January 5, 2017
Summer. The word conjures up vision of blue skies, beaches, holidays and a relaxation from everyday routines. And every year I buy into that vision too, until the warm weather finally arrives, the garden wakes up, (especially the weeds) and the vegies, the berry vines, and fruit trees start to produce their bounty.
Naturally, the first few handfuls of strawberries are a joy, as is the first taste of everything we have growing here, but as the trickle becomes a flood the time devoted to picking – and preserving – eats further into already crowded days. It’s almost a relief when the flood gradually slows to a trickle once more, and then stops altogether for another year.
Not that I’m complaining. We’re fortunate indeed to have inherited a well established orchard of apple, pear, and hazelnut trees, as well as a large strawberry patch, and a good number of raspberry canes. Disappointingly, and despite looking indecently healthy, these canes produced almost nothing last year, and as a result of the exceptionally wet winter, promptly then turned up their toes, so we shall have to start again with what are to me the best of all fruits.
Currently though I’m knee-deep in boysenberries, which unlike their raspberry cousins, enjoyed all the winter rain and are now prolific. And all from just two cuttings taken from the vine at our previous house. But in the next few days, as they begin to slow down, the thornless blackberries will be ready, along with the tomatoes, so time spent harvesting and preserving is far from over, and probably won’t be for several weeks. What’s that saying about no rest for the wicked?!
So as I juggle the picking and preserving with researching and writing, I’ll look ahead to winter, and some time when I can enjoy snuggling up on the sofa with a good book or two, knowing there’s a freezer full of homegrown produce to see us through the cold days, until spring, and then summer with the inevitable fruit-picking, starts all over again.