Sunday, June 22, 2008

Standing At the Crossroads

For a long time, we've prayed about leaving this home for a new one. We've been searching for more than 10 years for the "right" home that has never come along. We have made offers, but for one reason or another, they fell through. I guess that it wasn't the right time, and looking back now, I see that it all leads up to we weren't meant to stay here in this area.

With the cost of living going up, we really can't think of sustaining ourselves on this small piece of property. We can raise chickens and a garden, but can't supply the chickens with food or raise enough for for ourselves. Being in a northern climate, we can't supply ourselves with heat. We still need to purchase so many things. We are at the mercy of Corporate America, no matter how hard we try. This place has been a good place to learn from and make mistakes, but it is now time to move on.

We are hunting for some wooded land with an existing home. We don't want to be part of the break-up of land and building a new home. If we did that, it would be easier, as we could find the land quite quickly. Now, just to match a job, an affordable place and what we need up all in one area.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Alien Strawberries

Well, the berries didn't do anything overnight. There was no juice leakage - nothing!! They still are the consistency of leather, so I decided to make strawberry rhubarb jam out of those we didn't freeze. The jam turned out nicely, but thick because of the lack of juice. I've decided to mix the strawberries with other fruits to make jams and other things out of, to hide the lack of taste and juiciness of these pathetic berries. Sigh... I feel like I wasted a lot of time and money with these. There's no good homemade flavor to the strawberry jam - heck it rivals the store stuff. The Strawberry Rhubarb Jam at least has a nice rhubarb flavor to it, so all is not lost, and we really stretched the rhubarb as well.

I hope to find another place with better berries before the season ends.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Strawberry Picking Time!

It has been so very hot and humid here over the last few days, that it was difficult to want to get up this morning and go out to pick strawberries. We decided to leave here at 5:30am to beat the heat. We traveled over 30 miles to get to the berry farm, and we were so looking forward to getting done quickly and back home.

It took us over 2 hours for the three of us to pick 24 quarts of strawberries!! They were already well picked over, and those that were nice and ripe were bug eaten. With three of us picking, it should have been no time to get out of there. When we got home, I started to make jam, but found the berries were unusually hard and not juicy at all. They didn't have the flavor and even after sitting, we ended up with no juice spots. I cut up some berries for tonight's dessert - strawberry shortcake. I sprinkled the berries with sugar to draw the juice and they sat all afternoon. When we pulled them out for dessert, there was NO JUICE!! What is wrong with these berries?!! I've picked and put up berries for years and have never seen anything like these things.

I'll be letting the rest sit until tomorrow. Hopefully they will ripen more and get a bit softer. Right now, they have the feeling of a store bought peach - just plain hard!