First Week of August Around the Farmhouse

first artichokes 2.jpgThe first two artichokes!  They are so gorgeous.  I haven’t eaten them yet.  I plan to cook them today because I’m leaving for New York tonight. I’m so not freaking out.

mo or curly sue 2.jpgIs this Curly-Sue or Mo?  They grew up to be the same size so I can’t tell!  The flock integration has worked out well.  There are enough of the young ones to huddle together for safety when Dot charges them.  Yes, Dot wants dominion.  Actually all of the older hens rush at the young ones but there has been no substantial bullying, no eyes have been pecked out, and the little ones are getting bigger every day so that soon I think there will be less rushing at them and a true pecking order will be established.

I love the way the Speckled Sussex hens look!  So pretty!

the pullet gang 2.jpgIt has been such a pleasure to see all the hens running around in the garden.  They’ve been plucking at the low growing blackberries.  That’s fine with me.  It will make their eggs richer and better.  But they probably won’t taste like blackberries.

most beautiful fruit 2.jpg

Here they are.  The fruit of my laziness.  I have been letting some brambles get out of control in the past two years and my reward are these plump, finely perfumed, sweet (though I like them with just a hint of sour still in them), summer berries.  I believe that blackberries are my all time favorite fruit.  They remind me of everything wild and scrappy.  They have been, for many years, the only thing I love about summer.*  In Oregon there are so many of them growing wild by the roadsides that when the heat rises the air smells like ripe blackberries.  It’s a heady experience to go whizzing down a country (or town, or city, or freeway…) road on my scooter and pass through a great cloud of warm rich blackberry scent.  It is the essence of summer.

It’s true that they are the scourge of the cultivated garden.  There are a few varieties that are fairly tame but I tend to doubt those ones taste as good as the ones that misbehave and sprawl all over the place like a bad boyfriend.  I can’t say if this is true elsewhere but here in Oregon if you have a blackberry popping up in your yard, or you see them by the roadside, they are most likely not truly wild blackberries but a variety first created by Luther Burbank called “Himalaya” which was so successful that it has taken over this whole state. 

I learned that fact from the Master Gardening program I took a few years ago.  I haven’t done any research to verify if it’s true but I like to think I have a little piece of Burbank in my garden that just arrived randomly to bring me these amazing free fruits.  I also happen to have a Santa Rosa plum tree, another of his finer works.

My house is in a state of mad chaos.  I’ve been working hard at my job, and doing my Kung Fu, and shopping the farmer’s market, cooking, and generally ignoring everything else.  I had meant to get the house really cleaned up before my departure but we’ve all been down with gastroenteritis this week so not much got done but what absolutely had to.  So I’m packing up and printing some Stitch and Boots business cards because I’m heading off the the Blogher convention.

When I return home I hope to get my house in better shape and to share several posts here that I’ve been sitting on while finishing the details (cooking times, photographing, etc.).  In the meantime I hope you are all stopping to smell the brambles in the air and taking the time to enjoy the amazing produce of summer!

*This is patently untrue as I have been known to say the same thing about home grown tomatoes.

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3 thoughts on “First Week of August Around the Farmhouse

  1. Lonnie G.

    Your pictures are fantastic! I enjoy artichokes, too. Last year I bought two young plants and transplanted them into my garden. This year we had several dozen ‘chokes. Oh, so good! I’m letting a few mature in hopes of gathering seeds to grow. Blackberries are my all-time favorite and yours look delicious. You are still on my list when the fresh citrus is ready to ship early next year – if that’s okay. The crop looks good. Enjoy New York!

  2. Angelina

    Aimee- You’re only 3 hours away!! Come on down!!
    Lonnie- I have to say that your boxes of citrus were the high point of my winter and I enjoyed every last bit of your generosity! So delicious. Since I buy so little citrus it was a real treat. I never thought of saving the seeds from artichokes- I hope you’ll tell me how it goes when you plant them. I’ve got a few more out there I need to pick and eat this week. I’m sure my harvest would be greater if I was actually watering them.

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