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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

Wednesday 09/14/2011 A century of pickle making in progress.

I guess one of the more interesting activities I engaged in this week was making more pickles with my 87 year old Mom. Ya, you are right, we have been making them all summer it seems. But this batch yesterday are no doubt my favorite of the year, or even years and here's why.

We are making sour pickles in a crock that my mother pulled sour pickles out of to eat during the late 1920's. My mother has been talking about making them for years. She secured the crock 20 years ago that was kept in the cool dirt basement of her childhood farmhouse on the outskirts of Augusta Maine from her brother who lived still there. She has been talking about those childhood pickles ever since I swear. But we had never made any. Well I discovered a neat recipe for sour pickles a few weeks ago and said it was time to give it a try. How she talked of wanting a snack during the Great Depression and allowed to go down in the dark damp cellar to bring up a huge sour pickle. Her father made them each year and kept them for months apparently in the cellar. They actually survived quite well during the Depression thanks to living on a farm. Her mother would gather fruit and such to barter for other needs. My grandchildren are so lucky to be connected closely to her. So I can't wait to hear her tell a pickles story to them in a few weeks when the pickles are ready.

Not much else going on this week. Unusually warm I guess is the main thing. Nary a frost in sight it seems. And hurricanes one after another marching by out at sea. We are having some very quiet time, well no birds or frogs, but plenty of crickets still though. I had a couple of inches in my rain gauge from last weeks storm. And how the ground has stayed wet all summer. My wife and I have both noticed how the front and back lawns are soft and kind of squishy to walk on. More like April lawn. So the deluges of May and June are still coming off the hill to my east and passing by on their way to the river.

There is an abundance of wild foods this year. Both the red and white oaks across the road from my house are dropping acorns this year. The apple and American cherry trees are loaded with fruit. Even the smallish beech tree in my back yard is bearing nuts this year. A first for that tree. Blue jays have been pulling off the nuts going on 2 weeks now. And all the fields are lush green about. The wildlife will go into this winter in great shape for sure. They are no doubt storing nuts for the winter as well. And I'm just about to put 4 big bags of salsa I made last evening into my freezer. Its good to keep up with the squirrels.


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