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Andy’s blueberry plant experiment in the aquaponics is showing signs of success.

He took some cuttings off of a blueberry plant, dipped them in rooting hormone, and buried them in some potting soil, attempting to initiate root growth on the cuttings. There are a few small hair roots growing.




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And there’s some very cute little leaves showing themselves :)






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Tomato plant in the aquaponics bed

Doesn’t it seem weird that tomatoes are a fruit? I guess no weirder than corn is technically a grass.






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The borage in the aquaponics is doing well, too :)

I got borage because I read an article that made it sound really cool and nummy. Do you think I can find that article now???



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Last year I planted some taters in straw bales, but nothing happened.

This year, I tried planting taters in the straw bales again, and I guess the straw was a happier spot for the taters. Am curious to see if I get any taters out of the bales :)



service berry, huckleberry 066I was out by Sam’s area and heard a lot of racket. I was afraid that Sam was tearing apart his tree house. But instead there was a lot of activity in the trees above the tree house. This little fuzzy squirrel was running up and down the branches knocking fir cones off of the tree and onto Sam’s shed. He is busy getting ready for winter. Don’t really want to think about that. You know, snow is a four letter word.


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Curiosity is simply another word for hope. -McLellan







Mrs. Qwirkle


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Do you see what I see?

That one little yellow puff peeking out…





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Turned out to be 3 puffs :) They’re so cute :)

Mrs. Qwirkle is kind of a late bloomer. She is 5 or 6 years old and this is the first time that she has decided to set. She isn’t quite sure what to think of these little puffy creatures that constantly peep at her.


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Mrs. Qwirkle still has some eggs that she is setting on, so I put some feed and water nearby for the babies.





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They seem pretty happy :)

They’re so cute :)

Mrs. Qwirkle is pretty good about letting me get close to her babies, unlike Mrs. Thistledown. But she sure keeps an eye on me :)



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All of the kids got new collars :)






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Aura telling Sophia that she can’t have any of the treats :)

You’re a chicken. This is for goats.





Positive thinking is the key to success in business, education, pro football, anything that you can mention. I go out there thinking that I’m going to complete every pass.
Ron Jaworski

Weed Control


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We took the goats out for a walk :)






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Aura, Gadget, Gloria, Kovu and Kiara thought it was pretty cool to go adventuring :)

They were running all around and exploring new things :)






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Sam thought he was being deprived and hollered about it :)


Silly Sam.





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We found a bumble bee :)

Trixie Belle tried to eat it :(





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Sometimes the goats led the way…






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…and sometimes Heather led the way.


It was a good walk :)






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Olivia did pretty well for her first time of being on a lead :)







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Trixie Belle discovered knapweed. She thought it was pretty tasty stuff :)








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Madeline likes mullein plants :)








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She got Olivia to eat some with her :)


Looks like good weed control without the chemicals :) And they fertilize as they go :)





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Enjoying some other weeds :)

Kovu is turning out to be a handsome little buckling, isn’t he?





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Heather doing her Tinkerbelle impression using thimble berry leaves





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Motto: Those who endure, conquer.


Fair Time


Hope you are all having a fabulous week :) We have been having more thunder and lightening storms, which send the goats and sheep into an absolute panic. Heather managed to pop her patella out of place, which meant a trip to Shriners and an MRI on her knee. I’m trying very hard to ignore the leaves taking on a reddish tinge.

Can I fuss for a minute? Yesterday we went into a couple of stores that not only already have out Halloween and Thanksgiving items, but Christmas items as well! And the crazy thing is, they are already 40% off! I’m still thinking about Labor Day and school starting, I’m not ready to deal with the holidays yet.


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It’s Fair Time again :)

Heather won a blue and a purple on her Desert Habitats display :)






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She won a blue on her potholder purse :)







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And she won a red on her hummingbird house. The judge thought she could have done a better paint job :)

But the ladies who were receiving entries were pretty intrigued with the idea of an actual hummingbird house and said they were going to build some for their yards :)


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So what do you do with your Fair food entries? Mine went to the chickens.

Puff 2 was the first to sneak up on it and try it out :) It was a pretty vicious cake, so she tiptoed up to it, grabbed a mouthful and then ran away. Then she tiptoed back from a different angle, grabbed another beakful and ran away :)

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Pollyanna thought it was pretty tasty :)

The cake did receive a blue and a pink rosette, but the idea of it sitting around for 4 days with people inspecting it didn’t make me want to eat it.



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But the chickens and geese have pretty much demolished it :)

This black hen thought it was pretty yummy :) She snuck up on it after she saw the others eating on it. But then she stayed right there until the guineas came along and chased her off.


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We ventured up north to try out the Selkirk Loop.

It was kind of a grey, rainy day, but a nice drive.




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We finally got Grandpa to stop driving in Crawford Bay for some lunch and exploring.

We had difficulty locating a non-pub for lunch, but finally found a place. But we had to sit outside because no minors are allowed inside.



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It was a little breezy and rainy, but they provided a barrel of monkeys to help us pass the time :)







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I wasn’t sure what to think of this door, which was located right behind our table. The sign reads, “Camera Sensitive Staff Only. Thank you.” Ummmm…..any thoughts???






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We stopped at Artisan Way in Crawford, where the artisans make their wares right in front of you.





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Heather thought the glass blowing was especially cool :)






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We also checked out Barefoot Handweaving, which was amazing.

They had 3 looms loaded and working. Beautiful colors and patterns, too :)





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Heather and I liked the polar bear :)








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For you spinners and weavers out there, check out their back wall :)






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We also got to ride on the Osprey 2000, a 35 min free ferry from Balfour to Kootenay Bay.





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We ventured up a deck to check things out. Heather thought there should have been dolphins :)





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We stopped at a rest area and discovered a beautiful little water fall :)







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Looks like a Thomas Kinkade painting :)








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Puff 2 “Who me? I didn’t steal the cookie from the cooky jar!:)






Hope you have a great day and can ignore the reddish tinge on the leaves, too :)


Tough times never last, but tough people do. -Robert H. Schuller


Cherry Jam


Today is National Relaxation Day! So take it easy and enjoy the weekend :)


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Wash and pit 7-8 cups of sweet eating cherries.

I’m not sure what type these are, but they are pretty tasty :) The cherry trees have been there for a while.




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Place pitted cherries in bowl.






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Start water in water bath canner heating up. Add 1 Tbsp white vinegar to help reduce hard water spots on jars.





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Place clean jars in hot water to start warming up.

An alternative: put jars in water in a crock pot that is set on low.





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Place reusable gaskets or disposable lids in hot, almost boiling water. I was using Weck jars for this batch of jam, which have reusable gaskets and glass lids.





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I like to use Pomona’s pectin for jams and jellies because it doesn’t require as much sugar as other jams and jellies, so you get to taste the fruit more than the sugar.

Mix 1-2 cups of sugar (or honey) with 3 tsp pectin. It depends on how sweet your cherries are to begin with, along with how sweet you like your jam.



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With heat on med-low, mash cherries as they begin to warm up.

Add 1/4 c. lemon juice and 4 tsp calcium water (found in Pomona’s package).

Bring to a boil.



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Add in sugar-pectin mixture. Return to boil.

Remove from heat and ladled into hot jars.

I keep forgetting I need to order a different funnel for the Weck jars – a regular canning funnel has too large of diameter. But I love the idea of being able to reuse the Weck lids and gaskets :)




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Wipe jar rim with clean damp napkin. Weck and Le Parfait jars seem to be more picky about having a clean surface for sealing, than do regular disposable lids.






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Affix gasket and lid.

Secure Weck lids with 3 clips.  I tried using just the two clips that the jars come with, but lost too much liquid during processing that way.






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Place filled jars into elevated rack of water bath canner.

I like to alternate filling sides of the rack so that one side doesn’t become too heavy and pull one of the rack handles off of the side of the canner.



cherry filling, sophia 023Process for 10 minutes, adding 1 minute for each 1,000 feet above sea level. Since we are at 2,000 feet, I process mine for 12 minutes.

Remove canner from heat, remove canner lid and allow it to set for 5 minutes before removing jars.

Allow Weck jars to cool completely before removing clips to check seals.



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Some nice things to add into your jam: 1 tsp almond extract, and 1/2 tsp nutmeg. Just add them when you add in the pectin-sugar mixture.





Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.
Jackson Brown

Mrs. Thistledown


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Mrs. Thistledown apparently needed another baby fix :)






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Something got her first little puff that she hatched out earlier this year :(

So she decided to set again :)





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The second puff peeking out from behind her :)








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Very adorable little chipmunks with beaks :)








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Mrs. Thistledown is extremely protective of her two new little puffs.







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Even when I just try to feed her bread crumbs, she will fly at me.

She will even take on the geese! Kaboosh keeps his distance :)






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Hopefully, these 2 puffs will make it :)



It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself
Ralph Waldo Emerson



Did everyone survive “Sneak Some Zucchini on to your Neighbor’s Porch Night” without too many zucchinis? I hope you had fun :)


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Since the peaked, ventilated roof on Heather’s hive helped pull the bees through the winter last year…







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…Andy has decided to put ventilated roofs on all the bee hives.







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The inside construction of one.






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I’m not sure what is up with the names on the hives now. I guess so I know which one he is talking about???


I thought I was excused from bee duty for the rest of summer…





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These are some nucs that he got started, too.





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This is a European style top bar, or coffin hive.






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The idea is that the bees expand out instead of up.






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It has round house vents on each end.








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The roof comes apart in 3 sections.






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I think the KCCO is from one of Andy’s favorite websites, “Keep Calm and Chive On.”





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The bees have a fairly large hole to go in and out of.






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Andy also put together a solar beeswax extractor.






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It is 3 layers high.








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The top and second layer have holes punched in the bottom of aluminum turkey roasting pans.

The bottom roasting pan doesn’t have holes punched in it.






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After a couple of days in the hot sun, the wax has dripped through the top pan, leaving the yuck behind.







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The second layer collected the wax in little stalagmite formations.







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The bottom layer collected the honey.








It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.
Maya Angelou


Imitation Water Buffalo


Is everybody armed with their zucchinis? Tomorrow is “Sneak some Zucchini onto your Neighbor’s Porch” night. Last year, I didn’t know about this ‘holiday,’ and wound up with an entire wheelbarrow load of zucchini on my front porch! This year, I have my stash ready :)



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Puff 2 was sitting on Trixie Belle

She reminded me of those birds that sit on the backs of the water buffalo.





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Trixie Belle seemed to enjoy getting her back scratched, and Puff 2 was keeping her toes warm :)





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Wild day lily by the old cream separator


A dollar may not go as far as it used to, but what it lacks in distance, it makes up in speed. -Vern McLellan






The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.
Alfred Hitchcock



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Saturday afternoon we received a phone call from one of the neighbors warning us of a severe storm alert for that evening.

Wow! They weren’t kidding!




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Thunder, lightening, and high winds. We lost power and phone. Several large trees went down. One neighbor lost a side of their barn and the roof off of a shed.




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Right in the heavy part of the storm, Andy yelled, “Sam’s out!” So we trooped out there amidst the cracking trees and flashes of lightening to rein Sam in.




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Four sections of fence were down due to trees. Sam found the one that put him in with the girls. He was a happy boy :) I’m not sure how long he was in there, but I’m hoping that no one was in heat! Otherwise, it’s babies in early January which doesn’t sound like fun.





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Sam had to stay in the hay trailer until we could patch the fences enough to keep him contained.

I don’t think he minded too badly – it was half full of hay :)






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Yep – that’s baling twine on the fence. The trees kept cracking and popping in the wind and the lightening kept flashing and I didn’t feel much like messing with the little wire clippy things to get the fence attached back to the post, plus I needed to put some tension on the fence itself after being stretched out of proportion. Besides, I don’t think baling twine conducts electricity from lightening :) Baling twine, duct tap, and super glue – gotta love ‘em :)


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It was strange to feel a warm, southern Chinook wind and the next minute feel a cold northern wind.

I think there’s enough wood on the ground for firewood this winter!





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This big pine went down right in the raspberry patch, taking out all three long trellises, along with the 8′ deer fence.




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It almost hit the apple tree, too.






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Andy started cutting it up, and the bottom part just popped up right back into place!





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Three big pine and fir trees went down in the area we call the First Landing.






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There’s a couple of vehicles stored down there, and they barely escaped by just inches.





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The chopped off tree on the right is now about 40′ tall.








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The top 80′ or so of it is now sitting in the middle of the thimble berry patch, along with another entire cedar tree that came down roots and all.

Glad we already got some thimble berries picked this year!



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Another large cedar that split up the trunk as it went down.






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This fir went down in the sheep/goat area.








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Taking out part of the fence and gate as it went down.







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So you can guess what the last couple of days have involved :)






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Here’s a nice, big widow-maker in the sheep/goat area.







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Andy hooked up the tractor to it to finish pulling it down.

Don’t need that falling on one of my little fleepers!




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While I was out exploring the damage, I came across this old broom. All I could think was that the Wicked Witch of the West got caught in the storm and fell off of her broom!




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The garden sustained some damage, but certainly not as bad as it could have been.





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It’s the wind-blown look for a tomato plant :)





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Hmm…wonder if this broccoli plant is trying to turn into a GMO on me by crossing with a fir tree!





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Sunday morning, the goats were all taking it easy.

They were pretty upset during the storm and stayed close to me while we were out there trying to patch fences.




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Trixie Belle and Madeline






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Gadget, Aura, Gloria and Olivia

They were pooped out after running around so much the night before. They had 3 trees fall in their main area, and another 2 in their secondary area.



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Wild turkeys that were a little disoriented :)

This flock had 4 adults and a whole pile of young ones :)




Character is higher than intellect. A great soul will be strong to live as well as think.
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Service Berry Jelly


Tomorrow is National Watermelon Day. I hope you find a really juicy and sweet one to enjoy :)


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We picked a few more service berries :)

Service berries have big seeds, so jelly might be preferred over jam :)







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Soak berries for a couple of hours, or overnight in salty water.






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Rinse berries well.






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Put berries in top of steam juicer.

Alternatively: boil berries and strain through cheesecloth.





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I let my juicer steam for about 90 minutes.








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After steaming, there was 6-7 cups of juice collected in the reservoir.






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Drain juice into saucepan.






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Start heating up water in water bath canner.

Put lids into hot, almost boiling water to soften sealant.




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Put clean jars into hot water.






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Mix 2-3 cups of sugar with 4 tsp Pomona’s Pectin. Since service berries aren’t very sweet, I did use 3 cups of sugar.

Stir pectin into sugar well.




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optional: add in 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/2 tsp cinnamon to sugar-pectin mixture.





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Mix 4 tsp Pomona’s calcium water and 1/4 c. lemon juice in with berry juice.

Bring to a boil.

Mix in sugar-pectin mixture and return to boil. Remove from heat.



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Ladle hot jelly into hot jars.








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Wipe jar rim with clean, damp napkin.








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Affix two piece lids.








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Place filled jars into elevated rack of water bath canner.






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When rack is full, submerge into hot water.

Bring to a boil and process for 10 minutes, adding 1 minute for every 1,000 feet above sea level.




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Remove from heat. Remove canner lid. Allow canner to sit for 5 minutes.

Remove jars to a towel to cool.





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Allow jars to cool and then check seals.






If you know someone who tries to drown their sorrows, you might tell them sorrows know how to swim.
H. Jackson Brown