Saturday, July 14, 2012

Cherry Jam, the "special" kind... and special chicken(s)

I bought three bags of cherries at the grocery store because they were on sale for $1.99/lb and I can't even get U-Pick for that price.  And I don't really want to pick anything in 90 degree heat anyway,  Even if there were any cherries here to pick, which there aren't.  The birds got what the weather didn't.  Anyhow, I decided since it was going to be hot anyway, I'd just heat up the kitchen s'more and can some jam (I love sherry jam, I mean cherry jam).  I was looking for the recipe in my Ball Book and I came across one called Bing Cherry Jam, which has cinnamon, cloves, lemon juice and almond liqueur in it.  It smells LOVELY.  I'll make another batch of regular cherry jam (nothing but sugar and pectin in that) tomorrow, since there are enough cherries for that.  Then we can taste test them both.

After that, I have 10# of blueberries to deal with.  That should make one batch of regular jam, one batch of blueberry-lime jam, and a batch of syrup.  Anything left over will go on oatmeal or in yogurt or just eaten by the handful the rest of the week.

Somewhere in there I HAVE to build another box for the beehive, since they have built out all ten of their frames.  (Oops - should have dealt with that last week).  It would be freaky to have a captured swarm throw a swarm two months later.  And also bad management on my part.  So as soon as the cherry jam is done tomorrow, I'll build the box and paint it.  Then I'll put the frames together Monday, and slap it on the hive Monday or Tuesday.

Something has eaten all the lettuce in the garden, all the icicle radishes they wouldn't touch last month, and is working through the beans.   I'm thinking I'll be buying green beans at the Farmer's Market this year.  The sweet potatoes are doing well.  The regular potatoes are ready for me to throw another layer of dirt on, I need to pick some cukes, and the gourds are going gangbusters.  The lemon cukes are tasty.  There is one sport cuke - bright yellow but shaped like a normal cuke, except that it is twice the size it ought to be.  There are two golf ball sized watermelons.  The malabar spinach didn't survive the heat and I lost tomato plants (2/8)... which is annoying, since they had green maters on them.  The kohl rabi still lives, even though those nasty green caterpillars (they look like little hornworms) have skeletonized half the leaves.  I pull them off when I find them, but I think they are hiding from me now.

There are still 26 chickens.  The Pirate picked one of the roosters I WASN'T going to save as her favorite now (since she can't get the misidentified "Midget" to come close to her since returning from vacation at Grandma's and Nana's). It is the unidentified exotic chick sent with out order.  I think it's a Lakenvelder.  We'll see.   She wouldn't take my advice to hang with the hens.  So far, I've figured out that two of the Buff Rocks are roosters.  One of the black Blue Andalusians and one of the white Blue Andalusians are also.  And two of the Partridge Rocks.  And two of the Barred Rocks.  And of course the two Polish Top Hats that I ordered sexed. I don't want to keep five roosters.  I would prefer to keep three and cal that enough... so I could keep nine hens and have lots of eggs. 

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