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Comes the harvest


Our first year here, we made tons of jam. We had such a fun time making it, and then we realized we…really…just…don’t eat that much jam. Even today, I find the occasional jar of gray glob from all those years ago.

We’ve learned to moderate our jam-making activities, but we still make a few jars a year. In the picture is the makin’s of a red jam — raspberry, tayberry, a few strawberries and gooseberries. That was several days ago, and it turned out real nice.

Tonight, we made redcurrant jelly. Two plus pounds of redcurrants cooked down to two little jars and a bit. I hate to think what that would cost if you bought the berries – they’re super expensive in the store. Oddly enough, redcurrant jelly is usually used on meat here. Brits, eh?

Good weekend, everyone!


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 7, 2017, 11:02 pm

Not until I lived here did I realize that “savory” specifically means the opposite of “sweet”.

I guess “unsavory” is what threw me.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 7, 2017, 11:57 pm

Vanilla ice cream topped with fresh raspberries – the perfect dessert.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 8, 2017, 12:26 am

This guy’s twitter feed has photos of beautiful art and architectural features from UK churches, graveyards, and tombs. Truly wonderful:


Comment from David Gillies
Time: July 8, 2017, 12:49 am

You seppos put treacle on bacon, so you don’t have a leg to stand on.

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: July 8, 2017, 1:04 am

How about Cumberland sauce? It always sounded interesting to me.

Can you get venison even if you’re not a royal?

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: July 8, 2017, 1:20 am

I had to look up tayberries. They sound delicious! Bring on the red jam! With scones, and that most excellent Devonshire cream (lots of cream).

Comment from Bob B
Time: July 8, 2017, 3:03 am

Your story about finding old jam reminds me.
Back in 2009 we had a bumper crop of Fuyu Persimmons, which are delicious, but notorious for not keeping. We gave a lot away, made lots of jam, and dried some. We could not eat the dried ones fast enough.
We experimented with freezing the dried slices. If we thawed them, they were mushy and terrible. But eaten frozen they were pretty good. So we froze a couple dozen big bags of sliced and dried persimmons to save for summer. I recently found four bags of them pressed flat in the bottom of one of our chest freezers. They’ve been hidden under something else that’ll probably wind up mixed with the dog food.

Comment from catnip
Time: July 8, 2017, 6:33 am

The berry jam sounds really yummy, but my canning days are over. In spite of having lots of berries and fruit trees, Santa Rosa plums are the only part of the fruit crop we salvage for eating and sharing. Summers are very hot–107 degrees yesterday and rising. Plenty of shade and four drip-fed birdbaths attract lots of birds and squirrels that ruin most of the fruit before it ripens. We don’t mind; we’re more interested in watching critters than harvesting fruit.
Does anyone know if crows can be taught to talk? There’s a crow family that’s been hanging out for three summers here. This year there are five in the family–3 adults and 2 whiney young ones. Several days ago another crow showed up, and although the main group didn’t try to run him off, they haven’t welcomed him. If they’re bathing, drinking, or perched somewhere and he joins them, they let out squawks and fly to another part of the property. This morning the new crow was here alone, on top of the telephone pole near the garage when I went out to move a garden hose. He dropped down and swooped past me about 2 feet above my head, then flew up into the cherry tree to land about 15 feet away. He began muttering to himself, making noises that sounded exactly like cockatiel talk. I couldn’t make out any actual words, but there were vowels and other sounds in the mix that I’ve never heard uttered by our summertime crow family. It was already too hot in the shade to spend more than a couple of minutes listening, but is it possible the new crow could be someone’s chatty, escaped pet?

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 8, 2017, 2:59 pm

Noisy but cute. It’s when the parents fly in that they squawk. Not sure if it bc they are startled or they think its dinner time or what. They have to be older than 13 days by now. Looked in 2 days ago and today they look bigger and have more feathers. What a difference a few days makes. Anyway, cute:

Purple Martin NestCam *thirteen days old*


Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 8, 2017, 5:40 pm

Here’s a Loon Cam. I didnt know they had red eyes? Tho when I thik of depictions of them, I vaguely remember little red dots. Mama Loon looks like she’s been drinking. She has 2 eggs that are predicted to hatch today or within the next two days. I wonder when they do start to hatch, will she get off them? Or, do they break out of the shell while she is still on top of them?


Comment from AliceH
Time: July 8, 2017, 5:58 pm

Dave Gilles, you must be thinking of NYT seppos who come up with “New” food prep ideas like putting peas in guacamole. Hardly an “American” standard practice.

Comment from AliceH
Time: July 8, 2017, 6:41 pm

Sweas, my first encounter/realization of the Brit. usage of savory was at a Dutch Pancake place in Brighton. On top of the surprise of choosing savory or sweet was discovering the former referred to a huge omelette while the latter was a ginormous crepe. I’d have gone there again, but I never could find my way to any particular spot in The Lanes – just wandered randomly until seeing either the sea or the Royal Pavilion.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 8, 2017, 8:54 pm

Rachel Khoo, Brit chef: gammon, smear with maple syrup on one side and mustard on the other and fry. Serve on a home made biscuit with a poached egg. I’m sure the gammon/syrup/mustard combo smelled and tasted heavenly.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 8, 2017, 9:37 pm

Here’s a fun game:

“Your Jacob-Rees Mogg name is your favourite monarch + both your parents’ middle names + your favourite French word + your favourite cheese”

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: July 8, 2017, 9:45 pm

That’s a pet hate of mine, Alice H – ‘creative’ cooks whose idea of cookery involves mixing ingredients which nature has deliberately put asunder.

Her Stoatliness and I visited a local food fair today and it was one of the most pretentious events I have ever attended. Everything was at least three times the price it should have been, because the makers were upper middle class types expecting to earn bankers’ wages while expressing their ‘artisan’ creativity – and as for the food! I admit I’m astoundingly conservative in my tastes but in the end I bought an ice cream and that was it. It was a damn good ice cream, mind you. The Weasel had gin. Of course.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: July 8, 2017, 10:05 pm

@Ric Fan – That is indeed fun! I came up with this Jacob-Rees Mogg name:

Æthelstan Fuson Hibbard Crétin-Stilton

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 8, 2017, 10:26 pm

This person managed to go to a market today and buy herself a 100 year old cleaver. She’s already sharpen it and she is ready to slice, dice, and chop! She made me think of stoaty and her affection for old tools:


Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 8, 2017, 10:28 pm

Uncle Al, my Jacob-Rees Mogg name is:

Elizabeth (II) Sylvester May Champagne Jalapeno-Jack 🙂

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 9, 2017, 2:26 am

This is disgusting: A jew goes into a “PaliExpo” they are holding in London. As soon as he puts on a kippa, they call the cops and the muslim cop kicks him out. The guy argues making sound and legal arguments. The cop does not. He just bullshits his way. He also falsely accuses the guy of threatening him, tries to dissuade him from making a complaint, and then refuses to take a complaint.

Earlier this week, a uni student was reported for tweeting that there are many more violent muslims extremist than non muslim ones in the UK. Duh. A muslim cop sends her emails that she must contact him and if she doesnt, he will contact the uni and tell them to not allow her to attend. She complains and the chief of police defend him. People go nuts & the finally remove the muslim cop tho I think the student is still being investigated.

Not only does the UK have a muslim problem, they have a muslim cop problem.


Comment from Deborah HH
Time: July 9, 2017, 2:42 am

George Jackson Gertrude La Mer Devonshire

Re: cleavers. I have an 8×5″ blade cleaver that I inherited nearly 30 years ago; it dates from the 20s. It needs professional sharpening but all I use it for is chopping off the stem end of corn-on-the-cob. I could use it to cut up a chicken, but that’s a bad idea. As a young bride, my attempts at cutting up a chicken were disastrous; you couldn’t tell the breast from a wing 🙂 Husband said, “Where’s the pulley bone?” Me, “This chicken didn’t have one.”

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 9, 2017, 3:26 am

In college, I lived in a house one summer with Chinese exchange students. You opened a kitchen drawer and it was filled with cleavers. Had to be at least 30 or more of them. Seriously, how many does one need? A lot, I guess.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: July 9, 2017, 12:08 pm

Friedrich Raymond Eva tourterelle-Wensleydale.

We are talking about people who eat kippers for breakfast (mummy dear, mummy dear).

I personally believe it was one of the reasons for the Empire – to find better recipes, even though I have a particular fondness for scones and cute little cucumber sandwiches.

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: July 9, 2017, 7:23 pm

There’s a reason chicken tikka masala is a national dish of England.

Comment from Ric Fan
Time: July 10, 2017, 12:27 am

The baby purple martins now look like real birds. It feels like it happened overnight. Yesterday, the mom flew in and kept diving her head into the nesting material. Couldnt figure out what she was doing but then saw that all 6 babies were moved to the back of the nest and away from the opening. #safetyfirst!

Comment from BigBlueBug
Time: July 10, 2017, 4:17 am

You’ve probably seen this already, but if you haven’t this is pure Rhode Island nostalgia gold.


They finally let me out!


Comment from SCOTTtheBADGER
Time: July 10, 2017, 8:10 am

Raspberries make American Badgers purr with quiet contentment.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: July 10, 2017, 7:33 pm

Catnip: I’ve always been told crows can be taught to talk, but I’ve never seen it. (I think there’s a wive’s tale that you have to split their tongues, yuck).

Comment from catnip
Time: July 11, 2017, 6:32 am

Thanks, Stoaty, I’m pretty sure that’s what’s going on. The sounds he makes aren’t nearly as jarring as the other birds’. I was slow to recognize what I was hearing, but twice today I heard him imitate a wild turkey gobble mixed in with the murmurs. He probably flies in every day from ranch lands on the outskirts of town looking for a cool spot and a little companionship.

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