Jam, Jam, Thank You, Ma’am
It has been a busy few days here at Good Life Ranch. We celebrated the fourth in style on the third with the rest of the town of Campbellsville. The Campbellsville/Taylor County Fourth of July Festival is renowned throughout Kentucky. Highlights included, Larry Like Lincoln (an Abraham Lincoln impersonator), a free breakfast at Campbellsville Christian Church, artisans and crafts people, stump speeches by local and national politicians including Rand Paul, a photo contest in which Geoff won first prize in three of the six categories, and a parade featuring children driving automobiles, antique tractors, baby pageant winners, classic cars, hot air balloons, a marching band, the mayor, and the south’s premier Elvis impersonator. One surprising participant in the parade was U.S Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, since I am not a huge fan of either party I am not quite sure what the relationship is between the Tea Party and the GOP. But the Tea Party’s golden boy and the GOP’s Senate Leader in the same parade makes for the single most conservative parade I have ever attended. I have a lot to get used to here.
If I were throwing a parade I would invite all of my new Amish friends, because they are the coolest. So far we have only met one set of non-Amish neighbors, everyone else who has stopped by has been Amish. We’ve also become fans of a local Amish farm who sells fresh produce everyday in the parking lot of the Lowes in town. Everyone we’ve met has been super friendly, and considering the vocation of our farm’s previous owner, I think our neighbors are relieved to have us here.
Yesterday we had a locksmith out to the property to re-key all of our locks. We decided It would be easier for us to operate if every door didn’t have a different key, and we decided we’d feel a little more comfortable knowing that the doors had brand new locks. Security isn’t that big of an issue for anyone out here, but we figured getting the new locks put in was the responsible thing to do. The locksmith was very efficient and very hilarious. He told me every joke about Texas people he could think of, and as he was leaving, he mentioned something that has changed my life. He asked us if we had an ARGO, and since we did not even know what one was we said, “No, what’s and ARGO?
ARGO: An 8-wheel drive all terrain and amphibious vehicle with a wide variety of uses including farm uses. I have made a commitment to the environment and to living more sustainably, so I have to continue to research this vehicle. But I am pretty sure it is the multipurpose farm vehicle of my dreams. We have two tricky areas on the farm, one—the giant ridge top behind our house, two—the wetlands area on the other side of the pond. With an Argo, there is no limit the ways we could explore and maintain these areas. The Argo can go directly from driving on land to driving in water, and it can handle everything in between. I am not saying we will get one. In fact, I am declaring right now that we can’t afford one. But, I am saying that this thing exists and it looks like the coolest thing ever.
Inspire by the locksmith’s talk of exploration (by the way he offered to bring his Argo out to our property so we could see what one was like) Geoff and I decided to brave the jungle and try a drive up to the top of the ridge. Everything was really overgrown, but the path up to the top of the ridge used to be the old state highway back in the early 1900s, so there are parts of it that never get completely grown over. Geoff expertly drove the four-wheel-drive truck up to the top, something that I am definitely not comfortable doing. I’ll drive the truck anywhere on pavement or pavement-like surfaces. But going straight up or down a hill freaks me out. Berry basket in hand we made the most of our trip to the top of Chicken Gizzard Ridge. We came home with five cups of blackberries (enough for seven jars of jam and one fresh cup of berries) and about two cups of wild blueberries. Scooter and Bailey had a great time as well, and we learned that Scooter has an almost pathological fear of riding in the truck. We coaxed him in at the house, but when it was time to leave the ridge, Scooter would not ride. He dutifully followed the truck all the way down, but wouldn’t set foot in the cab. That kid is a nut.
Since Geoff had previous jam making experience he took the lead in our tag team assault on the berries. We found a good recipe on line and put both our new and salvaged canning equipment to work. Only time will tell if we are successful jam canners or not. I hope we live J.
Each day I am becoming a better farmerlady. I’m becoming freakishly strong and gaining skills that I never even knew existed. And now it’s time for lunch.