Michele and blackberry pie

Blackberry Pie, Zucchini Every Day, and Everlasting Yeast

Blackberry Pie, Zucchini Every Day, and Everlasting Yeast

Chocolate Box Cottage Diary Vol. 1
Week 28: July 16, 2021

Happy third week of July! This week was characterized by blackberry pie, zucchini every day, and everlasting yeast. And ducks! Don’t forget the ducks.

After a fun and productive Project Week , Sam went back to work and I resumed the farm chores he had taken on while he was home.

Generally I get up in the morning and take care of the animals first thing, before my Bible reading and cup of tea. That includes feeding and letting the chickens out of the henhouse, saying good morning to the sheep and giving them a treat, checking on the rabbits, and watering the garden/pots/anything else that needs water. And don’t forget the cats and dogs.

The week began on Sunday with a potluck at church in honor of Joyce Dierking, a teacher and friend who returned from a 2-year service term in Papua New Guinea. I wanted to bake a pie, so I pulled a bag of last summer’s blackberries from the freezer.

frozen blackberries for pie
Blackberries are thawing in a bowl in preparation for pie.

I generally pick 8-12 gallons of blackberries in the summer to freeze. Sam helps on weekends when he can. Now that it is July, the remaining berries need to be used up.

Blackberry pie
It takes a bit of practice to learn to handle all butter pastry, but it’s worth it. No more Crisco.
zucchini every day
Hello, Charla!

Zucchini season has begun, and I couldn’t be more thrilled!

zucchini every day
One of our favorite ways to eat zucchini is simply sautéed in butter and olive oil in a cast iron skillet.
tucking tomato vines inside the cage
A caged Lemon Boy…tomato, that is.

Every so often I walk the tomato beds and tuck any stray vines inside the wire cages. This supports good quality fruit. Tomatoes in that rest on the ground are normally nibbled by hoards of hungry, big-eared field mice that call Chocolate Box Cottage home. 🐭🐭🐭🐭🐭🐭

progress on Sand Stars quilt
Sand Stars quilt is made by the English Paper Piecing method, or EPP

Adding more 60 degree diamond star blocks to the quilt in progress!

C.A.T salad
C.A.T Salad (corn, avocado, and tomato) with a simple lime vinaigrette.

On weekend evenings we either eat on the porch, if it’s cool enough, or at the tea table in the living room. It’s special enough to feel like a date. We love C.A.T. Salad with Coconut Battered Fish!

Zucchini Butter Pasta with Spiralized Potato Noodles
Another zucchini recipe is in the works!

Every year I try to invent at least one more crave-worthy zucchini recipe. This one looks promising, so watch for a recipe soon!

Here you go! Recipe for Spiralized Zucchini Butter Spaghetti here.

Dakota Pioneer Everlasting Yeast
Everlasting Yeast is the leavener German-from-Russia pioneers used to bake their bread.

I just washed the jar, and doesn’t it look presentable? Normally it would be coated with glops and globs. If you look closely you can see tiny bubbles in the everlasting yeast.

Everlasting Yeast Waffles
Heart-shaped waffles with apple butter, mmm!

These waffles are made with sourdough, or to be more precise, Everlasting Yeast, a leavener common with German-from-Russia pioneers in the Dakotas. Make your own Crock Pot Apple Butter with windfall fruit, farmstead fruit, or store-bought fruit.

Is it safe to come out?

One brave duck peeks out the henhouse door after his or her first night in the coop. My friend Jenna gifted us 5 Indian Runner ducks. I gave her some zucchini and I think we were both happy.

Porcelain Princess pumpkin
A baby pumpkin: Porcelain Princess

Porcelain Princess pumpkin is a hybrid, so I won’t be saving seeds from it, but will enjoy the beautiful pink 7-10 lb (3.5 kg) pumpkins for desserts and decorations.

Bee yard bouquet
St. John’s wort and wild daisies

Bee yard bouquet: St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) and wild daisies. These aren’t weeds, the flowers provide food for nearby honeybee hives. I use St. John’s wort in skin-soothing salves and make an herbal glycerite to combat the winter blues.

I hope you enjoyed a cup of your favorite beverage along with our visit. See you next time!




  • I enjoyed all your pictures and reading the captions. The quilt is beautiful.
    Do they still make Crisco? I haven’t used it for years.
    I used to grow and preserve my own pumpkins for pies. It was the best.

    • Thank you, Dianne. My hat is off to you for growing your own pumpkins for pie. I know the extra effort involved. Sure makes good pie! Yes, I do believe Crisco is still around. I don’t use it, either.

      • Crisco is still around (can you believe it?)…it’s the only thing Brian will use in his chocolate chip cookies.

        • Gah! That awful stuff! I’m laughing too, though, because we had a can of it in the house when I was growing up.


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