January 25, 2018

Summer time, and the living is easy, or so the song would have us believe. Personally I’m not so sure. At the moment my life involves getting up at the crack of dawn, taking Della dog for a walk, eating a quick breakfast, and then it’s on with the sunscreen and outside to pick produce. Before the unusually hot weather we’re having this year makes it too uncomfortable to stay outside for long. Then of course there’s always the odd weed to pull out, and dead-heading to do.

We’ve already waved farewell to the boysenberries for another year so currently the produce involves cultivated blackberries – which at least are thornless but are nowhere near as good as the wild variety, their toxic weed status in this country notwithstanding. Then it’s onto the raspberries. Too few of these as yet because the vines are still new but things are looking good for a decent autumn crop. The strawberries have had their spell of R&R and are getting underway again, and then there are capsicum, cucumbers – and those dilatory tomatoes, which are finally starting to ripen, albeit far later than we would normally expect. A straw poll suggests we are far from being alone in experiencing this tomato delay, which is some consolation, so perhaps the very late cold snap we had in November – when we thought we’d lost a couple of plants to frost – is what has set them back.

When the toms do finally get their act together harvesting will be time-consuming. There are loads, and several varieties. Which is wonderful, and I’m certainly not complaining, but it will mean more time out of the day to cook them up with onions, garlic, capsicum and whatever else in the fridge that needs a home, to freeze down for winter casseroles and pasta dishes. Maybe I’ll even dust off the dehydrator again and dry some, or try my hand at relish which did work rather well last year even if it was runnier than it should be.

But all this activity means my mornings are all but over, and barely a word is written, so all that easy summer living? Hmmmm, maybe not. Not this year at least.