Tag Archives: Neighbors

Making Plum Preserves

Straining the plum preserves.

We hard a large harvest from one of our plum bushes this year! We purchased them from our County Extension Office as pencil sized twigs several years ago. The largest is now about seven feet tall. They are covered with sweet smelling white blossoms in the spring. I recently read that the type we have are called wild plums or sand cherries, among a few other names. They start to bloom after three years and produce fruit after four to six years. So we may have even more fruit next year if our other bushes kick in.

I made our first batch of plum preserves last week. I followed a recipe I found on-line which called for lime zest and juice to be added. I strained the final product through a colander which was a bit of work and had some waste. The result was tasty, if a little tart.

Just after that we went to our neighbor’s barn sale. She will be moving soon and was clearing out a lot of things. We will miss Shirley. She has been a good neighbor. And Zekie has certainly enjoyed chasing the geese off her pond. https://sanctuary-acres.com/2021/03/22/a-working-dog/ My husband and I had found a few items and were ready to leave the barn sale when we saw one last item we had to have. It was the colander type strainer with wooden pestle seen above. Our neighbor said she had used it for making applesauce. We knew that it would be perfect for making plum preserves!

I had four more pounds of plums from this week’s picking, so I made more plum jam this afternoon. This time I made plum cinnamon for one batch and the other was plum ginger with freshly grated ginger root. Both are delicious. I used the new strainer set up to remove the plum skins and it worked beautifully.

Two flavors of plum preserves.

I also made a peach custard pie this morning with peaches I purchased at a local farm stand. It was a productive day and I am happy we were able to take advantage of local produce.

Peach custard pie
Peach custard pie.

New Adventures

I am enjoying my first week of retirement. This morning I decided to take Zeke and Shelby for a walk down the road and back for some exercise and some training. We walked down to the township park which is about 3/4 of a mile away. On the way we stopped occasionally to practice sits, downs, and stays. The picture above was taken while practicing stays in front of the local church. They had this pretty garland up for Christmas and I thought it made for the perfect photo opportunity while we were working on holding a sit. The pups did very well, especially considering that the recycling truck was emptying dumpsters just a few houses away. Shelby was not a fan of the grinding and banging but she did hold her stay.

We live in a small, rural community and apparently people are active in the morning. I never knew this because I was at work. On our way home a lady opened her front door to greet us as we passed by on the street. When she first saw Shelby, she thought her dog got out because she has a sheltie too. Once she realized it wasn’t her dog, she opened the door anyway to introduce herself and say hello. We talked for several minutes and I’m sure we will talk again as we had lots to say.

The dogs and I walked a short distance farther and another lady driving by in a van stopped to say hello and introduce herself. She said she knew where we lived and that I had visited another nearby homebound neighbor with two of the shelties before. We visited for a couple minutes then went on our separate ways. I learned that she also lives nearby.

What a lovely morning getting to meet two neighbors that I had never encountered before. I think that I am going to like this different life outside of the work environment. It is foreign to me but that just means it is a new adventure.

This is Zeke shortly after we returned from our walk and training. When the lady stopped in the van, he wasn’t sure if this was ok or if he should protect me. I told him it was alright and as the lady and I talked, Zeke relaxed. He was a good boy. This was a relief because he can sometimes be reactive to people or dogs that he does not know. But his response this time was just right. All the activity and decision making apparently wore him out. He needed a nap, so crashed on the living room couch with his head on the pillow.

I can’t wait to see what adventures tomorrow brings!