Life on Regal-Hill: July 2, 2008

I can’t believe that we are still getting showers most every day here at Regal-Hill. I really messed up yesterday. I thought it was going to rain; since it was so cloudy I didn’t do any wash. I thought I would be able to do it between showers today, but today looks even worse as far as getting rain. I hope the weather will improve by the Fourth of July, as it would be so nice to at least have a picnic to celebrate the day.
The first organized activities for the Fourth were in Philadelphia, where the people honored the first year of independence by firing cannons (one round for each state of the union), ringing bells, drinking toasts and holding a parade, after which they set off fireworks. I think many cities and villages still celebrate the Fourth with at least fireworks. I wish we did, although a parade would be nice too.
It is nice not having to water the garden, but it sure makes it difficult to dry hay. Thankfully, we are putting as much as we can in the silo. When that is full I don’t know what George will do; he probably will wait until we have several days of dry weather, if we ever get any this year.
Another thing is that I am tired of George coming in soaking wet from being caught in a heavy downpour while trying to get a load of chopped grass for the silo. Now that he is working farther from the silo it is easier to get caught in a shower. Then what do you do with a bunch of dirty clothes usually covered with sweat, hay seeds and soaking wet? The best solution is to put them in the washing machine and wash them, but if that isn’t convenient they lie around and get smelly only drying a little. I refuse to put dirty clothes in the dryer. It is too awkward for me to try to clean out the dryer.
Besides everything else, there are those nasty black flies to deal with as well. Although they seem to leave dark colors alone they can sure make a mess of light or white colored clothes. So I have been putting the white clothes either on a rack to dry or in the dryer.
At least the garden keeps growing and we are enjoying scallions, lettuce, broccoli and asparagus so we can eat well. We are also enjoying roses, hydrangeas, violas, pansies, pinks and petunias as they continue to blossom. Although they don’t feed the cattle or provide hay to sell, they are an enjoyment to me since I love to serve fresh vegetables and arrange fresh flowers in the house.
So hopefully by the Fourth we will have at least a few days of dry weather to make dry hay and the next crop grow, that we call a second cutting.
The Fourth of July will be here in just two days. What shall we plan to have to eat for this holiday besides strawberries? Most patriotic recipes include strawberries and blueberries at least for decoration. Try these recipes and be patriotic, satisfying your sweet tooth and getting nutrition from the berries. Strawberries have been found to be third in total antioxidants per serving (after blackberries and walnuts) and also are rich in vitamin C.

Red, White, Blue and Delicious
1 qt. strawberries, divided
1-1/2 cups boiling water
2 packages (4 serving size each), strawberry flavor Jell-O
Ice cubes
1 cup cold water
1 package (10.75 oz.) pound cake, cut into 10 slices
1-1/3 cups blueberries
2 packages (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip, thawed or 1 cup heavy whipping cream beaten until stiff peeks form with 1/4 cup sugar.
Slice 1 cup of the strawberries. Halve remaining strawberries. Stir boiling water Jell-O until dissolved. Add ice to cold water to make 2 cups. Add to Jell-O; stir until ice is melted. Refrigerate 5 minutes or until consistency of unbeaten egg whites.
Cover bottom of 13 x 9-inch pan with cake. Stir sliced strawberries and 1 cup blueberries into Jell-O; pour over cake. Refrigerate 4 hours or until set.
Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with whisk until blended; gently stir in Cool Whip or whipped cream. Spread over Jell-O. Top with strawberry halves and blueberries to make flag. Store in refrigerator.

Makes 20 servings, one piece each
Advertisement in Family Circle, July '08

Strawberries in Balsamic Syrup
1-1/2 cups balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 pints (2 lb.) strawberries, hulled and thickly sliced
1-1/2 pints vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
In small saucepan, combine vinegar, brown sugar, pepper and allspice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil until mixture is thick, syrupy and reduced to 1/2 cup, about 12 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.
Place strawberry slices in large bowl, add cooled syrup and toss to coat berries.
Serve over ice cream

Makes 6 servings.
Hallmark Magazine, Vol. 2, Summer 2008