Blackberry Season Begins

I love that I live in a place where I can experience
the changing of seasons.
Each season brings it's own perfection... but some I favor more than others.

We have entered the hardest part of the year for both the animals 
and myself.
The heat is brutal.
Daytime is best spent somewhere shady.

Up to this point, we've been lucky...
our nights have been cool.

Mornings are definitely the best part of the day...
and the time we get as much of our outdoor work
done as is possible.

Every few nights I keep the horses in from the pasture...
just to give their noses a break from the grazing muzzles.
Then, the following morning, they get to go out in the 
front pasture for some grazing time, without muzzles.

For some strange reason, we have no flies right now.
This is the first time, in all of the years that we have had
horses on the farm, that we have had no flies to speak of.
Even our solar fly traps, which are always busy,
have had no activity of late.
It's certainly weird.
I'm not complaining... it's weird and wonderful!

It's a blessing for the animals.
At least now while they are dealing with the heat...
they are not also being plagued by flies.
(At least for now.)

We are passing from blueberry/raspberry season
into blueberry/blackberry season.

Our blackberry vines are loaded with fruit-
some of it ripening.

We continue to pick blueberries every other morning.
With the scant amount of rain that we have received,
the fruit is much smaller this year.

Yesterday we found one of our berry bushes to be under attack
by about fifty of these caterpillars.
Meet Datana Drexelii

the larvae of Drexel's Datana Moth (below)

These little caterpillars travel in a herd and can completely
defoliate a blueberry bush.
Hubbs carefully picked each one off and squished it beneath his foot
in order to save this particular bush.
Luckily, none of our other bushes showed any signs of them.
It's always something!

Across from the sheep/pig yard are three old high-bush, blueberry bushes
that remain from the previous owners of the farm.

Over the years, the woods have begun to encroach on these bushes,
so they are not very productive any more.
Each morning as we pass by, we stop and pick what is ripe
in order to give the pigs a special treat.

These gals love their blueberry treats!

Remember the Gomphrena (globe amaranth... an annual) that I grew from seed?
I now have a lovely bed of it in the garden,

and have been picking the longest stems each day and bringing them in to dry.
This particular flower dries very easily and the color lasts beautifully.
By the end of the summer, I would imagine this scale will be filled with
drying blossoms.

I also picked lemon balm, raspberry leaves and the last of the 
red raspberries to dry for tea-making.

I can't wait to brew a pot of home grown tea on the wood stove
in Maven Haven some frosty morning next winter!

As you can see, there are always things to keep me busy these days.
The upside of staying home more is the fact that my gardens are 
relatively weed-free this year!
See... every cloud does have a silver lining!


jaz@octoberfarm said…
i wonder what is up with the flies? it certainly is weird and a bit scary. i have no blackberries this year. which s also strange. how cool is it at night? we rarely go below 72 which i hate.
Marsha said…
Wonderful harvest!
Blackberries are my favorite and I can't wait until they are a the farm stands alongside the road. How are your solar panels working? Are they taking care of your air conditioning?
Judy said…
Such a beautiful, peaceful life you live!
I don't understand how the birds(wild and domestic) don't eat all your berries from your bushes before you can get to them??
We have one peach tree and the birds ate every single peach before they were ripe enough for us to pick. Very disappointing.
One more thing....the chickens, ducks etc would have loved eating all those worms your husband picked off the bush. The extra protein would be good for them too. Glad you are feeling better!
This N That said…
Blackberries..yum..I hope everyone two legged and four, webbed feet and those with toes are keeping cool as best they can..We still have flies and skeeters...Hugs