Yesterday, I temporarily deferred my equal rights ideologies and stepped back (way back) into a hunter-gatherer role, trailing along behind the man of the house, picking berries while he did the manly task!
There are so many beautiful ripe blackberries on our property, but they are so hard to get to. At the best of times, wild blackberries demand a blood sacrifice, so I am always weighing the pain-versus-gain factor. Since my last blackberry harvest, BIL sent us a picture of a timber rattle snake up under one of his blueberry bushes, edging back into some wild blackberries, so that made me even more cautious.
Then, hubby came along and cleared a strip along one of the really good blackberry patches with the bush hog, giving me much easier access — still not pain free, but easier. By following in his wake, I was able to harvest 1 1/2 quarts of beautiful, juicy blackberries which I then washed, boiled, and froze so that I can turn them into jam when we’re back in the city. As a few family members need to avoid seeds and the rest of us don’t really enjoy picking seeds out of our teeth, I’ll strain them and then press the rest of the juice out of them before adding apples and making blackberry-apple jam. I cheated last year and bought frozen blackberries for a trial batch, but that jam was good enough to make me want to harvest what nature has provided for us here.
Of course the other side of the hunter-gatherer equation is the hunter. I guess hubby was hunting undergrowth when he cleared those paths for me, but his other hunting chores yesterday involved getting rid of the critters that have been bugging me! We discovered that the yellow jackets at the gate had actually moved into the gate through a drain hole, so it’s no surprise that they became irritable when we rattled the chain against their home. They are now in an afterlife of some kind. We avoid using pesticides whenever possible, but we can’t have yellow jackets attacking guests or us at the gate. His other accomplishment led to one more restless night followed by a good night’s sleep as two field mice have now been evicted from under the kitchen sink. There’s a huge hole cut into the back of the cabinet, and we thoroughly spray-foamed that, but that didn’t stop them. There’s another hole cut in the side of the cabinet to let the drain pipe go through. We’re hesitant to put spray foam in there because we don’t want it on the back of the oven, but we’ll seal it up with aluminum foil after we’re sure there are no more mice romping around in the walls. We’re generally believers in the if-you-kill-it-eat-it philosophy, but I draw the line at making mouse and yellow-jacket casserole. (Actually, I draw the line well before that — there’s still too much suburb in me to eat possum or squirrel, although I did LOVE the dove hubby hunted last fall.)
Even though I spent much of the day taking on more-than-usual traditional female tasks, I did start the day having fun on our new Kubota tractor! I have been hesitant to bush hog on borrowed tractors, even though BIL and our neighbor have shown more confidence in my abilities than I’ve believed myself to have, but I quite quickly became comfortable on relatively flat land knowing that if I damaged something, it would be something I was paying for! I even found it easier to back the tractor up than to back my car up because I can see where I’m going so much better. However, that became tricky after a while because of my on-going neck discomfort (I can’t call it pain right now) and my bi-focals. While bi-focals are great for many things, they don’t work well for looking back over one’s shoulder or for checking bee hives. I have an eye appointment next week and will probably get a pair of long-distance glasses and a pair with which I can see bee frames. I’m not sure how I’ll juggle three different pairs of glasses — maybe the eye doctor will have a better suggestion!
Our other exciting 15 minutes yesterday was when we had to combat a waterfall running down the inside of the RV door! Hubby made adjustments to the strike plate for the door latch and that kept the rain out, but in the time that took, the torrent filled a casserole dish and soaked a bunch of towels. (I wish I had a picture to post, but we were both a little too occupied to grab a camera!) It’s times like these that make me glad I brought every old towel that we had at the house here. Sure, they take up space, but sometimes they come in handy. We started today with a trip to the laundromat and that led to reorganizing towel storage — what better time to do it than when every towel in the house has just been washed?
It’s a beautiful sunny day, the trails we cut last year are now trails again, and we can see the stakes for the house-site again. Life is good on the farm!