By Wenda Grabau
I took a delightful stroll this morning. Blue sky peaked through the passing clouds. I stepped my way through the dew-covered lawn on my way to our rural mailbox. As I trekked through the moistened blades of grass, our pup spied me and came running to greet me as if to say, “Good Morning!” I gave him a cheerful pat on his head. He joined me as I walked on my errand.
When we neared the mailbox, I got an eyeful of some yellow and golden flowers in my flower bed. I raised them from seeds in my small greenhouse early in April. The plants splashed bright colors in my little garden.
Our pup has been learning to sit and stay. He sometimes succeeds in obeying. At other times he forgets. This time, as I crossed the road to deposit my letters in the mailbox, I decided to not give him the command. His reaction impressed me. His demeanor arrayed the calmness and the patience to wait in the spot where he knew I wanted him to stay.
I returned from the roadway and picked several of my showy golden calendula blooms. The pup and I continued our walk past my dahlias. The round “snowball-looking” whites contrasted with the full “spidery-looking” pinks and fire-engine red dahlias. The flowers have been a welcome spectacle in our yard that I have thoroughly enjoyed this summer.
I continued on my way and noticed some apples hanging on our Prairie Spy. I grabbed one to taste and see if it is ready to pick the fresh produce it displayed. I ate several bites…the pup jumped up and stole a lick. What an energetic creature! I surrendered the core to him. After a taste, he found it more fun to play with it than to eat it.
We traveled to the back yard flowerbed and picked a delicate pink gladiola.
Passing our vegetable garden I picked a full bouquet of dill. I find the scent of fresh dill to be so pleasant. I grew it this year as an investment in our future. I will dry and freeze this fresh fragrant dill in freezer bags.
With that done, it was time to go inside and to deal with these samples of God’s creation that I so enjoy. The gladiola got put in a vase. The calendulas were hung up for drying. I rinsed off the dill and set it in an empty glass to air-dry.
The busy harvest season will soon be upon us. Very soon the apples and pears will be fit to freeze or can. When the apples and pears get ripe, I generally have more fruit available than I can preserve. Hence, we process the apples and pears with an old cider press we bought from our neighbor. We often use this job as a time to have friends join us to witness the old-fashioned cider press at work. The fruit of our labors is sweet.
Apple or Pear Juice
Wash the fruit. Press the juice with the cider press. Filter juice through several layers of cheese cloth to catch any stray seeds or pulp that have made their way into the liquid. Heat the juice, along with cinnamon sticks, as desired, in a large stainless steel kettle. Heat juice till steaming but not boiling. Skim solids which may have surfaced to the top of the juice. Ladle juice into cleaned, sterilized jars. Fill jars to within ½ inch from the top. Place lids and screw bands on the jars and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes to seal the jars.