But no baby yet!
I have discovered that our raspberries are now ripe. I am getting overwhelmed with both the mulberries and the raspberries and I should not complain. I have the capabilities to go out and pick berries, wash them, smash them and turn them into jam. I have the know how and the supplies and the materials I need to do so. Regardless of having jam left from last year, I cannot stand by and watch the berries fall to the ground and go to waste. We truly have a bumper crop of berries this year and I am spoiled by the bounty I have been blessed with. Next year, I may not be so lucky and will be grateful that I made as much jam as I did.
I have been walking around the gardens trying to encourage labor to start and since I'm out there, I pick berries. Sometimes the kids tag along, but mostly I am the only one willing to brave the swarm of gnats (keep your mouth closed! I've inhaled my fair share of bugs *hack! patooie!!*) and mosquitoes (*slap!*) and the occasional tick or two (shudder!).
I combine the juices of mulberries, raspberries, strawberries and grape juice and make something I like to call crazyberry jam. I made it last year when I was down to the last of the mulberries and didn't have enough juice for a batch of jam, so I added a few strawberries-- still not enough. Added raspberries-- still needed a little more. Added some bottled unsweetened 100% grape juice to get the amount I needed, and crazyberry jam was born! It was the first jam to run out and we literally went through more than a pint a week until it was gone.
Now I am purposely making crazyberry jam and preserved 12 pints Monday night. Already used up 1/2 a pint today alone. The girls are asking for jelly sandwiches and toast with jam and jelly sandwiches and jelly sandwiches and did I say jelly sandwiches? If you have a mixture of berries, go ahead and mix it up a little to make your own version of crazyberry-- I use 3 1/2 cups of combined juice, 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 box of pectin (I use Ball brand), and 5 cups of sugar. I'll be making more tomorrow!
I am smashing the berries as I go, straining the seeds out and then storing the juice in 1/2 gallon jars until I am ready to make jam. I have nearly a gallon of mulberry juice in the fridge and it is an efficient system for me, because I just don't know when the baby will make an appearance. Should baby come tomorrow, it will be easy to pop the jars in the freezer so they don't spoil and I can make jam when it is convenient for me.
Not much going on around here, besides waiting for baby, picking berries and the usual family stuff.