Tag Archives: farm life

Strawberry & Caneberry Season- An easy method to Freeze those luscious berries

DSC_0711
Strawberry Harvest

Berry season is upon us. Berries are wonderful eaten fresh with their juice flowing down your chin. You can make preserves, add them to just about anything for breakfast or create a wonderful dessert. But the season is over quickly so why not freeze some for later when berries are a mere memory of a season past.

Freezing strawberries is super simple. (As well are many caneberries, such as Raspberries,  Marionberries, Boysenberries etc.) Start with freshly picked berries. Ripe strawberries (or caneberries) from your yard or garden are perfect. Or find a local u-pick farm, farm stand or farmers market. Organically grown is best as commercially grown strawberries (and caneberries) are heavily sprayed with a variety of chemicals. Their seasons are short so don’t delay.

No need for any fancy equipment. I bet you have most everything you need right in your home. Freshly picked berries; a clean sink with cold water (for strawberries, not delicate caneberries); a colander of some sort to drain the berries; an old bath towel to absorb the last droplets or remove any debris; a teaspoon for removing any stray caps; a cookie sheet for freezing the berries on; zip-loc freezer bags or containers & a freezer.

Pick the berries. With or without caps is fine.

Carefully rinse a few boxes at a time in a sink of cold water. Swish about gently. (I only rinse strawberries as they sometimes come in contact with the soil. Caneberries are usually clean straight from the canes.)

Place clean berries in a colander to drain excess water. (Strawberries only)

Gently pour berries out onto a clean old bath towel. For strawberries this is to blot off the last droplets of water. For caneberries this step will allow any stems, leaves or stray bugs to be removed.

Remove any stray caps & place berries on a heavy cookie sheet.

When the sheet is filled place in the freezer for several hours to freeze hard.

Remove berries from the cookie sheet and place in freezer bags or containers.

Back in the freezer they go and you are done.

No mess, no fuss, no juicy smashed berries!

6 pint boxes of strawberries or caneberries will make approximately 1 gallon bag of frozen whole berries.

ENJOY!!!

Farm Meanderings- Change… Adapt… Rejoice

morning sun
morning sun

The summer of 2015 was long & hot & dry. It was a demanding season to be a farmer in the Pacific Northwest. We were challenged at every turn by the relentless weather and the cavalcade of effects it had on the farm and it’s farmers. We also welcomed a major change into our lives in the form of my husbands retirement from a lifelong career.  But in the end we simply rejoiced everyday in the beauty of this place.
Life at its finest- Change… Adapt… Rejoice

 

Sunday Summer Showers

summer showers
summer showers

It has been hot here lately. Well hot for here anyways! Mighty early in the season for this many days of prolonged heat. So dry. It is June not August! Days that heat up quickly, nights that fail to cool, dry. Hard on the plants, hard on the animals, hard on the humans. Then this morning- Gray skies, a breeze, big fat raindrops, thunder in the distance. Time to do a barnyard dance!!! It feels SO good! The plants rejoice, the animals rejoice, the human rejoices. It will not last… the forecast tells us the heat will ramp up another notch in the coming week.

But to celebrate a garden tour was in order. Come join me.

Here the Bumble Bees in the Lavender. Check the egg filled nest hidden in the gooseberries. Listen to the buzz of Honey Bees beginning their workday. Pollinators on flowers, flowers glowing to attract them. Cane berries ripening. An early morning harvest. The first Dahlia bloom. A buck deer bedded down at the edge of the woods. The scent of  flowers & rain spattered soil in the air.   Beauty surrounds. Beauty abounds.

June 20th- The Last Day of Spring

wedding day-  6/20/81
wedding day- 6/20/81

On this day in 1981 Bob & I were married. 34 years. The beginning of dreams becoming reality. It continues today.  34 years of dreaming & doing. Best Friends. Sharing. Love & laughter, tears & heartache. Working side by side, blisters & backaches. Slowly growing a home, a family, a farm.

Now the kids are grown & gone, pursuing  their own lives & dreams. Bob has recently retired from a long career as a firefighter/paramedic and now is a full timer on the farm. Our lives continue to change & evolve. The dreams are the reality. The constant is us.

Here is a snapshot of the last days of Spring 2015 here at FullCircle Farm.

Dreams Do Come True!

Retirement day-  3/15
Retirement day- March 2015

Dexter Calves at FullCircle Farm

FullCircle Walter- 5/28/15
FullCircle Walter- 5/28/15

On the night of May 28th, @ 10 pm to be precise, we were once again witness to the miracle of birth. Our first Dexter calf of 2015 was born that night. Our matriarch momma cow Belle Fourche Merrideth, @ the age of 11, was preparing to give birth to her 9th calf. Experienced. She began her labor, walking, circling, up and then down and then up again. Laboring, contractions, pushing. Contractions getting closer. Lying down, a giant push & the water broke. Up again, walking, circling, up and then down and then up again. Hoof toes appear, then 2 pale colored hooves, soles down… so good to see the correct position. Labor, contractions, pushing. A nose appeared, a pale colored nose & a tongue… so good to see.  Quickly there was a head, then shoulders, then a warm wet calf dropped to the straw covered floor. Merrideth spins around, nose to her new baby, licking with earnest. She begins her gentle low chorus of momma moos, encouraging. The calf shakes his head & snorts, eyes open, legs moving. The little dun colored bull calf makes many attempts to rise. 10 minutes later, 4 wobbly legs under him, he stood for the first time. Standing, walking, circling, up and then down and then up again. 5 minutes later he found his momma’s udder, then the teat and then milk. Lovely, warm, powerfully nutritious, life giving, first milk. Mom licks and licks and licks until his beautiful silvery coat is clean & dry. Nap time.

Happy Birthday FullCircle Walter. Welcome to our world.

Signs of Spring & Rhubarb Pie

rhubarb pie
rhubarb pie

Spring is full upon us. Beautiful warming sun one day, light drenching rain the next. Yesterday was the warming sun day. From sun up to sun down, life giving sun. Tickling the soil to life. Encouraging life to spring forth. The air heavy with the scent of lilac & daphne & freshly mown grass. Mmmm…

Today is the light drenching rain day. A thorough gentle watering for all. Grass & flowers & leaves heavily laden with it’s raindrop weight. In the greenhouse the air heavy with the scent of lemon blossom, rosebud & warm moist soil. Mmmm…

In the kitchen this afternoon, the scent of Rhubarb pie baking.  It must be Spring! A pie crust of freshly ground flour & butter, worked lightly with experienced hands, rolled thin, crimped on the edges like Mom showed me so many years ago.  The filling of crisp red rhubarb, sugar & flour with a sprinkle of nutmeg, piled high. Into the oven this right of Spring. The house fills with the scent of baking pie, not any pie, Rhubarb pie. It bubbles and browns and wafts its heavenly scent. Mmmm…

Dessert tonight a celebration of Spring. A gift of Love from farm to table. Mmmm…

Lilacs
Lilac

Farm Meanderings- Spring Unfurling

apple blossoms
apple blossoms

All about the farm life is unfurling to greet the lengthening days. The tasks are many & varied. Life changes along with the seasons. Come take a walk-about the farm with me…

The Rising of the Dawn… Birdsong

rising of the dawn
rising of the dawn

Sunday morning. The darkness of early morning surrounds me. Stealth downstairs in the early morning silence. I love this time of day before the world around me awakens. Click on a lamp, pick out a book, wrap up in an afghan. This mornings read, Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping by Dewey M. Caron. This is one of my go-to books on the art of beekeeping.  The quiet inspires me to research and refresh my memory as we start up this new year of beekeeping.  I get lost in the pages, absorbed. Time passes. I am catapulted back to reality when silence is interrupted by birdsong. I glance up and it is dawn, the birds know, they remind me.

The light is just breaking thru the trees. Silhouettes are becoming visible. I grab the camera, my jacket and mud boots and go out into the brisk air. Rain has blanketed the earth with it’s regenerative powers. The beauty is overwhelming. The stillness, the scents on the air, the kiss of drizzle on a cheek, the birdsong. A melancholy sky thick with gray clouds overhead. Slowly a glint of golden possibility appears on the horizon. For just a few moments I am witness to the glow of a perfect plum blossom on a gray canvas. Lovely…

Birdsong awakening a day.

Farm Meanderings- Winter Ends… Spring Begins

grape hyacinth
grape hyacinth

Let me start by saying- Condolences to all of you who have had, and in some cases are still having, a brutal Winter.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, 2015 was the Winter that never was. It feels like Spring & has for awhile now. Though the calendar, and experience, says not quite yet. Restraint. There is a palpable stirring of life on the farm. Sweet scents in the air, a pop of color here and there. An awakening.  Come take a walk-about the farm with me… Eye candy for you beleaguered sufferers of Winter.