Wednesday 4 September 2013

Final Run In

I am now on the final run in to my short break in the UK. I should be packing a bag really, so this post is a displacement activity. Liz is out at 'Knit and Natter' so I have rustled up myself some supper, walked the dogs in the rain, shepherded the geese home to their house and I have some Christy Moore burbling away on the speakers. It's actually been a lovely day, breezy but very warm, cloudy but with no rain (up till this evening).

We decided to indulge ourselves in a bit of blackberrying. I had already spotted some superb looking berries on the western and southern boundary hedges of John Deere Bob's silage fields but was giving these a while because only the apical berry of each bunch had turned black. Bob was happy to let us plunder this crop having no intention of picking them himself. We also have access to Vendor Anna's berries but we have not started on those yet.

Sungold tomatoes from the Poly Tunnel
It was easy picking and lovely companionable entertainment. Both of us can remember blackberry picking missions in our childhood. Mine was mainly in fields alongside the road where we grew up; it is all built on now, of course! I remember we had hooked walking sticks to help pull down the higher up bramble stems. Liz recalls going into the 'scrub' behind Portmarnock Beach's sand dunes, the whole family going out including Mrs S as a baby in a push chair, who they'd park under her own sprays of hanging blackcurrants so that she could 'help'. "She'd eat her own weight" recalls Liz. I am not sure how many berries made it to the communal collecting bucket and the journey home.

We managed in an easy hour, to collect 5.142 kg of good, plump, black fruit and Bob came and found us (on his tractor, inevitably) when we were almost done. He invited us back to his house for 'tay' and told us to keep coming back for more berries as often as we want. He has diabetes, so the really sweet blackberry recipes would be no good for him, but he is looking forward to a low-sugar, sharp, blackberry tart which Liz has promised him. The rest of the fruit has gone into the freezer for now but will be used in baking and possibly some blackberry wine. I sidelined a few this afternoon to have with a block of ice cream. Superb.

Newest neighbour, this Charolais calf, only days old
My third picture here is of some lovely yellow/orange "Sungold" cherry tomatoes now coming ready in the poly tunnel. I have three varieties of tomato in there, including a red cherry tomato and some self-seed 'volunteer' plants of uncertain parentage, scrounged from Mentor Anne's poly tunnel. We did not get the poly tunnel erected very early this year, nor prepared for planting, so these plants all had a bit of a late start. They did well through the heat of June and July generating a good show of flowers but did not seem to set much fruit. Then when we went all cloudy and cool in August, they seemed to suddenly go for foliage and height rather than fruit. I gave them a good prune a week or so ago leaving plenty of set fruit exposed to the maximum light and this, in the case of Sungolds, is now ripening well, but I still have no colour break in any of the red tomatoes. I am not sure why this is, but perhaps we can do better next year with an earlier start, sowing in March or April, perhaps. We live and learn.

1 comment:

Mr Silverwood said...

And she still has a taste for Blackberries now, Mrs S that is.