Life On Regal-Hill: Aug. 11, 2010

When we finally finished the first cutting of our hay here at Regal Hill last week, we did the last field in record time because the weather finally turned nice. If only all the other fields could have been harvested as smoothly.

This field is a ways from the farm so that distance adds to the time spent getting the machinery on location.

When the day came to mow, George took the big tractor and mower down the road. When he returned several hours later, he had the whole field mowed and all equipment had worked well. No knives or guards were broken. Later that day he took the truck and tedder down; returned, hooked the rake on one of the smaller tractors and took the rake down. Then he tedded the hay.

The next morning after the dew was off, he raked the half nearest the road. That part gets more sun so George thought it would dry faster and be ready to bale sooner. Once he had it raked he came up, got the baler out, checked to make sure there was plenty of baler twine in the baler, hooked on the wagons and went down to bale up a couple of loads of hay. Later he returned with two big loads of stacked hay, nearly 300 bales. Some of the family had taken some of their time off from work to help George get the hay baled and staked. Allegra and her mother stopped what they were doing and went to unload. Finally, we all had supper, about 10 p.m. and went to bed.
The following day before George left to rake the rest of the field I told him I would bring lunch down. When it got to be early afternoon I fixed our lunch of fruit salad, sandwiches, broccoli salad and a Twix each for dessert and some homemade lemonade. As soon as I had everything packed I drove down to the field where George was working. He was baling hay and had one wagon half full. We found a nice place under some trees where it was shaded and, after returning thanks, began our feast.

By the time we finished eating, Jody was there to stack the rest of the load on the other wagon.
Two hours later George and Jody came up the road with two big loads of hay behind the big tractor. One of the loads was put away and then George and Jody returned to the field to finish baling.
Later, he came back with a wagon full of hay and the baler so I knew they had finished. By the time we finished getting it all in

Blackberries are getting ripe so be sure to check where you usually pick them to see if some are ready. Blackberries are rich in fiber, vitamin C and folic acid. When selecting blackberries look for ones that are a little dull-looking, not shinny. Shiny berries aren’t ripe yet and they won’t ripen after they have been picked. Try these recipe ideas and see if you don’t agree that blackberries are good for more than just making a pie.

Blackberry Sauced Pork Chops
1/2 cup seedless blackberry spreadable fruit
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
1 Tablespoon reduced-sodium soy sauce
Dash ground cinnamon
4 boneless pork loin chops
(5 ounces each)
2 teaspoons steak seasoning
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup fresh blackberries

In a small saucepan, combine the spreadable fruit, lemon juice, soy sauce and cinnamon. Cook and stir over low heat until spreadable fruit is melted. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Sprinkle both sides of pork chops with steak seasoning. In a large nonstick skillet, coated with cooking spray, cook chops in oil over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer reads 160 degrees. Serve with sauce and blackberries.
Yield: 4 servings
Taste of Home June/July 2010

Blackberry Cobbler
3 cups fresh or frozen blackberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 Tablespoons corn starch
1 cup cold water
Biscuit Topping
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 cup 2 percent milk
Whipped topping or vanilla ice cream, optional

In a large saucepan, combine the blackberries, sugar and cinnamon. Cook and stir until mixture comes to a boil. Combine the corn starch and water until smooth; stir into fruit mixture. Bring to a boil: cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Pour into a greased 8-inch square baking dish. Dot with butter.
For topping: In a small bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened. Drop by tablespoons onto hot berry mixture.
Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until filling is bubbly and topping is golden brown. Serve warm with whipped topping or ice cream.
Yield: 9 servings.
Taste of Home June/July 2010