Ringmaster Steve of Sunbeams from Cucumbers (now there's an idea) has put together a great show. Check it out!
Watch for Circus of the Spineless #13, September 30, at Deep Sea News.
Thomasburg is a small hamlet in the Municipality of Tweed in eastern Ontario. Behind my home here is a fallow field, swamp, cedar bush, old apple orchard and woods. Almost every day I take the same walk through this territory to see who's been by, and try to figure out what they've been up to.
To make the juice: rinse the fruit clusters, cover with water, bring to a boil, boil gently for about 10 minutes, crush through a sieve, strain though a jelly bag, or three or four layers of cheesecloth in a colander. (Get a jelly bag!) I cooked up the sumac with a few apples because I intended to use both in the jelly anyway, and to check the cooking time (until the apples are soft). I was nervous about both how it looked and how it smelled, but I went ahead. The juice will keep in the refrigerator for a few days.The jelly is delicious! Mine is a little soft, either because of the commercial juice I added or because it boiled over (use a large enough pot!!), so might not have boiled hard for the full minute. But I like it soft, so am content. Jelly depends partly on the pectin content of the fruit you start out with, something best determined by how the jelly turns out.
Make your apple juice the same way--for small apples, cut off the blossom and stem end before cooking; larger ones, cut in quarters.
7 cups juice:
3.5 cups sumac juice
2.5 cups apple juice
1 cup commercial apple-cranberry juice (which had been sitting in the fridge), added to make up the 7 cups.
The proportion of apple to sumac juice was arrived at by the amount of each I had ready. The commerical juice was a whim I had. Different proportions and different bits of whimsy would probably work out as well.
In a large pot, stir in one packet of pectin crystals, bring to a boil, add 8 cups sugar and boil hard for one minute. Take off heat, skim, bottle and seal, according to whatever system you use for this.
Other interesting nesting sites of the house wren have been in a fish creel or watering pot hung on the side of a shed or fence, rusty tin cans in garbage piles, old threshing machines and other farm machinery, in tin cans, teapots, and flowerpots left on shelves of sheds, in a soap dish, in old boots and shoes, and even in a bag of feathers. Outdoors they have been known to nest in the nozzle or main part of pumps, in the hat or pockets of a scarecrow, in an iron pipe railing, in a weather vane, in holes in a brick wall or building, and in a coat hung up at a camp site. One pair of wrens built their nest on the rear axle of an automobile which was used daily. When the car was driven the wrens went along. Even under these most unusual circumstances the eggs were successfully hatched (Northcutt, 1937).