Rabbits in the rhubarb

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Wild mother rabbits choose some strange places to make their nests!  We are pretty sure there are lots of rabbits living under our yard and garden, but one mother bunny chose the rhubarb patch (near our back door) to make a very shallow nest and house three baby bunnies.  When the dog found them, I managed to get one, but it only lasted about three days in my care.  I gave it my best shot, and I thought it was doing well,  but then it took a bad turn.  I just hope that mother rabbit chooses her nest site more carefully next time, or at least makes the nest deeper under ground. 

It sounds like fall outside, although the weather is certainly still summer time.  What a great summer we’ve had, weather-wise, and after last year’s unrelenting heat and drought, I sure appreciate the milder temps and timely rainfall we’ve had this year.  The corn is ripening, as are some Cherantais melons that I can’t wait to try!  We’re having delicious heirloom tomatoes — some huge specimens, as Wendy would say, of Hungarian Heart, Brandywine, and Hillbilly Potato Leaf.  The pole beans are securely wound around the cornstalks, and I’m finally seeing blooms, so beans should soon follow.  I think I planted speckled cranberry beans there, which are good for fresh eating and drying for soup beans. 

Today I have my second batch of Bettie Mac’s bread and butter pickles soaking, Lowell is stacking part of our winter wood supply, and the goats and chickens are happily roaming near the barnyard.  It’s always a sight to see the hens fan out like a determined chicken search party when they are released into the pasture each day.  Little Bareback (missing feathers) always hops down by my feet to see if I have any treats to hand-feed her; she’s near the bottom of the pecking order, and gets chased away from goodies.  I think the only chick below her in the order is the one remaining baby from the mama hen’s last brood.  She gets desperate enough to risk her neck in the goat’s grain trough, in hopes of some sweet feed leftovers.  The broody hen has one week to go on her clutch of 10 eggs.  I gave up and put her in a private room when she decided to brood again.  I’m hoping for at least five or six chicks this time!

Back to pickles — I’ve made dills for Lowell, limes for my niece Cara, and bread-and-butters for me!  I had to ask my sister-in-law Frances for the b-and-b recipe, as I couldn’t find it anywhere . . . shortly after she e-mailed it to me, she gave me an old Farm Journal cookbook of my mom’s, and right there on the inside front cover is the recipe, in Mom’s handwriting!  She compiled it from several different recipes, and I’ve always loved it — sweet, cold, spicy with mustard and celery seed — and the onions in it are the best part!  I think Mom would be happy that I’m continuing some of the canning traditions she followed. 

Hopefully next post I will be able to add pictures of the new baby chicks!

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