Rebecca Rosa

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since Sep 12, 2016
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forest garden foraging food preservation fiber arts medical herbs seed writing
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Stewarding a biodiverse family farmstead in the mid Willamette Valley, Oregon
Passionate about forest gardening, livestock large and small, native pollinator support, natural medicine, wild foraged foods and medicines, year-round-gardening, perennial plants, plant breeding, writing, art, and low-impact solutions.
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Western Oregon (Willamette Valley), 8b
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Recent posts by Rebecca Rosa

Anne Miller wrote:I usually make Blackberry Cobbler:

I also like to eat blackberries right off the vine.

I also make a infusion so the blackberries provide something that last a long time, years even.

That cobbler sounds so yummy! I do love to make crisps too.

I'm not experienced with infusing high water-content ingredients like berries. Is there a certain type of infusion you'd recommend trying out?

Dan Fish wrote:Mine is pretty simple:

5 blackberries, any size.

Insert in mouth!

I love blackberries, thanks for starting this thread.

They are better by the handful, aren't they? You're welcome, I confess to being selfishly motivated for some good recipes to try!

John Weiland wrote:Loved the abundance of those dark berries when we lived in the Willamette Valley!  Never tried the linked recipe when we lived there, but for our red raspberries and the current hot weather, it has a special place in the freezer compartment:  

Blackberry Sorbet --

[Note: We are fine with the larger ice crystals and put up with the excessive amount of sugar for the sake of the sorbet texture.]

Thank you, this sounds delicious. It is a lot of sugar, but a treat is a treat and moderation is key :) No dairy is a plus for us!
1 month ago
Ah, I was lucky to have this as my childhood! We lived on a road with about a dozen houses surrounded by woods. Kids need free-play time outside, adults too, it is good for the soul. Here are a few things off the top of my head I remember doing:

Collecting speckled oak galls or "poppers" and popping them. We'd also hoard them in holes outside during recess at school, and called them fairy money. Acorns too.

Digging up clay and making things from it, just lots of digging projects.

Collecting pretty and interesting rocks.

Floating the creek, wading and swimming.

Skipping rocks on water.

Seeing which thing will float the furthest or fastest.

Making "potions" out of leaves, water, mud.

Making tunnels and rooms in tall grass.

Stick wars. Making swords and bows and stuff from things we could find.

Looking for snakes, grasshoppers, caterpillars etc.

Balancing and walking along logs, embankments, rocks. Seeing if we could ride our bikes along those same things.

Making little houses and towns out of rocks, sticks, and leaves for the "tiny people".

Playing hide-and-seek and better yet, sardines.

Coming up with elaborate and dramatic stories and plots to accompany our games.
We also had "the creature" which was supposedly a white coyote or dog/coyote hybrid we all pretended to have seen. Like our own local cyptid.
1 month ago
I'm curious, what are some of your favorite recipes featuring blackberries?

This invasive menace  prized edible  seasonal community feature (however you want to look at this plant) is widespread and abundant, and coming into season now here. What are some of the best ways to make use of, and preserve them?

We love to pick them by the box full and then I cook them down to make juice, and then can jelly with them. I'm thinking about making syrup or blackberry vinegar as well this year.

This blackberry jelly recipe I use is for sure-jell low-sugar pectin.
Supplies needed: Dry measuring cup, liquid measuring cup, large saucepan, ladle, cotton towels, linen or cheesecloth jelly bag, 1 large bowl 1 small bowl, jars, lids and ring seals, canning rack and canner.
- Wash and sterilize jars by simmering for 10 minutes while you cook your berries. Cover sterilized jars with clean towel or leave filled with hot water until you are ready to use them.
- Crush berries, place in large saucepan. Add 1 c water and stir. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Place damp linen bag or 3 layers of damp cheesecloth or jelly bag in large bowl. Pour prepared fruit into cheesecloth. Tie or secure and let hang to drip into bowl until dripping stops. Press gently.
- Measure 4 1/2 c juice into 6- or 8-quart stockpot. If necessary add up to 1c water to get up to the required amount of juice (I use a large stockpot and double this amount. 2L+1c of juice makes two batches at once in my 8 quart stockpot, and then I can can them all at once in a full water bath canner. That much juice might boil over a 6 quart pot though?)
- Measure 3 cups of sugar into a bowl, then remove 1/4 c of that sugar to a separate bowl and whisk together with 1 packet low sugar pectin. Set all aside.
- Stir 1/4 tsp vanilla extract and lemon juice to taste into the blackberry juice. Stir in the small bowl of combined sugar and pectin, and add 1/2 tsp. butter or margarine to reduce foaming, if desired.
- Bring mixture to a full rolling boil.
- Stir in large remaining bowl of sugar. Return to a full rolling boil and boil exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Use a metal or wooden slatted spoon to skim off any foam.
- Ladle immediately into prepared jars, filling to within 1/4 inch of tops. Wipe jar rims and threads. Cover with two-piece lids, screw bands finger-tight.
- Place jars on elevated rack in canner. Lower rack into canner. Water must cover jars by at least 1 inch. Add boiling water, if needed. Cover; boil gently for 5 min. for jellies. or 10 min. for jams, adjusting for altitude. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely. After jars cool completely, check seals by pressing centers of lids with finger, moving any that spring back to the refrigerator.
-Let prepared jars stand at room temperature for 24 hrs. Store unopened jams and jellies in cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year. Refrigerate opened jams and jellies for 1-2 months.

Blackberry season is short for us, but very sweet - how do you use or preserve these little gems?
1 month ago
I gave this no sugar refrigerator pickle recipe a try, using our first small harvest of asian and pickling cucumbers plus dill and a sweet green pepper from the garden. I also scored some nice jars at our community sale so no more metal lid. Now I just have to resist them for a few days before I can try them.

A few years ago we were given as many pickling cucumbers as we could use, so we canned batches of spicy dill pickles with garlic and chile peppers. But with only a few on hand, doing them this way is much easier :) I just hope they taste as good.

Sugar may be a matter of taste, personally its nice with radishes or onions, though I prefer my cucumber pickles to be as spicy and dilly as possible. But I agree you can easily leave it out if you're trying to avoid it, Joylynn!

1 month ago
I've been making my own version of a golden tea in the evenings with ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, lemon juice, honey or molasses, and a tiny dash of black pepper. We've been using turmeric to great effect to help ease my husband's symptoms from Chrohn's disease, we use it also in cooking but about 1/4 to 1/3 tsp in his tea seems to be a good minimum daily dose for now. I use roughly equal proportions of turmeric, cinnamon and ginger, and everything else is to taste. This tea has a bright & warming flavor.

If the weather is too warm to want hot tea, I will leave out the lemon, steep all the rest in a small bit of hot water in the bottom of a pint jar and then add ice, cold water and a bit of cream or plant-milk, close and shake for an "iced chai" version. Be warned, the lemon and the cream do not play nicely together, as the cream will curdle from the acid, so its best to leave out the lemon juice if you add milk or cream. With that change, this version has a less bright flavor, but it is very comforting and delicious. If you like iced coffees or chai lattes you would probably enjoy it a lot.
1 month ago
This does look like a prolapsed vent, which usually happens after the hen lays an egg and their oviduct does not retract again, and can prolapse further instead. There are a few factors in causing this, like laying stress, obesity or low calcium, but no hard and fast rule to prevent the issue in laying hens. I don't think its anything to do with soaking in the pot, except that was your opportunity to notice. And it helps to clean and soak the tissue to help it go back in, as well.

If it were me I would monitor the hen closely for any complications, checking to make sure the tissue remains un-prolapsed, and consider probably isolating her to a clean dry place to see if it happens again over the coming days, especially after laying. Other chickens pecking at her is a danger. If the prolapse happens again there are many good sources on possible treatment, here is one from a wound-care product maker. The prognosis may be bad or good but is usually better when you notice it early on.
2 months ago
Thanks for all of the advice so far!

I was able to get some s. nigra cuttings from a bush that is being grown as an ornamental. I don't know what its qualities are like but, I don't know if I'll have an opportunity to go back there this winter so I took some summer cuttings when I could. It was a large shrub with pretty, dark foliage.

The search for more local sources continues. Meanwhile my seeds wait for the fall and for cold stratification, and the cuttings sit in a bucket of water hoping for roots.
2 months ago
I really like Korean-style danmuji out of radishes and it make a really nice side for many things. Quick pickled onions never last long in my fridge either! I tinker with the recipe, especially with what spices are added.

Mine are usually made in a regular leftover pickle jar from the grocery store. I would like to get a nice big gallon jar or a Chinese pickle jar but this works well enough. Sometimes I make them in canning jars to take to friends and family in the summer but they are not shelf stable and still need to go in the fridge. They taste the best when cold, anyway.
2 months ago
Nice looking chickens! And it is interesting to learn about a lesser known heritage breed. Well done for helping to preserve them!

I've kept a few generations of roosters now and traded their sons with my friend, trading back and forth. I'm not going for any particular breed but rather a locally adapted mix. That's just to share the perspective my advice is given from: I'm not breeding to maintain a breed standard like you seem to be. And with that said I'll say that the look of the rooster is often not the most important thing to me.

At this age they should already be showing some protective behaviors and instincts - keeping watch or alerting the other birds. Not aggressive or overly nervous, but good at keeping an eye out when everyone else is busy foraging, first to notice if a hawk flies over and make that alarm cry. This is a trait I highly value, for me it is the main role of the rooster in the flock, especially if they will be free ranging. I'd look out for such behavior with an eye toward not keeping a "lazy" flock guardian, or overly high-strung one, even if otherwise he has good physical traits.

Beyond that I like to look for larger roosters with high heads and tails (but tails can take ages to grow in) and longer backs, because I find they'll usually grow into that.

Will you be keeping more than one? If you can keep the best two and they are not overly zealous with your hens or aggressive (sometimes I have good luck when they're raised together, sometimes not) you'd have more time to see how well they mature, more diversity of choices, and a backup if you lose one.
2 months ago
I'll join in, though I'm not certain if I can participate all the way through. I'm really glad to see another challenge like this and excited to see everyone's creative endeavors!
2 months ago