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black caps1

Call them what you may….   the photo is of ripening black caps otherwise known as black raspberries.  And yes, it is too early for berries… but since it is planting season.

I’ve noticed that a lot of people find my blog while searching for info on growing berries, but also looking for info on why their berries have changed in color or taste resulting in something different than the original plants. I’ve discussed berries in posts for several years now but don’t know if I’ve tagged the post with a category so here goes some new tips.

Before moving to the area we live in now we cared for hundreds of berry bushes, sold them via a stand at the end of the driveway and to local markets.  One of the things we quickly learned is that if you have different types of berries you do not want to plan them near each other.   If you do you may end up with some hybrids that may be delightful but also some that may be not so delightful.

We’ve had berries that didn’t quite taste like blackberries nor raspberries,  some that were a mix of black and red caps, occasionally with the best qualities of the two.. and some that tasted so bad only a few critters would touch them.

How far apart to plant them?  I’ve read somewhere 100 ft.  But, I don’t know for sure.  My advice is to do a bit of research and plant in different areas.  If you have a small yard as I do now, choose just one and stick with it.  I have a few black caps here, seedless and I’ll be encouraging those to spread.  If  bear, birds or deer don’t get to them first I hope to have some to enjoy for 4th of July.

For the last few weeks I’ve been checking on the progress of new lambs whenever I go to the monastery.  Sometimes there were only a few ewes and lambs in the pens, other times there were many.  Last I heard there were close to 200 new lambs and lambing season was just over.  Granddaughter Jessica went with me one day and took most of these photos.

Ewe with twins
Ewe with triplets
Jess says this is her favorite photo. Br Pierre carrying a lamb.
A ewe not sure where she wants to go and looking for her baby
How to coax a ewe to go where you want her… carry her lamb so she’ll follow.
Ewes trying to sort out which lamb is which. Somehow they manage.
Lamb peeking through the pen
Took this photo of a very sleepy lamb with my phone.  It kept trying to look at us but couldn’t keep his eyes open.

While Easter is not about new clothes, candy, nor colored eggs, it is usually around this time that the weather is warmer, allowing us to celebrate and play outdoor and wear new spring clothing.   We’ve had much rain the last couple of months.. more than twice what we normally do for the month of April, but it was just warm enough to spend some time outdoors.

Saturday afternoon we dyed eggs.  The kids did theirs by dipping their eggs in food coloring which resulted in very bright and colorful eggs.

I experimented dyeing eggs using patterned silk fabric. One of the  photos show the eggs wrapped in the colorful fabric and then another layer of fabric to prevent the colors from touching the other eggs. I forgot that blown eggs want to float in water and so I put a trivet on top of the eggs to keep them submerged while dyeing.  The next photo shows the finished eggs. The colors and patterns didn’t end up as clear as I liked but I think not too bad.

While the eggs dried we went to Mt Saviour Monastery which is a few minutes away to see the lambs.  Jess took quite a few photos and so I’ll show them in the next post.

Saturday evening we went to Easter Vigils and Rosie’s Confirmation at a nearby church.

Sunday  up at 3am for Easter Vigil service at 4 am and then breakfast at Mt Saviour Monastery.  Then home in time for an Easter egg hunt before the kids went off to church with my daughter.   Jess, being taller had an easier time finding her eggs.

I had to smile when I saw what Connor was wearing for Easter.  Don’t know where he got the shirt, but is it called a Guayabera in Spanish.  It is often worn in place of a shirt and tie in Latin American countries and tropical islands.  My Dad, Enrique used to wear one and my sons wore them when they were little.

At Easter dinner Connor asked if  he could say Grace.  At 5 years old his prayers wander a little and can get long but we don’t mind at all.

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