Yes, it is indeed Mulberry Time at Blackrock once again. Unfortunately, this year I am doing exactly nothing with the mulberries.
I KNOW. THE SADNESS.
I just . . . I can't. I can't deal with the tarp and the beating of the tree; I can't bend over to pick them up; I can't spend hours making juice and canning it. It is not happening this year. Blame it all on the coming boy-child and the crippling effect he is having on me.
But the current boy-child! My my, does he love those mulberries. He had his first mulberry encounter a couple of days ago, when we randomly went into the ram pasture while A. was pulling out stones from there for another stone wall he was building elsewhere, and when I discovered the mulberries were just starting to get ripe and fall off the tree, that pretty much ensured Cubby's entertainment for the next half hour.
He has quickly learned to eat the dark ones ("That one's too red!" he announces, before throwing it far away), to avoid the ones that are close to the sheep shit that inevitably accumulates under the tree, and to beat the tree with sticks to make the berries fall down.
Does it get any better for a two-year-old? Maybe next year he can do all the work for me.
Mulberry Time always coincides with garlic scapes. I snapped off all the scapes this afternoon and sauteed them in bacon fat for dinner. Man, do I love sauteed garlic scapes.
And now, the surprise!
While Cubby and I were visiting the mulberry tree today for snacktime, I spied one of the hens wandering around in the hollow down there. And . . . what's that moving behind her? ARE THOSE CHICKS?!
Why yes, yes they were. This was the hen that went missing a couple of weeks ago. We knew she was gone. We were hoping she had stolen away to sit on a nest somewhere and hadn't just become hawk bait or something. And there she was. Foraging quite capably, with two small chicks hopping in her wake. Now we need to integrate her back into the flock, because those two chicks won't last long free-ranging with their mom like that. And then we wait to see if we have more egg-producers or . . . chicken dinners.
Either way, a nice surprise for a random Tuesday.