Hebrews 4:16

Let us then come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Bees, Beans, Berries and More

Well.. I have been reminded that I have been neglecting my blog recently. I extend my most sincere apologies.. my dear friends.

Life seems to, at times, overwhelm me with more to do than I can actually accomplish in a day. Ah, so we are thankful for his grace and mercies that are new everyday.

Well..what have I been doing?

The end of June and beginning of July found us picking berries, berries and more berries. Black Raspberries that is. Yumm! Oh, and I will share a wonderful recipe for my black berry cobbler. It is delightful.. but that will wait a bit.

God has so blessed us with the priviledge of being out in the country. A great place to raise kids and a few chickens, 1 very ambitions golden retriever, a large bunny, many adopted frogs, some cats and often kittens who choose to stay, and we can't forget the bees! Quite a diverse little "farm" we have here but we are supremely blessed. Besides the passle of kids and critters we have an abundance of vegetation, both planned.. and planted and many that are volunteer. Our Black Raspberry bushes are all volunteer, along with our grapes! So, in an effort to be a good steward of all that He gave to us, we endeavored to be extremely diligent and pick with fervency. I still have scratches to show for it! :)

I believe we gathered well over 3 gallons of black raspberries this summer. I can't remember ever pulling in such a large bounty before. I decided to clean and freeze them as soon as we picked them to keep them both fresh and in one piece. The berries are so fragile that it is hard to mix them w/o completely smashing them. What will I do with them? I plan on making jam out of some of them, use them in smoothies and ofcourse.. the occasional pie and cobbler are a must. It is so good to partake of God's grace and goodness when he shares of His abundance.

Beans! Yeah!My green beans are growing profusely in my garden. I love to freeze my beans rather than can them. I am not a fan of the mushy version of this delectable green delight. ( hee-hee) :) And it takes a lot longer to can them and so much more work. My husband blessed me with a wonderful boiling pot last year that has made my life so much easier. It has a wonderful colander that sets inside and when my water is ready, I plunge the beans into the boiling liquid..... wait 3 minutes and pull them out. I have a sink full of cold water waiting and go straight from the pot to the sink. Voila! I let it sit to cool and put it in the freezer bags and I am done.

My garden is always a deligthful escape for me. It is the most effective therapy I have found so far, next to prayer. I think I am much more up to the weeding than the harvesting but I am learning something new each year with regards to putting food up or preserving the harvest.

Our onions are huge and I love being able to go down to the garden to get what I need. It is so refreshing. The beets are ready and I will can them this year. My husband says I make some of the best pickled beets he has had. I'll take his word for it though, I haven't the desire to try them. I like beets, but I haven't tried the pickled version yet.

Our turnips are ready. This is the first year I have grown turnips. I will attempt to blanche them as I did with my green beans. Again, being purposeful to be a good steward with what I have.

And my favorite crop of all.. POTATOES! I love to grow potatoes. They are so easy to grow and to harvest. By far one of the most rewarding crops. We have 3 plots this year of potatoes. My grandmother always told me to plant them on Good Friday. So.. we have aimed for that each year but have not always been able to make that possible. This year, however, we did and they are wonderful. We had about 4 or 5 volunteer plants growing in the zucchini and beet patch. I pulled them early and we had new potatoes. yumm.. So tender and delicious.

My husband came home and told me that the father of a friend used to say " Plant your potatoes on Good Friday and never let the August sun touch their leaves." I am not sure how relevant or truthful that is, but I tend to believe those who have gone before us and worked this earth often have a better advantage when it comes to wisdom and farming. We were able to plant our potatoes this year with the left over potatoes from last year. That was a great joy. It felt good to know that we were able to plant a crop from our previous year. Now we just have to find a place to store them!

Lastly, my bees! Another source of therapy for me. I have loved my bees. I will write more about my bees in another post but let's just say that these resourceful animals have taught me so much about patience and hard work, perserverance and ingenuity. This little creature is one of the most amazing aspects of God's wonderful creation that I have had the pleasure of witnessing. I was able to put another super on tonight and pray that we will have a great honey harvest this year. Yumm.. now that sounds delicious.

We are enjoying our last days of summer before school starts for us. We're busy but blessed.

Thanks for letting me share some of our fun with you.
Here's the recipe!
I have not always had the best luck with my cobblers. So I began searching for a better recipe.. one that would make a light dough, a luscious filling and the combination of the 2 together a desert that makes your mouth water. A friend who lived in Texas raved about the cobbler she had there and so I purposed to find a good Southern recipe for a cobbler. So.. I found one in my Southern Living Cookbook.


Black Raspberry Cobbler
(note: the actual recipe was for black berries by I used black raspberries instead, I think you could substitute any fruit you like)

5 cups of fresh black raspberries or 2 packages of frozen berries, thawed and drained.
1 c. sugar
3-4 Tb. flour
1 Tb. lemon juice


2 Tb. butter, melted
1 tsp. sugar

* Combine the 1st 4 ingredients; toss well. Spoon into a lightly greased 8 or 9 in. square pan. ( I used a round pan or a pie plate)
Prepare Crust, and spoon 9 mounds over berries. Brush with butter, and sprinkle with 1 tsp. sugar.
Bake, uncovered, at 425 degrees for 30 min or until brownee and bubbly. Serve warm with ice cream, if desired.
Yield:9 servings
* If you use frozen berries, increase the flour to 1/3 cup.

1 3/4 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 c. shortening ( I used butter)
1/3 c. whipping cream
1/3. c. buttermilk

Combine 1st 4 ingredients; cut in shortening( butter) witha pastry blender until mixture is crumbly. ( I used my kitchen aid with my whisk attachment.. it works slick) STir in whipping cream and buttermilk just until blended. This yields enough topping for 1 cobbler.

*Note.. I didn't have cream or buttermilk so I used my substitute for buttermilk. 1 cup of milk + 1 Tbsp. of lemon juice will give you a substitude for 1 c. of buttermilk. I used 2/3c. of my homemade buttermilk in place of the other liquids)

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