Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Summer Harvests

The first real harvest of the season came not from our garden, but from the wild:

Several varieties of blackberry bushes are growing wild all over the pasture, and they've been ripening in waves. A short stroll from the house and a few scratches later, it's easy to collect enough ripe berries to make blackberry liqueur:

These jars have been sitting for a few weeks, with a brew of blackberries + honey + brandy inside. I imagine that the longer I can hold off temptation (to strain & drink) the better it will taste when I finally do.

Of course, the garden is producing also--especially tomatoes and basil. Time to make sauce!

More seasonal gifts from this land came from the plum tree next to our mailbox. The plums are small and have clingy pits inside, but their flavor is exhilarating.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Gobble Gobbling

Everything here at Ecotone is hungry and growing. The turkeys now follow us around hoping for handouts, as do the geese. Very soon everybody will be going out to pasture (chickens, turkeys, and others); but, for now, until we switch on our soon-to-be installed electric fence, they are all over the backyard. Their soft cooing and chattering wakes me up some mornings, as I look out and see them perched right outside my window.

Right now they're adolescents, no longer the tiny chicks they were when they arrived, but still far smaller than they will be by Thanksgiving. The toms (males) are noticeably taller than the hens, and pick fights with each other in the yard. They also love taking dust baths. In the few patches of bare earth they can find in the yard, they will lounge in the sun and kick up plumes of dust with their wings, covering their backs and wings with it and then shaking themselves clean with gusto.

The chickens are growing too of course, and the few roosters we have aren't crowing quite yet, but are already easy to spot by their crests. The country version of where's waldo: find the rooster among the hens (hint: look for red).

The geese are by far the biggest birds here, and they seem happy to throw their weight around. They steal feed from the other birds and honk loudly when they don't get their way. The three of them can usually be found together, splashing or nibbling grass or just waddling around enjoying the afternoon.