Thursday, November 10, 2016

Foliage and Berries

This September and especially October were about the best we ever had for fall foliage. I think of October for leaves and then November for berries.
I have been using Euonymus europaeus and Ilex verticillata and Celastris orbiculatus berries. These are the "flowers" I have done recently for the West Newbury Church.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Last Batch of Juice for the Season

I canned about 10 gallons of juice last night. I still plan to make cider but I have to freeze it as canning ruins it. I made a couple gallons of Schizandra- Aronia with a tiny bit of Dolgo crabapple thrown in. Also, I made my grapes into juice as we've had two light frosts and once the grapes freeze, they are no good for anything--I've tried to juice them after they freeze and no-go.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Martha's Vineyard Vacation

We're spending 10 days on Martha's Vineyard visiting our daughter, Kady. I've volunteered 2 days at the Polly Hill Arboretum where she works; raking leaves (I learned a new excellent 3 person method of picking up leaves after they are raked into a pile: I might be able to convert it to a one person method}, planting Clethra (they are embarking on a Clethra evaluation project: we transplanted 'Ruby Spice', and fencing plants against deer. They have a wonderful collection of oaks at the Polly Hill
The Franklinia is in bloom there
We are going to be here 2 more days: I'm sketching the ocean a lot.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Elderberry Crop Failure

This year many if no most of my elderberries fell off the bushes just before they were dead ripe. I think it was due to dryness. First I thought it was birds eating them even though I did put nets over them, sort of,.... (it wasn't a very good netting job). However there were lots of little - not quite ripe- elderberries all over the ground. I checked the berries for fruit fly maggots and didn't see any, although 2 farms near me had fruit flies ruining their blueberries. I did make one batch of crabapple-elderberry juice which I plan to can tonight. I still plan to make aronia-schizandra juice and grape juice.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Making Juice and Cider

I've been making juices this year with no sugar or other sweetener as i"m now pre-diabetic. Gooseberry and crabapple are quite good the different juices I have made with blackberries are not as good as with sugar. I haven't given up though. I still have elderberries to harvest although they are been ruined by birds and I still plan to make grape juice when my grapes are ready. I made excellent cider last week using Duchess apples and Whitney crabapples which previously I had let all rot.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Sea Buckthorn, Seaberry, or Hippophae rhamnoides

We harvested my sea buckthorn yesterday: they were soft and I guess ripe. They are one of the worst of all thorny fruit to pick: they don't come off the stems easily and the hawthorn-like thorns (little spur branchlets) are wicked. Also, they are downright sour with a tangerine-like smell. I made juice, combining them with blackberries which is one of the worst tasting juices I have made yet. It doesn't help that I put no sugar in. I'll see later about canning the stuff- tonight I'm going to Tosca and my wife Dana is having possibly severe car problems in Templeton, Mass.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Diabetic Juice and Shin-Boku Nursery

I've already harvested my gooseberries and black and red currants and made them into juice with no sugar and canned that. With the black currants, I made the pulp remaining in the jelly bags into diabetic jam by running it through a foley food mill and adding stevia, to one batch and splenda to another: the splenda tastes better to me. I used "no sugar needed" pectin. I seem to have developed "pre-diabetes". I'm drinking the juice with no sugar and it's not too bad, especially the gooseberry. Now, my blackberries are in and I want to make some into juice adding seaberry and/or Dolgo crabapple. So far, I've frozen the berries. I visited Shin-Boku nursery in Wentworth, NH on Saturday, after work at the nursery. Palmer Koelb has amazing huge trees pruning in the "Japanese style" : they look like full-size bonsai specimens.
Palmer Koelb also has a Japanese "Stroll Garden" open to the public any time which incorporates a lot of magnificent specimens of carefully pruned evergreens and some deciduous plants such as Enkianthus and a Stewartia and some summer-blooming deciduous azaleas.