"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

"Gather ye rose-buds while ye may." Robert Herrick

Hello Friends!

Friends, Romans, countrymen...y'all. Foodies, gardeners, artists and collectors - let's gather together to share and possibly learn a thing or two in the mix.

Donna Baker

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Where The Wild Things Grow




With the unbelievable weather we've had this year so far, about the only things we are going to harvest are the wild things.  Wild flowers, fruits...  I picked these wild plums from an old grouping of trees that haven't produced a crop in nearly 3 years.  I had nearly given up on them, thinking the trees too old and that they had stopped producing.

I've been watching them since spring and find the deer under them daily as they love to eat the plums.  They are finally ripening and I picked nearly two gallons this morning.  It was cool and windy.  Such a treat after weeks of having to stay inside most of the day.  I can't do 100 degrees.

I'll make juice of these for jelly and our 5 month old grandbabe Penny Lane.  It really makes me wonder about the old saying feast or famine.  Can you imagine how the farmers had to depend on the weather and whatever, to feed their family throughout the year?  The wild blackberries did just so so this year as did the mulberries.  The indians that used to live around here were nomadic and roamed the plains; would set up new camps, perhaps following the food sources?

There will be plenty more of these.  I'll let you know if I am covered in chiggers tomorrow.  

27 comments:

  1. I can just imagine how tasty that juice and jelly is going to taste, lucky little girl Penny Lane, *smiling at her name *.
    Chiggers are terrible, I try my best to avoid them, since I would self-mutilate with endless scratching.
    Cooler here too...isn't it grand !
    ~Jo

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    1. Yes Jo. I'll take anything we can get. I still think her name is precious and have downloaded her song to my itunes. Just need to learn to play it on my ukulele for her. They do have a wonderful flavor. Perhaps I'll even make an English 'jelly' with it. I have never tried one. Have always used a box. I will make some jam or jarred jelly too. I've never seen a chigger, but have gotten into them twice this month and don't know where. Usually in tall grass, but I was riding in the Ranger so they'd have to be pretty fast to catch up to me.

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  2. You made me recall all the fruits we used to pick from the fields around us. We lived in the city, but there was so much vacant old farm land that still yielded fruits "gone wild."
    The thought of chiggers gives me the willies. My dad was a chigger magnet when we used to camp in the south. Every vacation seemed to involved finding gentian violet in a drugstore somewhere.

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    1. I just wish I could see one. They must be very tiny. And, why do they always go for the bra and pantie lines?

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  3. Dear Donna- those wild plums sound wonderful. Isn't it strange what grows under less than perfect conditions. So glad you at least saw an abundance of these plums. Think I will stop down to sample them! Hugs

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    1. They are a little less sweet or more acidic than the store ones, but still good. Come on down.

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  4. Oh yes Donna - most people never give a thought to how lucky we are to have food at the end of a walk to the shops or the telephone. Any wild food (that bucket looks delicious by the way) is just a little bonus. As you say, it wasn't always so.

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    1. I just hope there is never some calamity as I don't think the younger generations will have a clue how to feed themselves. They are in the sink now draining from a good washing and will go into the pot soon.

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  5. Magnificent! What a treasure---I can just smell that juice simmering, and see the rosy rivulets streaming out the holes in the Chinois.

    I dreamt just last night of the tee-ninecy golden plums, each about the size of the last joint of Mammaw's thumb, which we used to seek out in a "secret place" way out in the woods from the little town she lived in. We'd get bonnets and buckets and long-sleeved shirts, for these little fellows required squeezing past thorny thickets like Sleeping Beauty's castle.

    It took quite a while to pick a bucketful, but they, of all the bounty of the garden and field and wild by-ways, were the prize. The juice and jelly were absolutely clear and golden as May wine, somehow with the punch of a whole plum packed into that tiny fruit. The jelly was always canned off into the prettiest little jewelly jars, really small ones saved from year to year, for if the occasion ever DID call for parting with one to someone special, it was but a cupful of the hard-won, valuable stuff.

    I love scouting the woods for good things, even if it's just the sighting of a pretty bird. Something you can also bring home in pockets or a bucket is just lagniappe.

    r

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    1. Never did see those before, but you are right. Your grandmother must have strained them multiple times to get it clear. I'm juicing them today.

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  6. They are absolutely gorgeous..You should paint them!:)

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    1. I should do some little tags like you do to go on the jars Monique. Good idea.

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  7. WOW, what a harvest Donna …… you can't beat gathering your own food can you ?
    ….. and, I have a rose called Penny Lane. Look out for it ….. I think that you need one in your garden !!!!! XXXX

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    1. Oh Jacqueline, how I'd love to see that. Is it one by a famous rose company. Can't think of his last name. David Austen perhaps?

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  8. It is hard to imagine living off the land....being absolutely dependent on it. We take grocery stores for granted.

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  9. You ask whether the farmers insure their crops Donna. The answer is that I really don't know. We live in a totally grass and upland area where there is little or no corn - but in the South, where it is often mainly arable and there are fields of wheat then that may well be so.

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    1. Thank you. I just wondered if it is an American thing or not. Insurance is crazy in America and for everything. Very expensive.

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  10. Donna, what a joyeous picture you've shown us! The colorful bucket filled with ripe wild plums is a visual treat. I completely agree with an earlier comment that you might enjoy drawing or painting some of this bounty.

    Chiggers. You bring back an itchy memory of childhood Virginia summers. You are right about their invisible characteristic and habit of searching out particularly annoying locations for their nibbling.

    It must have been such a relief to finally have some cooler weather.

    At the farmers market this morning, I was surrounded by abundant varieties of perfectly ripe produce. I was amused by some young children (possibly from some school or day camp) being taught to recognize such exotica as ... potatoes.

    xo

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    1. Frances, that is funny. The things you can grow in a pot now are amazing. Even in bags. I hope some of the children get to try to begin a new generation of gardeners. I grew pumpkins in a baby swimming pool we used once for baby goslings. Here at the farm, I am fighting tomato hornworms and the top of my white peach tree broke down last night in the rain. I and my weenies just had to chase the deer away from the feast. We mustn't tell the new gardeners though as they would give up before they started.

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    2. Oh my. Definitely fledgling gardeners should be able to have a calm growing season before overnight falling trees and hungry deer are introduced into the plot. Weak pun. xo

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  11. What a gorgeous harvest. Does make you wonder about how folks survived in the old days. Lots of dried fruits, canning and the like to last through the long winter.

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    1. Well, there you are Amanda. In the post before this I was mentioning you in the comments section. We talked about that very thing. Feast or famine must have been a yearly struggle for the farming culture. Good to hear from you.

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  12. I love the thoughts of growing my own food - have tried several times but my thumb seems to be black! Gorgeous images

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    1. There are so many factors involved it is overwhelming to most. Enough sun is the main factor in vegetables (at least six hours a day of full sun) and of course watering and good, friable soil. Start with one thing. It really is a hit or miss thing. Thanks for stopping by.

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  13. I love that name.....Penny Lane is offered by David Austin, it is a lovely old rose type climber with dense foliage and honey-champagne color roses.

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    1. Doc, thank you so very much. I definitely will order one for myself and one for my son. I hope I can baby it along as I can't seem to keep roses alive. I have blackspot where I live and spray and mulch etc. but they always die. I might have more luck with a climber. Can't wait. I have to learn Penny Lane on my ukulele for baby girl.

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  14. How marvelous..I love wild things..

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