A Cuppa Cobbler

I’ve been pilfering.  It’s not the first time.  Along the edge of our property grow wild blackberry bushes and Jess and I have helped ourselves to the berry multitudes the last three years.

Blackberry bushes

This week several were ripe enough to pick.  Believe me, they are not the easiest berries to attain.  The thorns protect them well.

Blackberries

Although smaller this year due to the drought, the purple stains on our hands promise a juicy treat.  Sadly, they are on our neighbors property.  I confessed my sin to her yesterday. She didn’t care.  Phew!

That gave me clearance for cobbler.  A Cuppa Cobbler.  With whatever berry you like.  After my latest poaching incident, I just happen to have two cups of blackberries in my fridge.

This is a pretty simple recipe.  It’s almost a cup of everything.  Similar to Truvy’s  Cuppa Cake in Steel Magnolias.

Cobbler Ingredients

Preheat the oven to 350 and butter a baking dish.  A pie plate is perfect.  Melt 1 stick of butter in the microwave.

Melted Butter

Now for the cuppa part:  Whisk together 1 cuppa self-rising flour and 1 cuppa sugar.  Add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.

flour sugar cinnamon

Whisk in 1 cuppa milk.

Cup of Milk

And 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla.  I hope you can read upside down.

Vanilla

Add the melted butter and whisk until blended.

Melted butter

Pour the batter into the pie pan then rinse and pat the berries until they are dry and sprinkle them over the batter.

Cobbler Batter

I had more berries than I needed.  Maybe a pie is in the works since I now have permission to pilfer petite purple palatable produce.  Three times fast, please.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar over the top. Not a lump like I did here.  SPRINKLE the sugar.

Sugar top of cobbler

Bake for about one hour or until golden and bubbly.  The edges are the best.

Blackberry Cobbler

Enjoy with a side of vanilla ice cream.  Delicious.

Cobbler with Ice Cream

Condensed version:

Ingredients:
1 stick Butter
1 1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup self rising flour
1 cup of milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups of blackberries or substitute with your favorite berry

Preheat the oven to 350 and butter a baking dish.  A pie plate is perfect.  Melt 1 stick of butter in the microwave.  Whisk together 1 cup of self-rising flour and 1 cup of sugar.  Add 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon.  Whisk in 1 cup of milk and 1/8 teaspoon of vanilla.  Add melted butter and whisk until blended.  Pour in baking dish.  Rinse and pat dry berries and sprinkle over the top of batter.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar over top of batter.  Bake for 1 hour or until golden and bubbly.

Summer: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly – Reversed

I like to save the best for last so let’s start with the ugly first.  Absolutely the worst thing about summer is the flies:  deer and horse.  The minute we set foot outside we are kamakazied by deer flies.  They swarm in unbeatable numbers around our heads.  They are slow so relatively easy to catch.  But seriously, who wants to swat one when it lands on your arm?  I’ve opted for a swipe/swat manuever to avoid the bloody splat on my skin.

I can’t walk the dogs anymore as we are dive bombed with every step.  When Mark comes in from the garage, he will often feel one crawling around in his hair.

Ugly enough for you yet?  How about this picture?  I’m sparing you a close up.

Fly trap

The black mass in the jar are hundreds of dead flies.  When the wind blows just right, the smell is putrid.  The traps are only a minor defense.  See poor Marigold?

Marigold

She came out to say hi to me but then beat it, bum and elbows, as fast as possible back to the barn!  We have an electronic sprayer in the barn which seems to provide some relief for the girls and I don’t have too much of a problem when I clean their stall.

Luckily, the addition of the goats has not added to the fly problem.  July just happens to be the worst season for deer flies.  We’ve always had them and they begin to diminish at the beginning of August.

Add the one inch horse flies which pester us in the pool and I’m ready for spring again.  We’ve made the horse flies kind of a game while we’re in the pool.  When any of us spot a fly, we yell, “Dunk!” and we all go under and come up splashing.  Hey, sometimes you have to improvise.

Now for the bad:  thunderstorms and fireworks.  I used to love listening to distant echoing thunderstorms.  Now they are a source of stress for me and panic for the dogs.  Especially Audrey, one of the poodles.

This is what she did to her brand new crate:

Dog Crate

Audrey’s fear takes hold at the slightest rumble be it thunder, gunshots or fireworks.  She trembles and shakes uncontrollably.  She is actually a good weather forecaster.  We usually know about an hour in advance of an approaching storm.

However, when we are at work, things get dicey.  She had recently destroyed two crates so Mark replaced one.  When he arrived home the other day, she had broken free of her new crate and scrambled over the dutch door into the main house.  Fortunately, she had just broken free and hadn’t had a chance to do any damage to herself or the house.  The medication I was using for her anxiety did not work.  I had to get something stronger.  So far, through two more thunderstorms and some fireworks being shot off near our home, she has been mellow and the new med seems to be working.  I hate to use the drugs but it seems, in Audrey’s case, the kindest thing to do.  And maybe I can go back to enjoying the milder thunderstorms.

Max and Charlie have heavy work schedules at  a nearby golf course.  Max cooks and Charlie does dishes and salads.  We’ve only been seeing them about once a week and we miss them.

But even with the flies, things that go BAM in the night, and busy schedules I do love summer.  The heat doesn’t even bother me.  And hot it is in Michigan.  We are having quite the heat wave.  Ninety to one hundred degree temperatures.

Mark does not like the heat.  He has been working in the garage everyday building the milking stanchion and the chicken coop.  The birds are getting restless and big so Mark is in a time crunch.  And much like when he was building the barn the weather is not cooperating for him.

Rooster Cogburn

Columbian Wyandotte

Mark Building Chicken Coop

On the good side, Mark and Jess take lots of swimming breaks.

Jess in Goggles

Since it’s been so hot, I’ve been able to join them on a number of occasions.  I will spare you a picture of me in my swimsuit as that would not fit in the “good” category.

The heat brought a surprise visit from DGG Karen this week.  Her power went out so she stayed overnight with us to beat the heat.  Jess even got Karen in for a swim.  It was fun for us girls to chill out.  We watched Oklahoma, ate hot dogs, talked and snacked.  Best day this week!

Other goods?

I can bathe the dogs outside with the hose.

Dog Bath

It’s a much easier process then hauling my cookies into town to the Dog-O-Mat.  I save time and money.  Although, I do miss my friend, Beth.  She is the owner of the Dog-O-Mat and we have great chats when I’m there.

Another good was watching Jess learn and play softball this year.

Hit.

Softball Hit

Safe at First.

First Base

Second.

Second Base

Third.

Third Base

Heading Home.

Home Plate

The girls rotated positions in the field but they all loved to play catcher so they could wear the armor.

Softball Catcher

Jess played coach pitch this year and her team did well.  She had a great coach and the moms were a fun crowd.  It was a good kick-off to the summer.

Jessie also went for a hair cut and on the spur of the moment, giving up her Rapunzel dream and without any prompting from me, donated her hair to Locks of Love.  I’m one proud mommy.

Short Hair

It didn’t hurt that Charlie promised to get Jessie ten presents for her birthday if she would cut her hair.  I think that was a motivating factor for Jess.  I make out in the bargain as well since I don’t have to spend ten minutes in the morning brushing her hair.

Summer has only just begun for me.  I’m looking forward to Jess’s birthday, taking care of all our new additions, painting the coop and stanchion, and a few vacation days spattered here and there.  It’s a busy season for sure.  Summer brings the plans set in motion months ago to fruition.  It’s a season of progress and preparation.

Rainbow

And a sense of peace from a day well done.

What is your summer good, bad and ugly?