, I think one of the major appeals of your blog, for me anyway, must be that as I read it, I inevitably feel that here's a person who is thriving, who is where he should be.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Hi again Don, We were lucky enough to come across lots of Strawberries at a local veggie stand ... I froze most of them.. we missed out on their season the past 2 years and I really missed tasting summer in the winter... I sure am proud of you with your preserve making, chicken raising, and care you take in these basic valuable skills.. Feels good doesn't it?? just so lovely to be in such immediate touch with the earth...

Your jam looks wonderful.. and great photos, Ruth...

You will probably not believe me but I used to say " I need a wife" so many times, John probably got tired of hearing it...

Don said...

Laura: I love your pickles story. I agree that it is juvenile, yet completely necesary and expected that you (I) would revel in the glory of home-made morsels. Especially ones that harken back to the days of necesity. What kind of pickles do you make? I have cukes coming around in the orchard and would love to make your recipe!

Thank you for reading my blog and leaving thoughtful thoughts...

The sentiments are mutual.

Don said...

Gwen: What do people do without a wife? I have a first-rater.

I missed the strawberries this year. We need to get a freezer, the ones attached to the refrigerators are packed full, (mostly chicken).

Thanks for your comments too, I like how we can develop pals from around the world with words and pictures.

It sounds like John has a fabulous wife.

molly said...

Hi Don, love the blog! Would you mind posting your "freezer jam" recipe please? I have not heard about this before, perhaps we Aussies are a little backwards, but I have only seen recipes for jar type jams here lol

Blessings:)

Don said...

Hi Molly, Nice to have a visitor from Australia. I am going to paste a link to a web site that has the ingredients and the how-to for making the jam. If you can get pectin, I think you can make the freezer jam. Let me know what you find out! I'll keep my eye on your blog too.

http://www.kraftfoods.com/kf/recipes/30-minutes-homemade-surejell-52707.aspx

Don said...

Molly: I think it may be difficult for you to find pectin, so I found a web site that seems to service aussies. Good luck! Let us know how it goes!!

http://www.pickyourown.org/AUharvestcalendar.htm

Amy said...

Don, I am no chicken expert by any means, but those curved tail feathers (or sickle feathers) are screaming "ROOSTER"! And look at the size of those shanks. I think your instinct is correct!

That's cute that you planted radishes but you two aren't sure if you even like them! LOL I like them sliced thin in a salad and my grandparents loved radish & butter sandwiches. I've never had one so I don't know if I like them too.

I am so jealous of all your beautiful berries. I am patiently waiting for my blueberries and raspberries to grow up! I saw 3 or 4 berries on one of the bushes. They have a long way to go.

I have the farmer gene too. I'd love to quit my job and stay home and raise animals and garden all day. Work is such a waste of my precious time!

Sharon said...

Ruth's very lucky! I can't think of a better partner than a husband connected to the earth.
Did you end up liking the radishes? Not the sort of thing you'll probably ever crave but they're beautiful to look at and fun to grow because they mature so quickly. If you hate them you can always carve them into radish roses!

Ruth said...

I'm married to a farmer, farmhand and farmer's wife all in one. No one is luckier than me. Yes, everyone needs a wife.

Somehow I think taking pictures of the farm doesn't quite balance that out. But hey, I'm learning to live with it!

Seriously, Don's jams, canned pears, grape juice, and farm breakfasts are things of beauty and deliciousness.

laura said...

Don, I forgot I wanted to suggest radish sandwiches: a crusty slice of baguette, slathered with cold butter, topped with thinly sliced radish (salt, if you like). I think I heard about this--a French afterschool treat?--on Ina Garten's FoodTV show. I love them; but I also love onion sandwiches (raw, with butter, on pumpernickel!)--food on my youth.
And if you take up painting--you should!--radishes are a joy to paint!

chickengirl said...

Mmmmm-mmm! Those berries sure look good! I love raspberries... Though I've never tried black ones. I wish raspberries grew where we live. Instead, we get blackberries (just about as good).

I'm sorry to say, but I think that your Ameraucana is an Amigo, although he's a GORGEOUS one! I'm very surprised, but I don't think that any of our chicks from McMurray are roo's. On the other hand, we bought three Cochins, two of which we think are boys, and hatched/won about seven chicks, and at least one or two (possibly at most about four) are roosters...

Bob Johnson said...

Lol Ruth, being married to all those people all at once. I love radishes, if you guys don't I'll take them off your hands,lol.

That jam looks awesome, it will be cool to open a jar during the winter months.

Not really a Rooster expert, but if not a Rooster, at least a Tom Rooster,lol.

Don said...

Sharon: I think the fun of having something to pick far outweighs whether or not we like them! I am going to try the radish/butter saandwich as recommended by both Laura and Amy, mostly because I like any excuse to eat bread and butter.
When you get to the letter 'R' in your artistic adventure, maybe you can do something and get double points: Radish Rose.

Don said...

Ruth: It's nice to belong to a mutual fan club. Maybe I need to blog sometime about the wonder of you.

Don said...

Laura: I don't know about the raw onion and butter sandwich, but the radish/butter is going to get a try. If I take up painting? I can hardly draw my name. Maybe I just need to practice. Hmm, I think we are born with artistic skills/bents. Nature vs Nurture on this one, especially for me.

Don said...

Chickengirl: I now have at least 6 roos. The three baby buff orpingtons are supposedly amigas, but time will tell. Also the two Japanese Bantams haven't revealed themselves yet either. What do I do with all of these lovely roosters?
Do the White Silkies have black skin?

chickengirl said...

Wow, I think that with all of our new Silkies we could have about 10 roosters! You could show them if they're pretty enough!

Yes, they do and it's so cute. When they first hatch out, they look almost black because of how slick and slimy they are.
(Did you know that Silkies also have black bones??)

Stiggy said...

As IF Stiggy could be anything other than a rooster!! ;)

I like the comment about fine shanks - makes me feel a lot better!

:D

Glad to see you're enjoying all the farm work mate! Personally I am counting the minutes until we can move in, and I can be a 'full timer' like you - you're so lucky to have all the good stuff going on!

By the way, I love the jam jars - they are really cool.

We got our new ladies yesterday Don, although I was sad only to take 5 - they are turning out to be quite a handful!

I've had 1 escape and 1 infiltration so far - and it's only been 24 hours!

:D

Loring Wirbel said...

I think that sneaking the radishes out of a crudite platter is akin to sneaking the toasted garlic rye-bread chips out of the Gardetto's bridge mix. And certain people say they're not sure if they like them!!?

Ginnie said...

I just LOVE reading your posts, Don. I always get a big smile and I also learn new things about you all the time...esp. about all your farmer relatives!

When I lived in Peru, one lady made a radish salad like we make a cucumber salad and it was wonderful. You can make a cucumber-radish salad, too. Try it. :)

Don said...

chickengirl: I was watching one of those "let's eat the world's wierdest foods" shows, and they were eating black skinned and boned chickens and showed what looked like silkies, and now I know they were! I think I would get a little case of the heeby jeebies if I ate one of them.

Don said...

Stiggy: It's a good day when you feel good!
I am looking forward to seeing you rlife when you actually are living on your land. I have seen land called an allotment. What exactly does that mean?

Do you have a to-do list? That sounds like a good future post.

Your new chickens are "Battery Hens" which are hens that were heading from a huge egg producer to the dog food plant, due to lack of production. Way to go! One of these days, I am going to look into that here. Right now, I think I am at my max.

Don said...

Loring: That is a brilliant observation. I am one of those who go for the rye chips. I don't think I was one of the radish snatchers, however, my dad definitely was. Radishes and sardines on crackers.

Don said...

ginnie: we will have enough for a radish salad at farm day. we will definitely serve it up. What kind of cucumber salad? mayo based or vinegar based?

Sandy said...

You are a man for all seasons I'm thinking... Jams look so good, I'm hungry right now so that wasn't very nice to post those pics, ha.


Don't know if its' a he or she but it is cute.

Don said...

Sandy: Sorry about the big tease! I think he is a he.

Anet said...

I don't know Don, it took me a year to figure out my squirrel friend is a girl not a boy! The jam looks wonderful. I love blackberries! Wish my husband knew how to make jam! Lucky Ruth!!!

Don said...

Anet: If I can make jam, anyone can! I think squirrels are a little more private with their gender. Roosters wear their gender on their heads, tails, and their crows.

Jen @ J&J Acres said...

I know people have already confirmed, but I'm 99% sure you have a rooster there. It's the saddle feathers that give him away.

Don said...

Jen: Thanks for stopping by! I believe he is too. It's funny how this roo just suddenly "blossomed."

Manda said...

Try this with your radishes:

slice them, add sliced black olives, crumble some feta over it, drizzle oil of your choice over it, stir a little & devour. My kids asked for seconds. No joke.

We have 5 baby black raspberry bushes. Next year I hope we'll have berries! Not enough to make jam with yet but they are already reaching out their little spindly arms, trying to spread.

Robinson said...

I'm so jealous of your black raspberries. They are my absolute favorite and I only got a handful (literally) this year. It's heartbreaking that there will be no raspberry jam this winter.