Tag: summer

Summertime and the living ain’t so easy

At least not when the temperatures are as warm as they’ve been this summer, and there’s a lot of harvesting to be done. I’m rather over getting up at 5.30 every morning to walk Della dog, and then start the picking.

Breakfast has become a hasty meal for the duration, fitted in somewhere along the line before it gets too hot.

We had an abundance of boysenberries this year – which is excellent as I love them but they are a pain to pick. Literally. The raspberries are chugging along quite steadily and will continue to do so for at least another four months due to the different varieties we have growing, one of which is an autumn produce. All very yummy and delicious but picking them is also a pain so for these two berry varieties long sleeves are essential and in the weather we’ve been enjoying this is not comfortable. Hence starting as early as possible.

Despite removing some of the thornless blackberry vines last year we still have one, and of course there are plenty of berries on it which are just ripening nicely. At least I can strip off to short-sleeves when picking them.
And the plums have started as well so it’s all on to beat the birds although we did cover the greengage tree after the parrots decided to breakfast on these plums a few days ago. This is the first year we’ve had fruit, and they are prolific – as are the plums that pollinate the greengage – the Prune D’Argan which according to the book we have is the oldest known plum tree in the world.

Last but not least are the tomatoes, which are a bit late getting underway but have now started, and there are loads, so the kitchen bench is currently full of bowls of assorted produce that I shall have to work up enthusiasm to do something with.

So where is John in all of this? Well, he’s not been slouching around. All the watering is down to him – which includes all those native trees and bushes he’s been nurturing so carefully, which he’s grown from seed or cuttings, as well as the rest of the garden. For some it’s a hand watering job with buckets of water.

So as I swelter over picking produce I keep reminding myself I will appreciate all this bounty in the winter months when I go to the freezer(s) and from the selection that’s there, pick out a container of some of this home-grown produce to make those winter-warming casseroles and crumbles.

Summertime

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.