Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

Blackberry Bliss

Monday, July 14, 2014

DISCLAIMER:  An addictive blackberry jam recipe can be found at the bottom of this post.  The owner of this blog can in no way be held responsible for your making and eating too much of this delicious, silky, yummy, sweet summer in a jar...

....nom nom nom...

We got our first berries of the season last Wednesday (July 9th) and have been picking them by the handfuls every evening ever since. The Triple Crowns are the giant, fat berries and the Arapahos are the smaller ones.


Sometimes they don't make it into the house. Mmmm...fresh picked blackberries are the best! 

Hey, wait a minute....I pick them and J. eats them.  Something's wrong with this picture!

But J's favorite way of eating them is to let them marinate in the frig for awhile in some milk and sugar. 


Me?  I love blackberry jam but, even though I'm picking like mad, they're disappearing and I don't think we're going to have enough to make any.  But I'm going to rectify that situation this fall because I'm rooting a whole mess of new plants that I'll be transplanting to the new lots this fall.  Did you know they're insanely easy to root?  Just bend the end of a cane over, cover it with some dirt and weight it down so it doesn't move.  The plant will root itself.  Find a friend who has blackberry plants...you'll never have to buy them!

Anyway, you know what else is easy?  Making blackberry jam.  So, even though I may not get to make any this year, I thought I would share my canning recipe with you.

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"Summer In a Jar" Blackberry Jam (canning method)
makes 3 pint jars (or 6  8-oz jars)

Ingredients
5 cups blackberries (washed and drained)
7 cups sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice (optional)
2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)
1 (1 3/4 ounce) package dry pectin 

Directions
  1. Measure out the berries and then wash them to remove any debris, ants, etc.
  2. If you don't want seeds in your jam, you'll need to use seedless blackberries or de-seed them by running them from a food mill OR mashing them through a strainer into a large pot.  The seeds will stay in the strainer!
  3. If you don't de-seed them, you can mash them directly in a pot.  For this recipe, you'll want to use at least an 8 quart pot.
  4. Heat on high and add the pectin to the berries a little at a time, stirring constantly until the berries come to a full boil.
  5. Add the sugar all at once, continuing to stir until the berries return to a full boil.
  6. Boil for 1 minute.
  7. Remove from heat and skim any foam from the top, if necessary.
  8. Ladle into clean, hot pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch space at the top.
  9. Wipe the rim of the jar and put canning lids and rings on fingertip tight.
  10. Place the jars in the prepared canner (water should already be hot) and make sure the water is 1 inch above jars.
  11. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
  12. Remove the jars and set them upright on a towel away from drafts until cool (overnight works great).
  13. (optional) Just try to keep some of this to enjoy in the dead of winter.  Seriously...just try it.  It never works here at Cranky  Puppy! 
 I've shared this post with this week's Homestead Barn Hop.  Go check it out!

A Quick Pup-date

Friday, July 11, 2014

Domino, still wearing his sporty green bandage from the vet but happy to be home!
 
Good news, good news!  First, thanks to all of you that expressed concern over Domino's recent surgery.  Everything seemed to go well and he is now resting comfortable at home with "mom and dad" where we can keep an eye on him for the next week and a half.  Keeping him inactive and from trying to jump up and down off furniture is going to be a challenge, because he loves to sit half on the back of the loveseat and half on my shoulder when I'm sitting there.
 
If it isn't one thing it's another...I pulled a muscle in my back 2 nights ago and can barely move.  Hopping into the Jeep to drive to the vet and picking the dog up and down is a challenge, to say the least.  And right before we were going to spend the weekend hoisting solar panels, too!  Poor J...he's staying home today to take care of both of us.
 
I'm trying Tylenol pain crème, heat patches, heating pad and OTC pain meds.  Anybody got a good remedy for back pain?

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