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Gardening in America
October and My Hobby Farm
by Nancy Fletcher

PyracanthaThe Standing Bear Pow-wow has come and gone and we were thankful for the harvest from my little hobby garden. An untimely bug brought me down from my haughty ways in a hurry and quite frankly, for a while, I believed it was for good. I recovered enough to cook for the gathering around my mother's camp but not strong enough to attend because of the cool weather.

Folks called and told me how they enjoyed the apple Cobbler , fry bread, dried corn soup and whatever else came from the garden.

Now into October there has not been a frost or a freeze yet. We wait until there is before beginning to rake this acre for mulch to pile on the garden. The thrill comes next spring after winter has done its job on the bushels of dried material.

The orange Pyracantha, Marigolds, yellow Mums, orange Zinnia's, bright red Crab Apples have all come together in a color display which seems to be purposely designed, but in actuality was not. It just sort of happened that way. I equate that with the happy accidents to sometimes happen on a canvas. Just leave it alone and don't question how it happened.

When I ordered a load of dirt to build a small contour to catch the run off from heavy rains I was worried because of being called to town for an errand. I told my husband if that man comes while we are gone no telling what he will do with that soil. When we came home, the contour was exactly and neatly in the right place, where instructed to be. Because we had missed the delivery, we had to drive to the home of the person selling us the earth.

As we drove into the drive of a neat little farm house, there was a very small dump truck setting in the drive. Upon paying the tiny little woman I told her, "Please thank your husband for delivering and putting the contour in just the right place."

She replied. "Oh, I did that, this is my business."

My thoughts were, "Oh, I see." Instead I said, "Oh that makes me feel so good" "Now I'm not feeling so masculine with doing all this digging and working around the yard."

Definitely there was nothing masculine about this petite, delicate, attractive woman.

Pyracantha Jelly Recipe

Place 7 cups washed pyracantha berries in a very large pan with 5 cups of water. Simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. Strain through a cloth.

Measure 3 cups berry juice, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 7 cups sugar into a very large pan. Over high heat, bring to a boil, stirring constantly.

Immediately stir in one bottle liquid pectin, bring to a full rolling boil and boil hard for one minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, skim off foam and pour into sterilized glasses. Cover With 1/8 inch melted paraffin.

Prepared berry juice may be refrigerated or frozen prior to making jelly.


When gathering the berries be sure the bush is Pyracantha and not Bittersweet.  Bittersweet also has orange berries but they are said to be poisonous.  I don't know if they are but, best to be safe.  Bittersweet grows on a bush like plant and in little clusters with small stems. Pyracantha berries grow up close to the branch. These branches shoot out in spikes as opposed to drooping over like the Bittersweet bush.

Wear a pair of heavy leather gloves because the Pyracantha bush has sharp thorns.  Also, there could be tiny spiders on the bush. Shake the branch well before you reach for the berries, plus the heavy gloves will protect.

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