Schmidt Homestead

Our new home in Woodburn, IL

Monday, July 9, 2007

We had a very fun weekend. Friday night I was picking blackberries on our fence line when Steve got home from work. He came over to see what I was doing, and when he looked over the fence, he noticed that there were MANY, MANY more blackberries in the field behind the house. We decided to go check it out. He took down a section of fence and we climbed through brush, weeds, goldenrod & blackberries taller than our heads. We were both in shorts, and I was in flip-flops, so we had a difficult time moving without being pricked by the blackberry thorns. When we finally decided to give it up for the evening, we both had blood running down our legs. We picked many more blackberries than we had ever picked on our side of the fence, but there were lots more that we didn’t get to.

We got cleaned up then tried a new pizza place for dinner. After dinner we went to a little movie theater called the Big Red Barn – because it’s in a big red barn! It has new owners (they just opened up last week!), and they’re a couple about our age who live in the barn loft. The movie (Ratatouille) was only $5 per person. We were the only patrons until another couple showed up just before the start time and watched it with us. We enjoyed meeting and talking with the owners, so we’ll definitely go back soon.

Saturday morning we suited up in jeans and boots and headed back into the blackberries. It was much easier to move without the thorns grabbing our legs, and we made it farther into the berries. We stayed for probably an hour, and ended up with a gallon ice cream bucket almost full. It weighed over THREE POUNDS!!! We found a recipe for blackberry ice cream, but I don’t know what we’ll do with the rest of them – maybe try a cobbler. There’s probably four times as many berries still out there, but not ripe yet.

The squash & cucumbers have gone crazy. We’ve picked several more yellow/orange cucumbers. The guys on seem to think that the yellow color is due to over-ripening, rather than cross pollination. I don’t know the real reason, but they don’t taste like much. The small green & white ones taste much better.

We picked up some seasoning to make some pickles, and we got some mason jars and lids. We’ll try to do some pickles this week and see how they turn out.

We’re becoming overwhelmed with green beans. We only have one patch (out of three) that’s really producing so far, and we picked almost three pounds this weekend. When the other two patches catch up, we’ll be swamped. We need to work on some canned green beans for this winter.

We finally put up a trellis for the loofa & birdhouse gourds. It looks pretty ‘white trash’ if you ask me. I hope the vines cover it quickly, as I don’t know how long I can deal with people seeing this on the front of my house! We have a number of little birdhouse gourds growing, but I haven’t seen any loofah yet.

I dug the watermelon out of the weeds this weekend and found that we have several of them growing. The largest one is the size of a baseball.

The cantaloupe vines are spreading and blooming, but I have not yet seen a cantaloupe growing.

Steven finally hooked up our stove to a 100 lb propane tank that he put in the yard. Until now, we’ve used a camping stove on top of the trailer stove with a 20 lb propane tank on the kitchen floor. It was awesome to have a normal stove, and even better to finally have an oven. We made cinnamon rolls Sunday morning, and for the first time, we didn’t have to use the camping oven! I recently read a zucchini bread recipe recently that said you could substitute squash for zucchini. Last night I made ‘squash bread’ and it turned out really good. It’s a similar texture to banana bread, but the flavor is different. I’ve already eaten about half of the loaf, so I may make another one tonight.

We’re going to need some help eating all this food. The fridges are filling up quickly!