|Cherry toms and mango and kiwi chutney|
|On the left green/yellow tom chutney, on the right red tomato jam|
Having stripped the toms, I then got all carried away and completely cleared the poly tunnel of its jungle of rampant tom plants, pumpkins and squashes (Yes, we did find a custard squash, all of 2 inches diameter!) chickweed, strawberry runners, nettles, nasturtiums and flat leaved parsley. The strawberries I need to keep have been sheared of old leaves and runners, as has the parsley but everything else has been hauled up by the roots. It all got a bit embarrassingly out of hand this year as I did way too little weeding and pruning. Next year I will not grow anything even remotely rambling, spreading or climbing in there. I have compost heaps a mile high.
While I was in there, Liz converted my tomato haul into a green and yellow tomato chutney and rendered the red ones down as a 'tomato jam'; a 'slop' of toms, chillies, garlic and ginger which is like an extremely zingy salsa or relish. These will both be neatly bottled up in what is now our standard size and shape jar, the 454 g Lidl peanut butter or mayonnaise jar. We had a massive run to the glass bottle bank this week and got rid of mountains of weird and wonderful huge, tiny and odd-shape jars that we seem to have accumulated.
In other news the Marans hens have finally come off lay because they have come into moult. They look very woe-begone with their feathers all sticking out in tufts at strange angles. Bless them, they are 5-6 years old now and probably shouldn't be laying at all, but they both crank one out every 24 hours when they are in lay and kept us afloat this summer while our own Sussex Pontes had a bit of a holiday. One of the sheep (16A) has now got tame enough that he (it's a ram) likes to come up and have his head, ears and neck tickled if I go and stand quietly in the field. If I stop he nudges my hand gently with his forehead as if asking me to continue. Another comes close but dances away if I try to tickle her and the others stand at a respectful distance. I then get very questioning looks from the dogs who smell sheep lanolin on my hands. Love 'em.