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Solving Problems with Nature - Naturally

Certified Wildlife Biologist
Wildlife Author - Wildlife Lecturer - Wildlife Photographer
Non-Lethal Control of Bats since 1983

NH Nature

New Hampshire Nature Notes by Eric Orff

Thursday 08/25/2011 Canning pickles today

Today is Dill Pickle Day. I'm headed down to my Mom's shortly to start canning my cucumbers as dill pickles. Tuesday was Bread and Butter Pickle Day. My wife and I made 39 pints by days end. A little over a week ago it looked my my cukes were a bust for the year. Then came the rain that seemed to drop cucumbers from the sky. And dilly beans to follow. Oh yes we, my 87 year old Mom and I, are canning today!

How wonderful it is to have the family matriarch to teach us how to can the fruit of my hard work in the garden. My mother digs out all that is needed to can our cucumbers, beans and tomatoes each year. She keeps the canning jars in her cellar and brings them up by the dozens to run through the dishwasher and be all prepared for when I arrive to can. Huge pots are out and usually filled with water to begin the process. Often if my garden has a bumper crop of cucumbers various other family members arrive to pickle up some cucumbers too. From my sister, son home from Virginia or my niece we all take our turns to have the master of canning teach us anew each year. Oh how her home swells with the hot fragrance of canning.

Monday I had the good fortune as a grandfather to have my youngest granddaughter 5 year old Erin here for the day after spending the night. We were up early and outside soon to catch the day at it's fullest. Good luck prevailed right off as we spotted a nice fat toad stuck in the cellar window well. This became her playmate for the day. We quickly had "her" the toad that is, safely settled into a bucket of water where she could rest between "playtimes with Erin". How she loved that toad. I was setting in the garage out of the sun trying to scan the paper while Erin was playing dolls in the bed of my pickup when she asked "Pap do you hear that noise?". Out of nowhere a bat laying on its back on the edge of my driveway with my dog hovering over it. I quickly had it picked up safely( I have been called NH's Batman for a reason) and held it so she could feel its wing as I described the makeup of a bat's wing. Bats are called "hand-wing" creatures. We quickly took the bat away from our house, and the cats and dog, to let it loose and within ten minutes it had flown off.

We were keeping track of our wildlife encounters for a while adding crickets, moths, spiders, ants and crows to our list through the morning. By afternoon she had changed into a princess dress to give our day a whole other direction, except that she soon had the toad out of the bucket and spent lots of time swirling about the driveway "dancing" with the toad. No doubt her "Prince" for the day.

We did get down to my mother's for an afternoon visit. That's when we discovered that last Friday's near four inches of rain in my gauge had showered the garden with huge numbers of cucumbers. We quickly filled three shopping bags full. And Erin pointed out a ton of beans also ready to pick. We had a wonderful time exploring the garden as well and came home with a pile of vegetables. Enough for Erin to proudly show to the toad.

By days end the toad was released far from the pitfalls of the cellar windows and nearby road giving her a satisfying rescue of not only a toad for the day but a bat as well. All in all a pretty good day.

I have spent much of the rest of the week, or will by days end today, canning when not busy with my NWF work of Fish and game Commission duties. How the week has flown by with some very exciting days ahead as hurricane Irene bears down on us. But I must say I just can't get the vision of a dancing Princess and toad out of my mind.


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