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When Life Gives You Blackberries

February 3, 2013
One crust pie - gluten lite

One crust pie – gluten lite

You curse, lick your wounds and then fill the freezer with the buggers.  Then when winter rolls around and your wounds have healed, you make pie.  Or cobbler or whatever.  We are not big blackberry fans around here.  I hate to reveal my age and say I remember when we didn’t have any Himalayan blackberries invading our farmstead.  But alas, they are here now, and I spent the sunny afternoon yesterday tying up my raspberries and “stimulating” the blackberries that pop up any place that you have a perennial or permanent fence.   It’s a love/hate relationship that is much more stormy than my relationship with quack grass, at least I understand what makes quack grass tick.

We are getting a great stretch of warm weather so my to-do list has been reworked a bit.  Things I hope to get done before the rains arrive next week:

♥  Move chickens to new quarters.  Russell Crow was quite perturbed with the indignity he suffered being caught and carried to the new address.

♥  Cut apple scion wood, heel in or refrigerate.

♥  Take cuttings of green Concord grape and Anna kiwi.

♥  Stick grape and kiwi cuttings.

♥  Plant mangel steckels and parsnip roots for seed stock.

♥  Weed greenhouse edges.

♥  Work raspberries – remove dead canes (and blackberries) tie up canes for new crop.

♥  Chit some potatoes for an early crop in the greenhouse.  We are still smarting from our meager crop last year.

That’s what is going on in my garden these first sunny February days.  What is happening in your garden?

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. February 3, 2013 4:20 am

    Ah yes, I should be out tying-up Raspberries and tidying their bed… Adds to list of ‘to dos’.

    Having lots of it, I have a love-hate relationship with couch or quack grass. We do battle all the time but still I have a soft spot for it – it’s amazing where those rhizomes travel. And if all else fails I console myself the thought that it has medicinal properties.

  2. February 3, 2013 4:33 am

    My garden is sleeping under a foot of snow. I don’t even know what some of the stuff on your list is:

    Cut apple scion wood, heel in or refrigerate??

    Russell Crow, lol. It does crack me up how bruised animal dignity can get…..

    • February 3, 2013 6:14 am

      AMF, that rooster is so funny, I think the dogs staring at him and escorting him did the most damage. They love to look but they know not to touch! He was crowing first thing, and the hens didn’t miss a beat, new digs are thoroughly inspected and approved.

      Scion wood for grafting – heeling in means in the dirt in a shady spot or if that isn’t cold enough, I will refrigerate them instead. Either way the scion wood needs to stay dormant until the trees push. When the leaves are the size of mouse ears you graft.
      Here’s an old post with photos:

      http://simple-green-frugal-co-op.blogspot.com.au/2009/01/grafting-fruit-trees.html

  3. February 3, 2013 7:10 am

    Although the blackberry vines are indeed a negative feature in our pastures, I do love picking the berries in late May and placing them in the freezer for wintertime cobblers. Is that making lemonade out of lemons or what? LOL The weather in NE Texas is beginning to warm enough for me to turn my thoughts to tilling the raised beds and preparing to plant later in the year. I will be planting my seeds indoors in the next week or so. Can’t wait for spring!

  4. Bev permalink
    February 3, 2013 7:57 am

    It’s about 20 degrees each a.m., with sunny days. Thinking of spring, sigh. Many years back we were blessed to have an older neighbor who knew so much about the art of grafting. We didn’t want or need a bigger orchard but loved the idea of trying different apples. We loved the older varieties and they were also coming out with so many new ones. Your cobbler looks so good. We are fruit lovers. I have to say that the apple rates at the top. As the days get longer our daily list is expanding, too.

    I thought you had not been posting. I am glad I decided to scroll down.

  5. Diana Smith permalink
    February 3, 2013 8:30 am

    I always wonder at friends who hate winter and cold weather. I like to bundle up and go out and play on bright sunny winter days. Still chores to do and now I have the time…not so much when we start the greenhouse up. So we’ve been pruning in the orchard, grapevines and pulling out weeds in the berry patches. Actually a good time to clean chicken houses…not so smelly a job!!

    Would love if you did a post of the varieities you are gonna grow this year…or the best of last year. We spread our buying around many different companies as no one sells all our favorites….but all do tempt with new varieities!!!

  6. Raspberry Joy Farm permalink
    February 3, 2013 8:39 am

    In Michigan I am just dreaming about what seeds to start—-going to do brussells sprouts for sure. I will start them in March. I checked my new plum, cherry and peach trees I planted last summer. The buds look really healthy. I’m glad, we had a drought here and I didn’t know if I watered them enough. I am in zone 4-5.

  7. February 3, 2013 8:55 am

    Our job today was to walk around the land, through the forest. I had my snowshoes on and Ian had what we call his nuclear wellies (very, very warm rubber boots), but it does give you an idea that we won’t be gardening for a while yet. Another month and we may start some cold tolerant things off in the greenhouse, but nothing yet for another month. :) There are some benefits to living in colder climes

  8. February 3, 2013 9:49 am

    I always end up hacking at blackberries this time of year – my archnemesis too – but I know I’m not doing myself any favours – it just encourages them to spring up stronger then ever. It’s just that they’re so much easier to do this time of year, it’s so tempting. If I could limit my hacking to a small area and then clear the roots from that area, well then, I’d be on the right track, but hacking is more fun (relatively speaking), and I nearly always hack off more than I can pick axe out. And yes indeed, roosters have a lot of dignity which seems to ruffle very easily.

  9. February 3, 2013 11:52 am

    The Himalayans are out of control here too, but that’s one of the reasons we have goats. ;) They gobble down brambles and Scotch broom like nobody’s business!

  10. February 3, 2013 5:28 pm

    Your pie looks gorgeous! I’m insanely jealous :)
    We’re fortunate to have found a 1/2 acre of former garden-land that we intend to return to it’s roots–so many possibilities! I’m actually a bit overwhelmed with feeling like I have to ‘get it right’ from the start–where to put the raspberries? the blueberries? the fruit trees? the asparagus patch?!! I have about a month or two here in Massachusetts before I need to have it all figured out. Time to get busy!

  11. February 3, 2013 7:53 pm

    I’m with Lorna on the gorgeousness of your one-low-gluten-crust pie…. are you open to sharing your recipe?!?

    • February 3, 2013 8:23 pm

      Kathyrn, I would if there was a recipe! I pretty much cook by the seat of my pants :0 I do use tapioca starch for thickening though and half the juice after the berries are thawed so it doesn’t boil over too much.

  12. February 13, 2013 3:41 pm

    Here in Maine, there is little to do but ready up the seed starting area. There are 2 pigs wintering over in the garden area and they had to have us make paths for them to get through the last dumping of snow. It sure gives us time to get the indoor stuff, like soap making, done. I do agree the pie looks delish and blackberries are my favorite. I can barely stand it when my goats, spoiled as they are, stick their heads through and eat the brambles. Blackberries are not a problem here.

  13. rockytopfarm permalink
    March 16, 2013 8:27 pm

    do you share your cobbler recipe? would love to have it! looks so yummy!

    • March 18, 2013 5:37 am

      RockyTop, hmmm, lets see…I’m a terrible recipe follower. Two quart bags of thawed berries, drain juice, pour drained berries in baking dish, add sugar to taste (1/2 to 1 cup), combine one cup of reserved berry juice with 2 Tablespoons tapioca flour or other thickener, pour over berries top with crust. I make pie crust for my cobblers, but anything you like would be fine. Bake about 1 hour – 15 minutes at 400 degrees, 45 at 350 degrees.

      • rockytopfarm permalink
        March 18, 2013 10:04 pm

        thank you!!! :) your cobbler looked like what my mom used to make and she passed when i was 7. i have tried many times to figure out her recipe. i will for sure give this one a try!!

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