I could tell you that we were really “into” Elderberry Fest and that jelly-making was a priority, but this year it didn’t work that way. Hallie had to work on Friday and spent the day at her laptop. Mike, Clint, and Nick tramped the farm hunting birds in the morning and were happy to bag three “huns” and a dove.
A couple of weeks ago, I began to worry that this particular weekend might not be right for Elderberry Fest for one reason or another, so Mike helped me pick the berries, and I processed and froze enough juice for two batches of jelly. I really prefer to prepare the juice ahead of time anyway. Jelly-making seems much less labor-intensive if the picking and juicing is finished in advance.
Well – I could kinda see the handwriting on the wall. The group dynamic just wasn’t moving toward picking berries and making jelly. But -- you just can’t have Elderberry Fest without making some jelly, you know, so Friday afternoon, using my thawed elderberry juice, I cooked up a batch of jelly with Nick’s assistance.
Saturday morning Mike and Clint drove to the valley to ride dirt bikes and were away for several hours. Hallie, Nick, and I hiked into one of the gullies to inspect the elderberry bush there. Yes, the bushes looked bedraggled, probably because of the hot, dry summer, but I pointed out sincere berry clusters and assured them that we could find enough berries to make a batch of jelly. However, upon reflection, they decided they would prefer a more relaxed weekend and opted instead to carve pumpkins.
Well, I wasn’t surprised. I took the rest of my juice from the fridge and combined it with fresh apple juice (made myself from a blend of organic apples) and cooked up another batch of jelly.
Tomorrow – “Advanced-level Pumpkin Carving”