30 August 2013

Another Porcupine

Yesterday I noticed some gnaw marks on the cabin decking and placed a "keep-alive" trap next to the deck. This morning I found (hopefully) the cause of the gnaw marks, a porcupine. We have lived in this neighborhood for over 40 years and during that time I can count my porcupine encounters on one hand. This is my second porcupine this year.

Some porcupine quills left under the trap.

This porcupine was lucky and qualified for a relocation program. Later in the day, the porcupine was released on one of our other wooded properties a few miles away.

12 August 2013


While working at our barn this weekend, I noticed what appeared to be a green leaf on some duct tape. The leaf turned out to be a large katydid that had walked onto the duct tape and got stuck.

As I tried to free the katydid from the tape it would make a loud chirp. The katydid gets its name from the chirp that sounds like “Katy did, Katy didn’t.” Usually katydids are heard, but not seen.

06 August 2013

Chokecherry Jam

The weather conditions must have been just right this year for chokecherries because a bush near our barn was loaded with the small fruits. The chokecherry fruit is bitter when eaten directly from the bush but makes a very tasty jam (when sugar is added). I've been watching this bush for the last couple of weeks to determine the "peak of ripeness" for making chokecherry jam. This past weekend was time to pick. Within a half hour, Mary and I had picked enough chokecherries from this one bush for two batches of jam.

We used the following recipe from Cooks.com to make our jam.

Chokecherry Jam


2 qts. chokecherries
2 c. water
8 c. sugar
1/2 c. liquid Certo

Clean and wash chokecherries. Add water and bring to boil. Simmer until cherries pop and flesh comes easily off from pits. Strain through sieve washing chokecherries thoroughly. Rinse leftover pits and skins with water. Add some rinsed water to strained juice to make 1 quart liquid. Combine liquid and sugar. Stir thoroughly bringing juice to boil. Add liquid Certo and bring to boil, stirring constantly. Cook at full boil for 60 seconds. Skim off foam. Pour into hot sterilized jars. Seal with melted paraffin wax or cool and freeze. Store in cool dark dry place. Yield: 7 to 8 cups.