Monday, August 24, 2009

The Great Elderberry Heist

Mrs. JP has been persistently pointing out to me how it has been a long time since I have posted anything on our blog. There have been two causes for me not posting lately, #1) I've been sooo busy at work and at home, and B) there are so many things on my mind of late that I have been concerned that if I started writing, in the end I would wind up sounding like a ranting, gripping lunatic, rather than like a child of the King with little or nothing to worry about.

That week of vacation I was supposed to have, that Mrs. JP mentioned on here a few days back, well, someone in our sales department ignored the projected completion date that I gave on producing a product and promised an earlier date to the client, so I got called off of vacation after only two days at home and I had to go back to work. But really, compared to driving a big rig and never being at home, this job is still not that bad. I will just save the three days I didn't get to take and use them at a time when things are a little slower at work, like maybe around Thanksgiving.

Thanks to TennZen's blog, the Mrs. and I have caught the "elderberry picking fever". Yesterday we were on our way home from church, on a route that takes us along several horse and cattle pastures and weed covered back roads. Along the fence line to one of the pastures, we spotted several clumps of ripe berries. They were on Mrs. JP's side of the car, so she took off her nice shoes, I handed her my pocket knife and she jumped out of the car and harvested two very nice clumps of ripe berries. Further down the road, we spotted some more growing along the weed covered shoulder of the road, so she jumped out of the car and harvested some more. One car came by while we had our four-way flashers on and asked if we needed help. I told them, "No thanks, we're just picking elderberries." They looked at me like I was some kind of nut and went on their way. I would roll the car just a little farther down the road and spot another clump of berries, and Mrs. JP would walk along the road and harvest them as I spotted them. It was kind of fun bossing her arou.... errr.... uh.... driving the "get away" car as she picked the loot.

We left several clumps that were still mostly green to be harvested on another day, but we may already have enough to make a batch of jelly. I think in our enthusiasm, we may have picked some before they were ready, so we will have to pick through them and take out the green ones. I'm looking forward to tasting some home made elderberry jelly. The raw berries don't seem to have much sweetness to them, but I'm sure some sugar will fix that.

All of the dogs are doing just fine. I mowed the dog yard yesterday, and the cut grass stained Scrappy's little white feet green, so they looked like she was wearing cute little leprechaun booties. Charley just loves running and chasing all of the other dogs. Sometimes they gang up on him to pin him down and chew on him, but he loves the attention. Daisy is always on guard duty, either warning whenever a strange car is driving along through the holler, or barking at the cows when they get too close to the property while they are grazing. Speedbump has become a sneaky trash can raider. Just off the kitchen we have one of those trash cans that have a top that can be locked, but sometimes we forget to lock it, and Speedbump manages to get into the trash. Corrie and Violet are both just glad to be with us, and love to visit with company whenever someone comes to see us.

Oh, by the way, it's almost "Football Time In Tennessee!". I'm excited about it, what with having arguably one of the best defensive minds in football on our sidelines now. We are avid Vol fans around here. Even my granddaughter knows our fight song, not to mention Rocky Top.

Well, I managed not to ramble too much. As Mrs. JP is fond of saying, "Blessings from the holler!".


TennZen said...

Yes, those elderberries on their own are quite sour. But in jelly and jam, they're wonderful!

Let me tell you an easy trick for getting the elderberries off of the stems: Stick them in the freezer. The whole cluster. Just put bag and all in the freezer.

After the berries are frozen, just shake the bag really good and the berries will fall off the stems.

The only other way I know to get them off with any reasonable speed is to strip them off the stems with a fork.

Can't wait to see what y'all do with those berries!

Mrs. JP said...

Don't get the idea that I was cheerfully skipping down the road while we were getting berries. JP got several "looks" when he'd say, "oh, look there, can you get those?" And I only reached across ONE fence to get berries, the rest were on the side of the road paid for by our tax dollars. It was kind of fun though. Elderberry jelly coming soon!

YD, sometimes with Samantha & June said...

JP, nice to "hear" from you!
Elderberries, I've always thought those are not edible.

Lena said...

Welcome back, JP! It's good to hear from you and even better to hear you've been busy. I've been bugging your Mrs. to get you to blog more....
Oh I can just see it now....."Hey, there's another ripe cluster of berries....just a few more feet in front of us....why don't you walk, honey, I'll drive alongside you...." lol. I bet Mrs. JP was tired when she got home. :-)))
I'm glad to hear all the pups are doing well. I love the idea of Leprechaun boots! Blessings to y'all from across the border.

Farm Chick Paula said...

*LOL* Love the Bonnie and Clyde picture- did Mrs. JP "out-pick" you?

Vickie said...

Hi, just blog-hopping this morning and found you thru Farm Chick Paula. Love all your pups - we love dogs at our house and once we get moved out to our farm (in a year or two) I plan on going to the Humane Society and rescuing some mutts to keep us company.

I've been known to pick berries off the side of the road, too. I put up plum jelly this year. I missed the blackberries tho. Too busy.

Cute little football fans you have there - especially the little cheerleader with the binky - reminds me of my daughter at that age - she was a cheerleader from the time she could walk! Take care and drop by for a visit sometime!