Sunday, July 24, 2011


The barn swallows have fledged! This morning the nest was empty but these two stragglers were still hanging out in the barn. Daddy kept swooping in and out, no doubt saying, "You don't get breakfast unless you leave the nursery!" I was worried about the one on the right; it's smaller and has more of a baby "clown-mouth;" I'm afraid it might not survive without more parental feeding to strengthen it. Nevertheless, both were gone by the time I was done with chores and messing with sheep. I'll give them the day to "get their wings" and hopefully join the natural-pesticide crew, then let Oreo out of the (very stinky) tackroom.

Rick's mom likes to time her visits during a fruit or flower season, since what we enjoy here varies vastly from what grows in Phoenix. She has not been disappointed; Friday and today we've all been busy picking, eating and preserving cherries and raspberries.
These are Bings (back) and Rainiers (front) from very young trees Rick planted. We'll probably enjoy all these fresh.

These are Royal Anns, also good eating but used commercially for maraschinos and canning. I have a dehydrator full of them, 20 pints in the freezer already, and many more to pit and preserve! Since I already have plenty of these canned, I will dry or freeze the rest of them.

I think we've caught up with the raspberries. I don't know how many containers we've put in the freezer already, and we're eating our fill.

Before my MIL leaves, we plan to pick blueberries at a you-pick farm. Ours aren't ready yet, nor are the bushes producing much.

This morning I was also looking ahead to next year's fleece harvest. It is time that the sheep go in the "sacrifice paddock" (the horses are already in theirs) so our pastures don't get overgrazed. Since the sheep's sacrifice lot is full of trees and shrubs, I wanted to get Bonny covered so she didn't fill her valuable lamb fleece with bits of bark, moss and twigs. First I tried to pick out most of the VM she had already collected. Her fleece has beautiful length, density, luster, and color change; I was glad to finally see some wave (technically "crimp" in fleece-speak) showing up as well, which a Shetland's fleece is supposed to have and makes for a yarn with "memory" (click to biggify the fleecy goodness):
Here is Bonny in front of the "old" ewes, Bramble, Inky and Annabelle. They didn't pay her any mind, but the new ewes, Sarai and especially Marta, were very interested in Bonny's new clothes!

Tomorrow, photos of my Tour de Fleece "harvest"!

That's it for today from . . .


Voni said...

All your fruit/berries look yummy! I've been putting up sweet corn, zucchini, and some beans here.

Victoria said...

Hi Michelle

The Ranier cherries look amazing. You have no idea what we in the East pay for these at Whole Foods !

On another topic, Miss Bonnie has a fleece I am very interested in, particularly now that she is such a fashionista.


Mary Ann said...

At last, I understand the coats... but don't they get overheated in them???? It is so hot here now, I would think it would be dangerous for the poor things.
The fruit looked wonderful!

white_lilly said...

Your bountiful harvest looks amazing my mouth is watering thinking of ways to use them :)
I think your MIL is very wise :)

Michelle said...

Voni, you're WAY ahead of us on garden produce!

Victoria, WE pay through the nose for those Rainiers, too, if we get them in the store ($5.00/lb.)! That's why Rick planted a tree, since cherries grow well here. And if Bonny is still here at shearing next spring (she IS for sale), your name is on her fleece. :-)

No, Mary Ann, the sheep don't overheat in the coats. (-:

Yes, my MIL is pretty savvy....

Kelly Bartels said...

I LOVE bing cherries! and I love the fleece too, nice crimp and the color change will make a beautiful yarn.

Laura said...

The royal anns make great jam. As you pour it into the pint jars, tear up 2-ish basil leaves and mix into the jam. It's heavenly!

Sharon said...

If I had produce like that I'd have a dehydrator too. I just discovered Ranier cherries this month, through a neighbor. I took a Costco tub to my book club and they ate them up - first time they've ever eaten all of anything!