Tuesday
Apr172018

mulberry blackberry jam

I feel like there should be this long complicated post for this jam.  Because that is how much work went into making it.  Not the actual making but the foraging.  This is mulberry blackberry jam.

The bushes and trees in our neighborhood are still producing copious amounts of berries.  There are still so many green berries it is not funny!  Especially since I will be gone this weekend and wish to pick more soon.  The blackberries are eating my hands and forearms.  I am stiff from all the bending and squatting to pick the blackberries.  Reaching for the mulberries feels good.

I have been picking about 2 kilos of berries every time I go out.  I save off four cups for crisp and then make the rest into jam.  I add 1 kilo of sugar and cook until it is the consistency I wish.  The flavor is stupendous!  All the boyos have gotten some and I have seen them eat it straight from the jar.  

It is good.

It is different then the mountain jam because we have different berries but it is still ours.  Still foraged.  But people need realize forage does not mean no work.  It is work.  And then work to preserve it for later in the year.  It just does not take money for the berries themselves.  The sugar, jars, and lids.  Yes, that takes money.  But food is not going to waste which is a good thing.

More picking next week.  I get to go into a tent for the weekend starting Thursday!  I am excited.

Saturday
Apr142018

something simple

I was hanging laundry today and I realized everything on this line I have made.  That made me smile.  How simple is that?  I have the skills in my hands to make things.  I love my life.

It has been a good day but I am tired.  I did not sleep well so the words are not working very well.  Simple things like a lunch with friends and hanging laundry are the highlights of my day.  Not moving quickly this morning and sitting with a book instead of going for a walk.  Sometimes that is what life is all about.  

Today I am being grateful.  It is a good day.

Thursday
Apr122018

foraging for crisp

Monday some foraging went on.  The mulberries and blackberries are ripening.  There was more then enough within walking distance to forage 2 kilos worth.  The funny thing that this is along the long walk I take in the morning.  The only people I see picking berries out there are people from other countries.  More for us!  

The mulberries remind one person of the berries she ate in South America.  The other lady we speak to never tells us what she is doing with them but she picks about every day.  She did say she made jam.  It is just funny to me that there is all this food and no one is gathering it.  It tastes better then anything I have bought from the grocery store berry wise in years!

I used my recipe for apple crisp but replaced it with the berries.  I set about four berries aside for crisp.  They were sprinkled with four to five soup spoons of sugar because not all the berries that were picked were perfectly ripe.  Especially the mulberries.  I would be picking and would also need to hold my container under them so I could catch what was falling!  

I was going to link to my apple crisp recipe but I realized it is not here.  I guess I need to actually type it out!

mulberry blackberry crisp/crumble

Note:  To make this apple, I peel, core, and slice up two apples.  I usually use cinnamon and ginger in the crisp/crumble recipe.  You can also change the flour to gluten free types.  The consistency will be different and I find I usually use 2 cups of gluten free flours to 1 cup of wheat when I am measuring by volume.  I look at the texture to see if it is right.  I am going to try oat flour with this next time because one of the boyos is gluten free.

4 cups berries, cleaned

4 to 5 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon ginger

1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

If an 8x8 inch square pan or something similar, put the 4 cups of cleaned berries. Sprinkle with four to five tablespoons of sugar.

In a small bowl, cream the brown sugar and butter together.  Mix in the flour.  The mixture should be very crumbly.  If you are using gluten free flours, make sure the topping is a coarse sand texture.  Mix in the ginger and vanilla.

Sprinkle over the berries.

Put in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes. 

It smelled so good.  I was asked if it could be eaten straight out of the oven.  My comment was only if you wished to burn your mouth!  A ten minute wait was had.  I truly suggest the ten minutes because I have burnt my mouth that many times.

This is the best picture of the crisp I had.  It was gone so fast!  I really need to go forage more berries today but I am waiting to bake bread.  I have two loaves of bread to bake and a pan of cinnamon rolls.  I also have six bagels.  The foraging should wait until after that.  

I also swept up some mulberries so I will see what they do to silk.  Life is interesting but I really like this foraging thing!

Tuesday
Apr102018

mending a sheet (learned a new skill)

I got to visit with Koda Bear on Saturday!  That took all my attention.  Especially since there was time to talk and cuddle.  When he is around though, I do seem to do a lot of laundry.  I found one of my favorite sheets had holes in it!  In just one section.

The linen sheets I have are not inexpensive.  I went online and found some linen that I could purchase so I could repair the sheet.  I decided to compliment and not try to match, because the sheet has been through more then a few washings.

I ripped out the holey bit of linen.  I actually saved it.  The part away from the holes will make nice quilt squares.  The part with the holes might make something very interesting for a collabrative project I am thinking about.

I learned how to do flat felted seams for this repair.  It is not something I have tried before but I knew I did not wish the fraying from unfinished seams but I also wanted something that was smooth.  Not smooth might keep someone awake!

The most difficult thing about this whole mend was how much fabric I needed to work with.  The original sheet is about 100 inches wide and 108 inches long.  I also had to be careful not to scorch my fingers with all the ironing that went on.

I know have a non-holey sheet.  I bought extra fabric because I did not know how it would all go.  It looks like there will be more projects coming from that!  I also ordered more fabric for a sheet and pillowcases.  I would rather make my own if I can.

Thursday
Apr052018

travels with the bear

Since the last time I was in this space, I have driven from California and back.  There was Koda Bear to pick up.  We camped on the way back at Davis Mountain State Park.  It is becoming one of my favorites.  I like the quiet and the clear skies.  There is room to run and jump and climb.  I have not been there long enough to do any hiking but maybe someday? 

I could see myself hanging out there with a book under a tree.  I could hope.  Especially when dinners are made with simple ingredients over flame.  There were hamburgers and pan fries with salad for dinner.  All the hamburge was cooked into patties and we at that for days.  

I completely misjudged the traffic out of Los Angeles.  Koda Bear is just north of their and to get back to this house you have to drive through or around LA.  The wrong choice was made.  I think there is always a learning on every road trip or camping trip.  We were supposed to also camp outside of Tucson with the saguaro cactus but we did not.  Maybe next time?

When we got back to the house, there were things that needed to be done.  Meals decided upon.  Laundry.  Homework.  Playing.  Mending a shirt.  Bicycle riding.  Every moment was full.  We did not even get to go see the movie we wanted to see we were so busy!

But Koda Bear now has his own skates.  An eBay find that made him grin.  He was slow start because he had only ever used rental figure skates before.  But he was the last person off the ice.  Just like the Tall Short Person always was.  I feel like another monster was created.  I am going to need to keep coaching just so he can skate.  But I am enjoying the little bit of coaching I do.  It pays for my ice time and a little bit extra.  I find I smile a lot.

Now, I have to get back into the normal swing of things.  It will get all changed up again later this month.  More camping is planned.  Makes me smile.