Spring cleaning

Recent conversations with my sister and my best friend in Texas, I realize I too need to do spring cleaning.  I started this weekend, and got the bathrooms done, and mopped most of the floors and yes, the baseboards too.  I need to do the windows.  This is the chore I least like, because one, I think our home has more windows than actual walls, and two because of the weather and all our little critters who scratch at the doors and windows to be let in or let out, they just don’t stay clean that long.  It seems such a wasted effort for so little value.  But I will get to that too.

So the garden – things are blooming and growing everywhere.  Our clove tree is really taking off.  I pulled a bunch off this morning and put in our dry rack.  It’s been hot and dry here, so they will dry out within a few days.

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We have a lot of avocado trees and have a number of different varieties.  Many of the trees are just loaded.  We will have a bumper crop this year.  There are so many on the tree, some of them reminded of me of wind chimes hanging from the trees.

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We have lots of papayas.  We have a number of varieties of those too.  We have this one variety that is really big and long.  We planted those to make green papaya salad.  One papaya will make a large bowl of salad big enough to feed and entire family of 4.  We have  strawberry papayas which are really sweet.  We have this one papaya tree that is so low to the ground that the papayas actually touch the ground.IMG_0746

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I caught a picture of Angel today.  She literally stood there and posed.  As soon as I snapped the picture, she walked away.  We call her angel because of her white wings.  See the white spot on her side, well she has one on the other side of her body too, so it looks like she has wings.

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She’s a hair sheep.  Hair sheet have hair instead of wool.  She actually gets wooly looking, but the hair molts and comes off.  The sheep will sometimes rub against the fence to help the process.  She has completely molted, so she’s looking really pretty.  The sheep who haven’t completely molted, don’t look as pretty.  Angel’s hair will get longer and form a thick coat, and then she’ll molt again.  My sister is always asking me to send her the hair, but it just blows away.  It’s not like it falls off in big chunks; although sometimes there are larger pieces.  The only hair we usually see is the stuff that is stuck to the fences, but it’s not that much; way too little to spin into yarn.

On a sad note, we lost all our new baby ducklings to a mongoose.  I almost didn’t write about it, because it was just so sad.  But this is farm life, and while we have a beautiful piece of property, sometimes things happen. We are reinforcing all the remaining duck mama houses to help prevent this from happening again.  We also have a number of traps set up.  Another mama had 5 ducks, and they’re all doing well.  We have two more ducks sitting on eggs now.  We always lose a few ducks during the season, either because of mongoose or some other animal, but we’ve never lost that many so quickly.

And finally, I finished making the jaboticaba liqueur I started about a month ago.  It made a little over 3 bottles.  It’s got an almost wine-like quality to it.  I haven’t quite decided if I like it yet.  I think with a little club soda and lime, I can make it a nice refreshing drink for the summer.

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Jaboticaba

 

 

 

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We have two jaboticaba trees on our property.  One has never flourished.  The other, however, when in season bears a ton of fruit.  Okay maybe not an actual ton, but a lot.  The jaboticaba grows on the trunk of the tree.  It’s odd looking.  It almost looks like some sort of wart or growth on the tree.  I actually know people who won’t eat it because of this very reason.  It is a shame for them, however, because the fruit is delicious.  It looks a lot like a dark purple grape, but the skin is much thicker.  When eating, you can eat the skin, but most people don’t as it’s a little tough and slightly bitter.  Rather you simply pop the whole thing in your mouth,  pop it open with your teeth and suck the pulp and seeds out.  Then you spit the skin and seeds out.  It doesn’t sound too attractive but it is really good.  People make jelly, wine and liqueurs out of it.  The wine process is a bit time consuming and to be honest I’m always nervous about the fermenting process, so I haven’t tried that yet.  We picked two large baskets full of the berries.  I made some jelly and am in the process of making the liqueur.  This jar will sit for a few months before I strain it and add a simple sugar syrup to taste.

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Jaboticaba can fruit year round if taken care of well.  This is our second batch this year.  Once ripe, they don’t stay fresh long.  So it’s important to pick quickly, else they’ll simply fall on the ground and rot.  Jaboticaba is native to Brazil.  It has high levels of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory properties, and anti-aging properties (who doesn’t want that??).  It is also a good source of Vitamin C, B1, calcium and phosphorous.