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Farmhouse Strawberry Jam

When June finally arrives, there is nothing like farm fresh strawberries that we turn into our Farmhouse Strawberry Jam. The warmer the weather, the sweeter the strawberry. Last June we did an experiment, a batch of early Farmhouse Strawberry Jam and a batch of late Farmhouse Strawberry Jam. The early one was lighter in colour and a lot softer in flavor and sweetness. The later batch was darker red and had a full bodied strawberry flavor and was so naturally sweet.

While both are delicious, it depends on how you like your jam. For us, both are welcome, for some they like consistency of one flavor so they only do early or only do late strawberries.

Fresh Ontario Strawberries in a bowl

Strawberries in a bowl

Biscuits are a family favorite here and it takes just a few minutes to whip up a quick batch to taste test our jam. I use my grandmother’s stir and roll biscuit dough recipe from the 60’s and I think of her every time I make some.

Strawberry Jamon biscuits on a blue plate

Farmhouse Strawberry Jam on fresh biscuits

Never turn down a bowl of fresh strawberries!

Strawberries in a blue bowl

Bowl of Farm Fresh Strawberries

Recipe:

60 min prep

longer to sit

makes 8-10 half-pint jars

Ingredients:

2 quarts      fresh hulled strawberries

1 1-3/4oz    package powdered pectin

1/2 tsp        margarine or butter

7 cups        white sugar

Instructions:

  1. Crush berries a cup at a time in a large pot. Stir in pectin and margarine (or butter). Heat on high, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a full rolling boil. Add sugar all at once. Return to boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; skim off foam.
  2. Ladle at once into hot, sterilized half-pint jars, leaving a 1/4 inch headspace. Wipe jar rims, place lids. Process in a boiling water canning bath for 5 minutes. Remove jars: cool

*You will know they are sealing when you hear pops as the jars cool.

Server on biscuits, toast, ice cream… your options are endless, we even just eat it with a spoon!

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Categories: Farmhouse, Recipes, Uncategorized

Our Equestrian

Not long before moving from the suburbs to the country, our wee little Apple started talking about horseback riding. We held her off for a while as we didn’t even know where to begin with it, let alone the fact that I am (was) deathly allergic to horses. But since then, our equestrian has been born.

Once we made the move it was pretty hard to keep her away. Not only do our neighbours own a horse barn and we can see the horses out in the paddock from our front porch, but we are less than a kilometre from some amazing stables, Stratford-Fox Run. We first heard of them from a couple of teachers at our old school who board their horses there. So, we got in touch with them and started Apple off with a summer camp, to see if she even was able to ride. From the first day she has wanted to live at the stables.

From camp we went to lessons and now only a year and a half later, she is doing some in-house equestrian shows. We feel/fear her love of riding and jumping will take us to some shows out of house, but we are hoping to hold off on that for at least another year.

Anna_Epp_Equestrian-17In school she has to do a project on fitness and when she first told her teacher she was going to be showcasing horseback riding, there was some question as to how much fitness was involved. Apple was quite convincing and explained to her teacher how there is stretching and posture and muscles used to stay on the horse involved. She was giving the go ahead and I was asked to capture her riding for her project.

As I don’t often shoot in horse arena’s there is a learning curve for sure. In the winter they aren’t as bright, adding to that it was quite a cloudy day. So, I think, not so bad for a first try and now I know what to do for next time, as I am sure there will be a next time.

And needless to say watching her ride so closely, I can see how much work it takes for both horse (this is actually a pony that Apple is riding) and rider to accomplish. We are definitely proud parents and on the good side, the more time I spend at the barns, the less my allergies act up.

Anna_Epp_Equestrian-20

And because we can’t ignore this handsome fella, meet Chubbs. He came sauntering over to see us after lessons were done. Nothing like a frolic in the snow for this guy.Anna_Epp_Equestrian-21

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Categories: Exercise, Farmhouse, Uncategorized

Until We Meet Again

My cousin passed away recently and so unexpectedly that it leaves just a wee little hole in my heart. We had not seen each other in person in many years, however, we had some great phone calls. Some on purpose some accidentally dialed.

Way back when, he lived with us, I think I was around 10 or 11, but I remember him staying with us and it was like we had a brother for a while amist all us girls. I would like to say he was here for a year, but it may have only been 6 months. For some reason I related to him in ways that I did not with others. He was a straight shooter, no fuss, no bs, if he disagreed with something he let you know or called you out on it. He was a gifted man with a generous heart.

Not long after he lived with us, he left the East to work in the forestry industry in West. Not an easy life to live in a remote town, but he did it and did it successfully, only returning to the East a handful of times over the years. It is there that he married an amazing woman and created a family. A family to be proud of.

Last week he would have turned 54, to me that is just too young to say goodbye. He left behind four wonderful children, who will miss him dearly but will carry him with them where ever they go. My heart goes out to my younger cousins who must go on without their Dad. He may not have done things the way others would have but that just wasn’t his way. He was the guy who danced to a different tune. He would give you the shirt off his back if you said you needed it, even if it was his only shirt. His laugh was contagious and his smile will forever be ingrained in my mind.

You will be missed. Until We Meet Again.

Two of my favorite images I have of him (both scanned from film prints taken 25-30 years ago).

1984 Rehoboth Beach, Delaware

IMG_0004_21989 Bella Coola, British Columbia

IMG_0003_2

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Categories: Family, Uncategorized