News From The Barnyard

The last crab apple

I’ve been pulling crabapples off the tree in the barnyard and feeding them to the donkeys and sheep for a couple of months.  Today I picked the last crabapple.

It was also the first time I really looked at one of the crab apples.

Usually, the animals are practically grabbing them from my hands. This crabapple looks nothing like the ones we picked in the orchard with Emma and Robin this past weekend.  But when I actually looked at it, I found the colors, markings, textures, and shape had a beauty of their own.

I can’t stop looking at those tiny dots, the red blemishes, and the subtle darkening of the yellows, like shadows cast from clouds on an autumn day.

I did taste the apple as I bit it in half for Fanny and Lulu to share.  It was very bitter.

The last thistle

I also found this thistle flower blooming in the barnyard from, what looked to me like, a dead plant.

The only bit of green was the small stem holding the flower branching off of the woody graying plant. This thistle flower is the only purple I’m seeing in the barnyard.  There are lots of mauves and pinks in the leaves and marsh grasses, but not any purple to my eye.

The Stingin Nettles are thriving

We’re likely to get a killing frost sometime this week. Before it happens I hope to harvest some more of the nettles that are growing in the barnyard.  I have a big glass jar of nettles leaves I dried over the summer.  I drink a lot of nettle tea during the fall and spring allergy seasons.

I used to buy nettle tea, but ever since I went on my Walk-About and Zach showed me how to cut the nettles just a few leaves down from the top of the plant I’ve been gathering our nettles instead.(this way you don’t have to touch the part of the plant that stings)

I dry them on a rack in the guestroom/office upstairs in the farmhouse. Then I just pick the leaves from the stem put them in a tea ball or directly in a cup and pour boiling water over them. I started doing the same with the mint from the garden.

Like fresh vegetables from the garden and eggs from the hen, the tea has a flavor beyond what I can buy in a box.

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