family

Jam – my first experience making it

Mom and dad have some grape vines growing along their driveway on a fence that separates a part of the parking area from their neighbor’s yard. It was a spur of the minute location as the grapes needed to go SOMEWHERE during a backyard makeover. Those poor grape vines have been moved multiple times. One final move will be out here to the farm.

The good news is that the vines have survived their many moves, and this year, they actually seemed to like their temporary location. How so? Well, for the first time in MANY years there was a harvest.

So now what? Well, I was able to sell a few of these organically grown grapes at the Blacksburg market. The rest went towards jam.

Organic grape jam

Organic grape jam

Thanks to mom and Marge who helped with the process Sunday. The recipe came from the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and involved separating the pulp from the skins (where the color eventually comes from), separating the seeds from the pulp (which was a pale green color), a little boiling and reduction, some recombining of pulp and skins with lemon juice and sugar, a little more boiling then canning. The result? A stunningly gorgeous concord grape jam which gelled nicely and has substance (i.e. I like having the skins added back to the pulp).

Taste testing

Taste testing

Who knew that grape jam (or a PB&J) could be so good? Now I wish we had more grapes to harvest…three pints just doesn’t seem like enough!

Have you ever made jam? What’s your favorite flavor?

Future fruits for us are pears and persimmons (October for both). Have any ideas what to do with these guys?

Harvest meal – the way to celebrate a birthday!

We enjoyed a family meal today to celebrate a special birthday and a bountiful harvest. Thanks to our super-fantastic intern who stopped by and helped make green tomato salsa (recipe will be in a separate post)

IMG_2015.JPG and picked wild blackberries for this crisp

IMG_2013.JPG to go with the fresh peach crisp. Awesome and thanks, Mags.

We also enjoyed this

IMG_2017.JPG our first Ambrosia corn harvest along with stuffed peppers

IMG_2012.JPG – stuffed with onions, basil, garlic, cream cheese and cheddar cheese. The Hungarian hot wax were unbearably hot. The jalapeño and Feherozon were good! All of these goods were a complement to spareribs and sauerkraut salad mom brought and the main act of smoked wild-caught salmon (from Annie Kay’s)

IMG_2016.JPG YUM!

IMG_2018.JPG IMG_2019.JPG

IMG_2020.JPG Exactly, Franklin!

A day of rest…

Some times you need one. Sunday was it for us at PTHF.

The morning started off with a light rain…which is EXCELLENT for the crops as it was much needed…but it isn’t so good for direct seeding (i.e. cannot or really should not work wet soil as it destroys its structure to do so).

So…the Wonder Dogs and I took two walks around the pasture. On the first walk, I photographed some wildflowers and such (see previous post) and found this manna from heaven…

Berries

Berries

I have no idea what kind of berries these are…not blackberries as those are just forming and are all green. May be a wild black raspberry? It is along the road frontage fence, hidden amidst honeysuckle and my favorite…poison ivy. Of course, I ate some. They are crazy sweet. So, on our second walk, I came back with a bucket.

026

Wild berries

027

Pickings

Ok, so not an abundance, but this bounty was from the first stop. After noticing the first hidden bush, I started looking for others….and I found some.

Why? Well, when you have a quiet day, I don’t know what you do, but we eat. Here’s what was going on in the meantime…

Apple wood smoked salmon

Apple wood smoked salmon

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa. I could have more of this beauty on any given Sunday. It went well with our friends and family that supped with us later…and all of the delicious sides (most containing freshly harvested wares from the garden, including wild berries….and we are all still upright).

A vibrant plate of deliciousness

A vibrant plate of deliciousness

I love a day of rest!!!!

So do these guys…

 

The Happiest of Holidays

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Sorry for the long silence. There has been a brief vacation from….well, all things. Our family had a relaxing, restful and enjoyable break at our second favorite location – Oak Island, NC. This vacation was our first full family vacation in…hmmm…I don’t know how many years. It was a first beach visit for the Wonder Dogs – who became instant beach fanatics and for Marge to this beautiful area.

The weather just got nicer and nicer each day. We ate. And we ate pretty well (including some fresh harvest from the farm). We turned off electronics, the TV. We read books. We walked the beach. We flew a kite. We ate some more. We walked a lot more. And….having nearly the entire OKI beaches (yes, plural) to ourselves, we found treasures galore.

Here’s to hoping we truly make this an annual holiday tradition! It is a highly recommended way to enjoy the coming of winter.

Likewise, we certainly hope that all of you were able to enjoy the season, too, with family, friends and good eats.

The PTHF family and friends wish everyone the best in this coming new year! Speaking of which…time to get planning. But for now….it is fun to share a few photos:

OKI Sunset

OKI Sunset

Beach Bum Ben

Beach Bum Ben

Flying nun Franklin

Flying nun Franklin

Back porch view

Back porch view

The Family

The Family

Moonset

Moonset

Frisbee Fanatic Jett

Frisbee Fanatic Jett

Photo documentarian

Photo documentarian

One of many treasures

One of many treasures

A dollar

A dollar

(Back to the ocean with you!)

The blur that was Flojo

The blur that was Flojo

FloJo might be the one Wonder Dog who had the bestest time at the beach. She ran about 37 marathons in those few days….a constant blur of motion and endless vocal reserves with her yapping (she yaps non-stop when happy or excited, so it was a good thing we had The Point all to ourselves)….that little booger ran and ran, retraced her steps, retraced the other dogs’ steps, sniffed out our steps, and ran some more! Wow. What a happy little thing.

Rest time

Rest time

At the same time, the Wonder Dogs all knew how to relax, too.

Another treasure

Another treasure

Back to the ocean with you!

Hermit

Hermit

The smallest crab

The smallest crab

Last day relaxation

Last day relaxation