Thursday, 31 July 2014

Fruits Of Labour

August is hours away and I always get reflective as we're leaving July. I just can't help feeling that we must start soaking in every morsel of heat and brightness as we're on the countdown to winter. In some ways August is my favourite month of the year: That urge I have to cling to the summer and get locked in there no longer exists in me, the feeling that it will be nice to sit by the fire settles somewhere in my mind while the thoughts of paying for heating haven't yet begun to terrify me, the weather is usually nice and the gardening slows down, we've done what we could with what it yielded and, if we didn't, then it's too late. We still have blackberries to come, of course, but in our garden they arrive on their own, not in a chorus of things shouting to be picked. I also like to think of the autumn in terms of what we need to plant along the lines of trees and bushes. I have a number of plants that I need to move too. We have been enjoying our onions and potatoes for weeks now and have plenty more to keep us going. It's not just the freshness I appreciate, it's also that when I'm grocery shopping it doesn't include lugging potatoes to the car and then out of the car. Digging up what you need for a meal is such a pleasure. Between my dad and our neighbour we have maintained large stocks of cucumbers which the children decrease by at least one a day.

I think we used every berry going this year. We had inordinate amounts of strawberries again and I had the good sense this year to freeze a load. As things stand today we still have 800g of strawberries and 300g of blackcurrants and gooseberries.

Sadie and Holly really got into the picking this summer. As per last year, Holly was more interested in just eating while Sadie and I worked but she was interested. Of our strawberries, gooseberries and blackcurrants it's the blackcurrants Sadie loves and I think it's safe to say that a lot of her summer was spent sitting by a bush and indulging.



I found the two of them very helpful in the elderflower-collecting department. They were close to fierce, not one head escaped. I hadn't a drop of cordial left to freeze but it was delicious so we can't complain. I found this recipe over at My Make Do And Mend Year and was a little sorry then that I drank so much cordial because I'd have made a lot more cake if I'd kept any.

We came out with around 40 jars of jam and it is yum. A few jars were liberated by callers....I know
who you are! I prefer the gooseberry jam but Martin and Holly prefer the blackcurrant so I'm giving the blackcurrant away when anyone asks for jam!!!! The crows got away with quite a lot of gooseberries which I'm maaaad about. I absolutely hate crows and am seriously afraid of them. I can't tell you exactly why because I won't put it in writing (it's to do with a particular movie that scared me so much I won't say the same of it) but they did peck holes in our polytunnel plastic within a week of it going up and also they are enormous. One of my favourite movies/series of movies is Planet Of The Apes, not just because I think they are fabulous (and might I say the use of the song The Weight by The Band was pure genius in Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes) but because I think someday that will happen...except it'll be Planet Of The Crows where the crows rule earth and force humans to throw massive amounts of chips and burgers in bins so the crows can get even bigger, aaaaaaaaaaagggggggghhhhhh!

Here's my painting offering, not of crows which I would be too afraid to paint but of my two helpers (which I used to put in inverted commas but now don't because they are actually very helpful) at work:









6 comments:

  1. Love the paintings of your little helpers and it's great that they really do help now xx

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    1. Really and truly it is (but let's just not talk about how they also 'help' themselves to anything in the fridge, whether or not it will spill all over the place as they remove it!!! Thank you xxx

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  2. Snap on your opinion of crows - my fear/hatred also goes back to having seen "that" film when I was way too young! We also share an opinion on the seasons. I love the heat of the Sumner but once the kids go back to school I look forward to the nights closing in and lighting the fire. I love watching the seasons change through the trees outside my house. :-)

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    1. I actually feel scared now that you've recognised the movie
      ..I think I was 28 or 29 when I saw it and haven't been right since. And I only watched to the end because I convinced myself there would be a happy ending that contained a rational explanation! Oh yes to watching the changes via the trees.

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  3. Thank goodness I haven't seen that film!!! Not a fan of crows, but a seriously impressed fan of your garden crop and jams and cordials. Sadly, I don't live close to you or I would be liberating you of many a jar, har har The painting are simply fab xxx

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    1. I'd say we're only trotting after you in terms of what you got out of your garden, Emily. OH PLEASE don't mention that film!!!!

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