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chokecherryMy father grew up on a farm in rural Montana in the 1930’s (he was born in 1923). He was second to last of ten children. He used to tell me stories of growing up, one of which included how, as kids, they were so hungry for something fresh that they would eat chokecherries right off the tree. While there may have been some truth to the story (it was the depression, after all), I have also met his brothers. And given that they were the kind of brothers who would put a dead fish in your sleeping bag on a camping trip, my guess is a lot of the chokecherry eating was on a dare. Read the rest of this entry »


CompostBinsI wrote a few weeks ago about how farming seemed to be about 40% fencing. If you have animals, I think an additional 40% is about poo management. Today, if you haven’t guessed, I cleaned out the chicken coop, changed out the shredded paper under the rabbit cages, and chipped out the area in the duck pen where they spend most of their time at night. All of this was deposited, with a LOT of water, in the compost pile, using a shovel and a wheelbarrow. After all, the bedding is supposed to be absorbent, so it takes a lot of water to get it wet enough to get the composting process started. Read the rest of this entry »

My habit of late is to get up around 7:30 am, make a cup of tea, check email and Facebook, and read any interesting blogs. This morning, I saw a recipe for grape chili-pepper jelly. I wasn’t interested, both because I think grape jelly is mostly for people under the age of 10, and more importantly, I didn’t have any grapes.

Some of these dried chilies are well past their expiration date, but how do you tell, really?

What I do have is loads of apples. I’ve made apple-plum sauce, apple sauce, apple butter, and a lot of apple crisp. But still the apples keep coming. We picked the last of the tree just before our first really hard frost a few days ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Beautiful bountiful blackberries!

I have occasion to travel to Walla Walla Washington, and while there a few weeks ago, I could not help notice the HUGE banks of wild blackberry bushes along the creek at Rooks Park. It was going to be a banner year for blackberries.

I returned last week and on a still cool Tuesday morning at 7:30, armed with long sleeves,  long thick pants and a five gallon bucket, I got to work. I was serenaded by bull frogs, startled by a great blue heron lifting off, and generally given a variety of weird looks by the local walkers, joggers and bikers. The berries were JUST getting ripe. Ungloved fingers were necessary in order to judge ripeness (unripe berries, even when black, don’t release easily; overripe berries squish in your fingers).    Read the rest of this entry »

Jennifer Kleffner

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