Monday, June 29

Berry Pickin'

In spending so much time outside in amongst edible plant life, I have become aware of the cycles of certain wild plants. Mainly berries. As strawberry season has ended, and sad that is, other berries come on in fullness. The mulberry trees are loaded with those almost too sweet berries. We have white mulberry trees as well as black ones on the outskirts of the fields and along the creek. Mulberries are a sweet treat, but it is queer how I never hear of them being eaten apart from a few hand fulls as one passes by a tree. As many berries as those trees produce, and for such an extended fruiting season, you would think people would be making mulberry pies, muffins, sauces, and jam. Why don't we hear of such things?

This week I spent four or five hours walking the perimeter of the various patches of woods to locate the first fruits of the black raspberry bushes. I enjoy picking black raspberries for a few reasons. Firstly, they are generally waist high. Very little bending and reaching is required when picking. Second, they aren't hard to find. They grow on the edge of forests and along fence rows or creeks. It is true that you can get all scratched up from the thorns, but oh how it is worth it. To find a thick patch of black raspberries is the ultimate prize. In my hours of wanderings I've located a few thick patches that will be a perfect place to return for round two of black raspberry pickins.

During my pilgrimage around the acreage here on the farm, I also spotted wild blackberries that will be ready for picking later this month. I mentally noted their locations and will be happy to return in a few weeks for the next onslaught of berries.

In addition to these wild berries, we are growing red raspberries on the farm. These berries will be the last ones to fruit and worth the wait. Until then, I'll be enjoying the wild fruit that are so abundant here at Victory Acres.

Sunday, June 21

shifting views

Sometimes our view of how things should go in life prove to be wrong. Here's an example of what I mean.

I saved a chicken liver from one of our freshly butchered chickens the other day to give to Jasper as a treat. I safely stored it in the fridge until I was ready to give it to him, imagining it would be the best thing he had ever laid his little puppy mouth on. As I brought it out of the house he immediately sat down expectantly awaiting the treat. Eagerly, he snatched it from my hand, paused, and then proceeded to drop it to the ground, turn tail and walk away, uninterested.

I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. I tried one more time to give him the tasty morsel, that any other dog would find heavenly, and this time he wouldn't even sniff it. What? This is the dog that eats literally anything.

I mean, his morning routine when we walk down the hill in the morning, is to chase Annabelle to the top of her house so he can steal the alfalfa pellets, and field corn. To which he slowly and deliberately picks kernel by crunchy kernel off of the cob. He is the one that follows all of us through the fields waiting for a handout of snap peas, turnips, or asparagus. He is also the one that I've found gorging himself in the chicken house on ground corn. So I was shocked that he was being choosy about anything edible. And especially meat. Canines are carnivores. Or am I mistaken?

A few minutes later I was sorting through some strawberries, pulling the rotten ones out of the good ones and tossed one to the dog, to see if he would eat it. He snapped up each berry I tossed. One after the other.

Slightly confusing. He turns his nose from meat, but scarfs anything vegetable or fruit. Am I raising a vegetarian dog? A vegetable farm might not be the perfect environment for a vegetable eating dog. Of course, that is from a farmer's perspective. If I am Jasper, I'm thankful for being dropped on this lush piece of earth.

Monday, June 1

Cartoon Trivia

Did you know that the Disney movie Dumbo was made in the 1940s?

I'm not much of a cartoon fan. I never really have been, even as a wee little tyke. Sometimes it is all I can do to sit through a 30 minute cartoon show, let alone a cartoon movie. It might have started with my parents taking me to my first cartoon movies, The Fox and the Hound, and 101 Dalmatians. Both of which had very scary scenes in them for an under 4 year old. I mean, Cruella Da Ville. She is one scary beast. Even now, after all these years...yikes. And that big ole black bear in the Fox and the Hound. I can't remember if it was me or Emily who was screaming bloody murder in the theater during that scene, but it made an impression on me, none the less.

Some members of my family love cartoons. Have always loved cartoons past and present.

Last week I watched two old Disney Cartoon Movies with Lana and Kyle. Lana finds these old gems in the Taylor library and will bring them home occasionally for a little walk down memory lane.

Robin Hood - circa 1971
The Jungle Book - circa 1962

Some things I learned: Interestingly, the voice of Baloo the Bear in the Jungle Book is the same guy who plays Little John's voice in Robin Hood. Both bears, so I guess that is not too surprising. Though the snake voices in both movies, Caa and Hiss are not the same person. Go figure.

The funny thing about old cartoons is that they are musicals. Catchy little tunes, that run through your head days later. "Bear Necessities", anyone? I hadn't seen The Jungle Book since I was probably six years old and I still could sing a good bit of the "Bear Necessities" song. Weird.

Though cartoons aren't my thing. I am entirely impressed with that form of art.