Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cabin Life: A Banner Year For Small Fruit?

First StrawberriesI love it when a few moments of laziness lead to something good.  I had weed whacked all around the big fire pit and hammock a couple weeks ago, but there was one section of lawn that I just buzzed through quickly, and I did a poor job on about a ten square foot area.  Last night as I was moving some junk wood into the new wood rack, I caught a glimpse of some bright red in the slightly overgrown region:  two wild strawberries.

Only one of the very small strawberries was ripe, so after taking a couple pictures of the first strawberries of the season, I popped the ripe one in my mouth.  That was the first strawberry I’ve had in quite a while, and man was it delicious.  There was enough flavor packed in that little pea-sized berry to make all the rain worthwhile.

After I stacked the wood, I sat back on the porch with a beer and put my feet up on the chicken cage.  The little girls are getting bigger, and spend about a third of their time stretching their wings and preening the down feathers they’re losing.  The other two thirds of their days are split evenly between eating and sleeping.  They are having a good life so far.

When I brought them home earlier this week, I introduced Ed and Herbie to the chicks.  I held Herbie over their cage and let him sniff and watch for a few minutes.  He seemed to lose interest and eventually just wanted to get down out of my arms.  Ed, on the other hand, when confronted with the chicks for the first time, recoiled and was wary of the chicks.  They are tiny, but Ed was a little freaked out.  For all his posing as a killer, he’s still just my little man who would have no idea what to do if he saw the girls outside of their cage.

As I sat on the porch letting the beer wash away the taste of the strawberry, I glanced out over the yard.  The apple trees are starting to get heavy with small apples, and I can see the lime green berries starting to form on the blueberry bushes.  With the drought last year, I got no fruit off of the property, but this year is shaping up to be a banner year for all the strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry plants.  I know it’s early and anything could happen, but I have a feeling that I will have more wild food than I know what to do with.

I’m hoping that my friends with kids will come around later in the summer to help clear out some of the berries and apples.  Besides making jam, apple sauce, cider and hopefully some applejack, I don’t really have any idea what to do with the bounty of fruit coming my way.  Add to this the chicken eggs and garden veggies that will be appearing in the next couple of months, and I am facing a glut of food.  Obviously, this is not a problem that requires any serious deliberation.  I’m ok with apples and berries getting eaten by deer and other animals.  I just hope that some of the bears around don’t get too cozy here.  I may be facing a surplus of wild food, but a hungry bear could easily wipe out a lot of my apples, berries, and even the chickens.  I don’t mind sharing, but a bear coming in here and eating all my stuff is not something that I would forward to.

 

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Justin A Levine

Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks to live off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.







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