Sunday, April 28, 2013

22 Cups of Blackberries!

This morning, my Momma, Mary and I drove out to a wonderful little spot on the beach in Ocean Springs to pick blackberries.  They were everywhere, and the scenery was beautiful!  

The shear number of ripe berries, brought out the OCD in me and I found my self unable to stop.  

When I got home, I had to figure out what to do with all of them.  I had some ideas when I headed out to the patch. 

The first thing I wanted to make was a Shrub.  I am growing a fascination with old fashioned drinks, and shrubs are definitely one of the staples.  Shrubs are a drinking vinegar/syrup, usually flavored with fruit and aromatics.  You mix them with soda or still water and booze if you so desire.  They sounded right up my alley. I will post this recipe after it is completed, that will be in about 2 weeks.  Until then, here is a picture of 8 cups of blackberries smashed with 4 cups of sugar!  This mixture will be sitting in my pantry for the next 2 weeks.  I will add some more stuff tomorrow... but... for now.... just sugar and berries. 

One of my favorite things to eat is home made black berry preserves.  My usual recipe for preserves is 3 cups of berries, 1.5 cups of sugar, and zest and juice from one lemon.  Boil for a while, pour into sterilized jars, and process for 10 min.   Some times I add things to my mixture, to spice it up..

I made 2 batches:
To the first batch,  I added a teaspoon of cinnamon, half teaspoon of nutmeg, and half teaspoon of black pepper
To the second, I added 4 bay leaves while it was boiling.  

I cannot wait to put these on toast!  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

One Fence. Two Fence. Wood Fence. Wire Fence.

I am not sure if you know this or not, but I have a pup named Eloise.  She is amazingly sweet, and has the best personality, in the WORLD!! (Second only to Delores of course)  Well part of what makes her amazing is that she is so adventurous, and loves to explore the neighborhood.  She is also very thoughtful and brings me surprises from her adventures.  She has brought me stuffed animals, road kill jerky, shoes, roller skates, camellias,  and my favorite, the Sunday paper!
I have recently found out that she has several boyfriends (hussy!)  and has been eating breakfast with many of them on a regular basis.

Sweet Eloise, With a bone she found on one of her adventures!
How does she get to go on all of these adventures?  Well, She jumps the fence.... and goes.  This is obviously not ideal, as much as I love her spirit (and "my" Sunday papers).  She runs the risk of getting hit by a car or abducted (most likely, because she is so darn cute!)

So here is what I did!  I added two fences.... The wood fence first, and nicely, because it is what people see from the side.  Then I installed the wire fence, dividing the back yard into two, killing two  birds with one stone:  shorter distance to fence, and making an area of my yard for a garden... where the dogs cannot reach (and dig up).

The Wood Fence!
What it looked like before.... Notice all of the holes the dogs had been digging. cute, huh!

a tight spot to dig!
I used beer cans to protect the tops of the posts!!!

Of Course, I had to use the metal dog from the old fence!

The Wire Fence!
A salvaged door, found on the side of the road, to be used for the gate. 

the beginning of the garden plot