Oh Raspberries.

I got my first good picking of raspberries Friday evening when the rain stopped. We got an inch and a quarter of rain Friday and another inch over the weekend. So thankful after our dry spell.  I also got almost a full quart of raspberries from my 2 little raspberry patches. We were heading out in the morning to see Duane’s daughter and our grandchildren so I was excited to get such a nice picking to share with them. When I was picking my mind drifted back to when my oldest granddaughters came and stayed at the farm in the summer. They usually came the week before the 4th of July. The oldest loved to go pick the raspberries and eat them. She also learned how to make jam. To our amazement when she got home she surprised her parents by having them buy her some raspberries from the store then making jam for them at home. These memories are more precious to me as the girls get older.

This week’s recipe is from my mother’s old KERR canning book. It has more sugar than I normally use in a recipe but you use so little of it that I make the exception.

Berry Jam

For every one cup of berries use ¾ cups of sugar.

Wash and pick over berries. Crush the berries to start juice. Measure berries, sugar and juice and heat through. Cook, stirring frequently, until of desired consistency. Pour into sterilized KERR Jars and seal while hot.

In their elementary years the girls called their week with us Oma and Grandpa Camp. We had so much fun with them. At some point my niece joined them and the trio kept me hopping the week they were here. We got my first 10 pack of baby chicks on one of their trips. The younger of the two girls had a recipe for scrambles eggs I never really got the hang of making and she was pretty good with pancakes too. Their favorite prank was to get grandpa with eggs when he got home from work. I would give them a dozen to throw at him on his way to the house. Somehow they always seemed to end up with more egg on them than on grandpa. We used wires to make their hair look like Pippi Longstocking and learned to sew on these trips to the farm. It is hard to believe the youngest now has her learners permit. This weekend was so dear to my heart. Both girls had some sewing for me to work with them on. I felt good that they made time for me in their busy teenage lives.  

I was thankful for this last week on the farm being more of a stay at home week. The weeding seems to be getting easier as I get things done. When I weeded the sweet potato barrels the last time I got newspaper put down to stop future weeds. I also got the rest of the beats and sweet potatoes not in barrels surrounded by newspaper and topped with composted manure. I did a quick, less than an hour spent, weeding all the carrots and parsnips. I was also able to get most of the big weeds out of the asparagus this week. That felt like a major victory even with the knowledge that there are more weeds to come. 

We enjoyed several treats from the garden this week. Sugar snap peas, radishes, and my sweet potato vines are finally big enough to steal some leaves for a pan of sweet potato greens. I like this better than spinach. I use my pasta cooker and boil them off for 3 minutes to take the bitterness out. I then seasoned them with smoked salt and garlic. I am always amazed at how fast things grow and how a tiny seed becomes such a big plant with all the food it provides us.

I also tried starting some elderberries from a cutting and am hopeful it worked. All the leaves drooped for a couple days. I was about to give up and throw them away when I noticed a couple leaves perked up on one of them. Maybe they are actually getting roots. if so I will have to take more cuttings. I want to have a patch of elderberries for cough syrup and as an immune booster.

The cherries are done and so are the strawberries. I have filled my bags for very berry crisp and a cherry crisp. My cherry trees had some powder mold on the leaves so I sprayed them with a week solution of 1 Tablespoon of sulfur powder to a gallon of water until after all the cherries were harvested. I also trimmed off the branches that were affected the most by the mold. I did my best to keep the trimmings in a tote and get them out of the garden without letting them spore on anything else.  I will follow up next week with neem and pyrethrum when there is less chance of rain in the forecast. There is enough time before harvesting the peaches and apples to use the neem oil solution on them now, so I sprayed my peach tree that is close to the cherries and also a couple of the smaller apple trees.  The rain hit before I could get a clear day to spray the big apple trees.

Most of this week had quiet home days. I made screen coverings for the cruciferous beds and then a couple for my squash plants. I will have to pollinate these because the bees can’t get in but am hoping to stop the squash bugs from destroying my vines like they have in past years. In total I have 5 raised beds with screen coverings to keep the bugs at bay. If they work as planned I will spend a lot less time spraying and picking bugs off my plants and will free up a little more time for spinning and weaving.

In my little time tid bits I was able to finish weaving the 5 foot rug I started and will try to make some more with the same fabric to use in front of the camper. I may sew them together. I may also try playing with weaving plastic bags like you get from the grocery store. They might work out more durable and easier to clean after the wet camping weekends. Over the weekend I started an afghan out of the wool I have spun. I will have to spin lots more wool to complete it. I like how the natural wool looks worked up though.

One night this week my husband came home and asked if I would be upset if he bought me an early birthday present. My birthday is in Oct. He ordered me a spinning wheel and a set of wool carders. I had made a rough set out of some scrap wood and maybe later I will order pads for them too. By the end of the week I should be learning what it is like to have a wheel to spin my wool.

I also did a couple quick projects this week. Before Duane spilled the beans about his wanting to get me the spinning wheel I made a couple things from our scrap lumber and other things around the house. I found a hook with a screw end on it that was bigger than the one on the drop spindle I am borrowing so I went to the basement and found a dowel rod it would fit in. I cleaned it up a bit and sanded the ends smooth. I drilled a hole a bit smaller than the screw end of the hook and put the hook in the end. I kept thinking what I could use for the round part of the spindle. I went to the recycle bin and there was a big plastic creamer lid. I used a drill bit just a little smaller than the dowel rod and made a hole in the center of the creamer lid. This works best if you put a block of wood under the lid to make it more solid to drill through. I then heated around the hole with a lighter and pushed the dowel rod in with the hook side on the same side as the top of the lid. You want to just get it warm enough to be flexible and not so that it melts and makes the hole bigger. I tried it and though I need to spin it more often it actually worked for a good drop spindle.

Later that week when thinking of my friend coming back from vacation and wanting my own set of carders when I return hers, I again went to the basement and found some stouter dowel rods. I cut 2 about 8 inches long. I then cut myself 2 rectangles out of 3/4 inch thick boards that were probably maple. I am not sure. They were definitely not soft pine boards. I cut 2 rectangles 5 inches by 9. then drilled a hole in the center of the 9 x 3/4 inch side and put the dowel rods in with some good wood glue to hold them. Later I am hoping to get some carding pads to have a back up set or a set I can loan out like my friend did for me.

I had a rainy day Friday so I went to Zinks fabric shop. A friend Diane Bozenburg sells produce in their parking lot on weekends. She had some beautiful broccoli and cauliflower. Zink’s is a discount fabric store. They have a huge bin of buttons that lures me in every time. I spent $5 on produce and less than 3 in the fabric shop. I came home with a huge head of broccoli, a large head cauliflower, a tomato, a peach that dripped on my chin on the way home, 12 new buttons and fabric for a top. I was thankful for the break from garden work. I got the laundry caught up, along with packing for our little trip to see the kids. We loaded the car up Friday night and were headed out early Saturday morning for their little burb of Chicago land.

I always enjoy our little trips to see the kids. I am amazed how much the little ones change from trip to trip. This time my oldest grandson was packing to go to camp for a week. This will be his first full week away from home.  He was very excited to finally be able to go after having it canceled last year. We joked about him using his skill of winking to get better food in the food line. I reminded him that he will need to drop his sunglasses a bit for it to be effective. LOL Will be interesting to hear how that worked.  I got lots of snuggles, read stories with both knees full and time with my older granddaughters. I am always amazed at how their parents get it all done. What a blessing each one is.

Now we are back home in a quiet house and as I reflect on my week I am filled with joy for all my blessings. At the same time my heart is saddened. I have several friends who have family members or are fighting illness or injury themselves that need healing. One of these I had 3 separate dreams of her healed and whole. I know in my mind that the Lord is capable, however over and over caught myself thinking of her sick and not as I saw her in the dream. I realize that I need to fight to see things as though they are so (healed and whole) and keep fighting to see her that way, however have caught myself thinking of her present state and praying out of the now picture rather than the one in my dream. My heart is saddened at my lack of faith. I have been reminded over and over how Jesus wept when with Lazarus’ sisters before he raised him from the dead. I also know and am humbled by the fact that Jesus is the author and finisher of my faith. Somehow I believe the key is knowing I need His faith and that without him and his spirit leading me I will not have the faith to see the miracles I so desire to see. In addition, I have been reminded that seeking the healer over seeking the healings is just as important. Boy am I thankful for the forgiveness that is available to us when we fall short. God is good and we are blessed and overflowing with His abundance here on the Wade Homestead.