Berry Busy

     Pardon the bad play on words, but I have been berry busy!  A lot of time was spent outdoors today, running hoses and changing irrigation lines.  The pasture where we run our small flock of sheep is not going to last them the summer.  I walked the line of flood irrigation (which we no longer use for our orchard) to see if we could switch out enough of the broken caps in the orchard with caps from the pasture to open up the flood irrigation out there.  No can do.  Buying replacement caps for the flood irrigation system will be pricey, so I thought that, perhaps, I could pull our old walking sprinkler into use.

     Our walking sprinkler is a great cast iron model, purchased for us by my late mother-in-love our first year in this house.  There were no sprinklers anywhere here, so she bought us the walking sprinkler to keep me from having to move the regular sprinkler every 20 minutes or so all day long to keep the front yard green.  I loved the walking sprinkler!  My husband and I used to sit out of an evening and chat and just watch the sprinkler as it slowly moved its way across the yard.  Cheap entertainment!

     Aaron worked on our old walker for over an hour today.  Unfortunately, several of its gaskets are shot and it will no longer work.  The sprinkler that keeps our goat yard green also quit working today.  I will be purchasing a couple of long reaching sprinklers on our mega shop this week.  Running the extra sprinklers to keep the goat yard green, and to try to encourage some new growth in the sheep pasture, will cause our electric bill for our well to go up.  However, the cost of hay in our part of the state is going through the roof and it will be cheaper, in the long run, to try to grow our own grass to feed the animals as far into the summer as possible. 

     This is one of those areas that I’ve been pondering and making decisions in.  You see, I have a very limited amount allotted for “garden” each paycheck.  This little bit needs to do everything – buy plants, buy sprinklers, buy fertilizer when needed, buy trees, buy any sorts of non-plant landscaping materials (bark, gravel, pavers, etc.).  Normally, once our garden is in, the “garden” money becomes available to buy annuals for pots to arrange on my porch, and usually lets me save up enough to landscape one small area of our property each summer.  It’s never much, but bit by bit our front and back yards are getting done. 

     This year, however, I will spend very little of our garden money this way.  I do plan to buy a few annuals because I love having pots of flowers clustered here and there about my front porch area; and it’s important to for us, as women, to have the opportunity to bring beauty into (and around) our homes.  However, much as I’d love to landscape another small area around our home, I plan to save these funds for future food gardening purposes.

     My husband has a small cost of living raise coming in the next few weeks, but most of that will be allocated to cover the rising costs of gasoline.  My driving is already about as limited as it can be, but my husband does need to commute to work and our church is an hour’s drive away on Sunday.  There really is very little we can do to cut back any further on the amount of gas we use.  Though his raise will not filter down to cover much more than our gas, grocery prices, as well as prices for clothing and other household items, continue to rise.

     What’s a girl to do?  Well, this girl plans to forgo the normal summer gardening and save up to plant a fall garden.  We’ve not had a fall garden for several years, but this year we will enjoy one.  Beyond that, the “garden” money will be saved toward bare root season this winter.  I’ve made a list of about five fruit trees that we have lost and not replaced in the last couple of years, and those will be at the top of my list.  I will also, Lord willing, purchase a few other varieties of fruit and nut trees, some raspberry canes, and some late crop blueberries.  The more we can grow of our own food, the more I can relieve some of our dependence on grocery store pricing.

     There’s more to my plans in the area of food, but that’s enough talk of that for now. 

     I also spent some time in our big garden today, pulling a few weeds and keeping a careful eye on the plants there.  We have had a terrible time this year with pests.  The gopher, thankfully, is gone; but the earwigs have been horrid.  We’re taking all necessary steps to keep them in check, but it’s an ongoing problem.  We are relying heavily on our garden this year, and spending time out there everyday tending it is necessary.  I’ve come to enjoy the peaceful quiet of the garden, though, so my time out there is pleasant for the most part. 

     With all of that going on, Dani and I didn’t get to making our berry jam until mid afternoon.  This batch made up seven half pint jars, and almost enough for an eighth half pint.  The partial half pint went into the fridge, but the others sealed nicely on the counter, where they will remain and “rest” until tomorrow afternoon.  Then they’ll be cleaned up and put into our long term storage pantry. 

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     There were just enough berries after we made the jam for one berry pie and a cobbler.  I made the berry pie and popped it into the oven.  I worked on the cobbler afterwards, timing it so that I could put the cobbler into the oven as the pie came out.  I baked the pie until the juices were just bubbling up through the vents in the top crust, but not until the top crust was completely brown.  This pie is meant for the freezer.  I like leaving them just a bit shy of brown enough when I freeze them, so that I can put them in the oven for a few minutes and get that just-baked taste after they’ve come out of the freezer. 

 

 

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     The cobbler was made for our dessert tonight.

     While I worked on the pie and the cobbler, though, Dani picked more berries!!!  After dinner tonight, I baked two more berry pies for the freezer.  These last two are not the prettiest pies I’ve ever made, but they’ll do.  It’s such a wonderful treat to have berry pie well after berry season is over.  I now have three that we will enjoy in the months ahead.

    

 

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      It wasn’t all work and no play for all of us today.  Will got the first swim of the year.  The water was a bit too cold to tempt anyone else, but Will swam for an hour or so. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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     Everyone was busy, but Will persisted in asking until someone (his wonderful Daddy) finally agreed to blow up a pool toy for him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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     But who could resist this face???  I’m not quite sure what he was saying, but he was certainly cute saying it!

 

 

 

 

 

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     Cannon ball!!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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     It was a berry busy day, but a good one.  I’m blessed that we can grow our own berries and that, years ago, I learned to can.  Though my back is stiff and sore tonight, I love knowing that there are pies in the freezer; and man-oh-man, the berry cobbler was gooooood!  I’ll share the cobbler recipe tomorrow.

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household!
Proverbs 31:27
 

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19 comments to Berry Busy

  • Mmmm, I can just imagine how great your house smelled! 

  • OOO that pool looks good! It is VERY hot down here in Texas!

    ~*~Megan~*~

  • OOO that pool looks good! It is VERY hot down here in Texas!

    ~*~Megan~*~

  • ๐Ÿ˜ฎ That child is NUTS!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

    Here I was, sitting here all ready for bed, and you’ve gone and made me hungry with your post! Looks yummy! I can smell it and taste it all in my head

  • The pies look yummy! Would you mind sharing what you freeze your pies in so they come out without the freezer burn. freezer taste? Foil? Ziplocs? I have such a problem with that I have given up trying…
    Thanks & blessings,
    Lea

  • Cheryl, have you ever started veggie plants from seeds in the house?  I know our climates and growing seasons are totally different, but I’ve had great success with starting almost all of my vegetable garden from seed for pennies.  All you need is a sunny window and a card table (or any table and some plastic “cell packs” which are very inexpensive.  Also I have canned pie filling and have a couple of recipes if you’d like them.  They are so handy to have sitting on the shelf in the pantry and are very nice in pie or cobbler.  Yours look delicious.  We are still a month or more away from any local berries here….sigh…..

    Have a great day   :wave:

  • Wow Cheryl,

    You have been berry busy. ๐Ÿ˜† The pies look yummy.

    Hugs,

    Elizabeth

  • Ooooh, I would want those canned pie filling recipes. Tell Niki “yes”!! I look forward to your berry cobbler recipe. I have 2 1/2 bags of frozen berries to use.

    Love the pics of Will in the pool. Like Corin, you have made me hungry!:p

  • Cheryl,

    Your pies and cobbler look so delicious! What a blessing to have those berries ripe for the picking. Years ago we had a large garden. I’m not sure why we stopped but I’d like to start again. What kinds of vegetables do you plant for an autumn garden?

  • I love to read all of your plans – it’s so exciting!  We’re learning to garden here.  I have 4 small raised beds – one more than last year.  And I’m hoping to purchase a fruit tree this year.

    You might enjoy watching this – I found it very inspiring:

    http://yoursacredcalling.blogspot.com/2008/05/gardening-and-such.html

  • Okay now you’ve gone and done it – I have a craving for pie, lol!!!  Can’t wait until our berries are ready.

  • Mmmmm…looks *berry* delicious! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Everything looks “Berry Delicious”!!!!:lol:

    I have a question:

    You talk about pulling money out of each payday check and saving it for a special purpose-like in this post, it was for gardening. Do you save it in an envelope until you need it? I have heard you talk about a clothing envelope and a grocery envelope. What others do you have and how did you determine what categories you needed money in and how much to put toward them each payday?

    You and Copper seem to have a very “healthy” attitude toward money. For instance, I’m a saver and don’t like to go on vacations or spend money on the house until we absolutely have to. My husband is a spender. You guys, on the other hand, divided the money you got from Copper’s inheritance toward house stuff(new porch and new dryer) and then toward your Disney trip. How did you come up with the idea to do the things you did with the money instead of saving it?

    I know that everything we have is the Lord’s and we are to be good stewards of what he has given us, so how do you make the decisions to spend what He has given us wisely and not feel guilty about it or worry we won’t have the extra money later if we spend it now.

  • Everything looks “Berry Delicious”!!!!:lol:

    I have a question:

    You talk about pulling money out of each payday check and saving it for a special purpose-like in this post, it was for gardening. Do you save it in an envelope until you need it? I have heard you talk about a clothing envelope and a grocery envelope. What others do you have and how did you determine what categories you needed money in and how much to put toward them each payday?

    You and Copper seem to have a very “healthy” attitude toward money. For instance, I’m a saver and don’t like to go on vacations or spend money on the house until we absolutely have to. My husband is a spender. You guys, on the other hand, divided the money you got from Copper’s inheritance toward house stuff(new porch and new dryer) and then toward your Disney trip. How did you come up with the idea to do the things you did with the money instead of saving it?

    I know that everything we have is the Lord’s and we are to be good stewards of what he has given us, so how do you make the decisions to spend what He has given us wisely and not feel guilty about it or worry we won’t have the extra money later if we spend it now.

  • “The more we can grow of our own food, the more I can relieve some of our dependence on grocery store pricing.”

    I completely agree Cheryl!  We’re working toward that end here at our home as well.  :yes:

  • I am thinking that if you continue to put such yummy pictures of your desserts on this blog, you are going to have a huge group of people at your house begging for a piece of pie!!  LOL

    Some day I am going to learn to make a pie from scratch…

  • Hi Cheryl!

    Love your garden plans. You’ve got me thinking. Smart idea to invest in the stuff that will continue to produce for you year after year- berries and fruit. I don’t think I’ll let my hubby see your berry pies though. :shysmile: I am the worst pie baker ever. Maybe I’ll try to do the cobbler…

    Love,
    RJ

    leading little hearts home

  • :goodjob:This is kind of a random comment…but I am wondering if sheep are profitable. We have chickens and like them. We have ruled out pigs due to their distructive nature and the cost of pens etc… So we are left with goats and sheep. What do you think about your sheep are they a lot of work? What kind of fencing do you have? Basically the good the bad the ugly!

    We spent 2 hours picking berries at a friends home this weekend and came away with 30# of berries! I have made jam, cobbler, muffins, smoothies and I’ve been freezing them. We are going to plant some on our property for next year (I think we’ll have to wait a year for the fruit though?..)

    I really like your blog and visit as much as I can! Thanks for this awesome Titus 2 ministry.

  • My, you have been berry busy. ๐Ÿ™‚ The pie and cobbler pictures look so good. Congrats on your bumper crop of berries. How wonderful to look in the pantry and freezer and see that bounty later.

    Sorry to hear that the sheep pasture is suffering. Praying that you can get some grass going somehow.

    Will, he just makes me smile. Looks like he had a blast playing in the pool. ๐Ÿ™‚