What a scorcher – 31c today. I was only going to be up the allotment for an hour harvesting but………….
I just wanted to pick some blackcurrants that would be ripe to make some more jam (haven’t told you about the jam making yet as it will take a time to type it up and insert the photos).
It was just before 10am, the girls had laid me 2 eggs and eaten 1 – it was sticky inside so I knew! The ones that were not eaten were brown and strong!
The girls made a dash for the rhubarb patch and I gave them some redcurrants that I had used last night and they just loved the seeds.
I left them doing their usual scavenging, and eating gooseberries, the odd red and blackcurrant on the young bushes which only have a few on them, and some raspberries poking through the middle fence. Happy little noises from them as they found something else new to each and ‘talked ‘ about it to each other.
As I got to the fruit cage, the first thing I noticed were that the raspberries poking through the netting were ripe – so I ate a few – lovely and warm and juicy. Once inside the cage, I realised that there were quite a few, so thought I had better get a container and picked them – nearly 3lb at the weigh in this afternoon and just from a few canes.
Then I noticed so redcurrants still on the bushes and picked those – these were ones right in the middle of the bushes in the main stem but right at the bottom – so they took me about an hour to gather the 6lb that I did.
Whilst doing so I spied some nice ripe strawberries – decent ones this time – so had another 2lb of those. Which lead me around the back to the loganberry that has escaped through the netting – these are like great big elongated raspberries which remind me of a miniature bunch of grapes – 1lb of those too.
I finally got around to the first blackcurrant harvest by which time it was gone 1pm, so I gathered a few pounds and was going to ‘call it a day’.
I picked a lettuce for the girls, and some sorrel and gave them a call – I just love seeing them running along the path, in a funny waddle-gait and Ginger takes a run and a flapping low flight to get there first. They couldn’t wait to get in their run and get at the goodies I had previously put in there for them.
The lovely long sun shade cover, really works a treat and after a feed, they were lying on their sides in the shade dozing. Nice life for a chicken isn’t it. I too sat in the shade and just watched them, and looked and day-dreamed – for about 10 minutes before deciding to have a go at the last little patch of weeds that grow through the hedge at the field end. So I spent the next hour pulling up the tall nettles and cutting down the dock weeds and managed to clear it all. I can now get to my blackberry in the hedge that I put in a couple of years ago as a little tiny cutting and forgot about it. This year, despite this drought, it has really grown and looks wonderfully healthy with really big pretty pink flowers. It is a cultivar rather than wild, but has thorns – really big ones, but I am hoping that the big flowers will mean big berries. I just love apple and blackberry crumbles, pies, and jam – but doubt that I will get lots this year. Another nice surprise!
I covered up my big water tanks behind my shed with a large sheet of thick black plastic which I used to keep patches of my veggies beds clean when I am not using them. It should send out a message to whoever is using them. They still might have the cheek to use my green water but that has a tap on it – but I hope not – that is my last reserve of water and I am almost of out water now.
I discovered some more cut fencing – this time at the top of the strong 5ft high small gauge chicken wire that runs about 100 or so feet along the main vegetable area. It is buried a foot deep. At two of the posts the wire has been cut down from the top about 12inches and it was sticking out – that is how I noticed it. I thought it was dangerous as I could take someone’s eye out or give them a nasty scratch. So I have bent it back to make it safe. At least the rabbits haven’t learnt to pole vault yet, so the latest bit of creative wire cutting hasn’t made much difference. I think someone must have a new toy and just likes playing with it. I shan’t take any notice – I am sure that they will get fed up before I do!
It really is unbearably hot so you will forgive me for not putting in lots of photos or typing much tonight.
By the time I got home at gone 3pm and showered, we had a very late lunch – but it was worth waiting for – crispy home grown lettuce, salad leaves, herbs, potatoes, garlicky, herby chickens thighs, (organic chicken of course from my friend) but sadly not home grown tomatoes – yet!
Warm strawberries from up the lottie with evaporated milk (Pat loves it, but I would have liked cream or ice cream). He did make up for that, by bringing me a choc ice later though!
I wish I could sit still and just wilt like everyone else, but I had the fruit to deal with.
I have been making gooseberry jelly, redcurrant jelly, strawberry and redcurrant jelly; these are clear ‘jam’ which is great. They can all be used as jams, or used to glaze fruit, or meat, great for flans – and a spoon full added to gravy in the winter works wonders! Raspberry and redcurrant jam ingredients are all weighed and will be made tomorrow, followed by blackcurrant jam – and jelly perhaps – depending on the time and energy I have.
Some jars of gooseberry jelly that I have been making. I love the way the colour has changed from green to pink, and the fact that it is so clear that you can read a letter through it! - And no bits - but I might making gooseberry curd or jam which might have a few bits in it!
I also want to make mint and gooseberry jelly – wonderful with lamb as a sauce or for basting.
And of course I should mix up batches for summer pudding mixtures, and to freeze for winter use.
Off for a rest – well it is getting on for 10pm!