Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘harvest’

Lughnasa.

In Garden, sustainable living on July 31, 2012 at 9:38 am

As we head into August we remember the festival of Lughnasa, one of the great Celtic cross quarter festivals. A time to harvest the offerings from the land and hedgerows. A time to reap the rewards of our work in the garden. A time of abundance, of preserving the bounty and stocking up our larders for the coming Winter.

For as sure as night follows day the seasons are changing too. The wheel of the year continues…the cycle must be completed. Already some plants are starting to show Autumn hues…

 

 while others are still full of colour and vibrancy. But very soon they too will move onto the next phase of their yearly cycle. As all life on this planet must… 

Here in Ireland we awoke this morning to hear of the death of Meave Binchy, a wonderful author and journalist. At just 72 it seems she has been taken too early, but obviously it was her time. Meave was an amazing individual who despite having massive success, she sold 42 million books worldwide, remained a kind and warm hearted person. Always appreciative of her fans she treated each and every one as a cherished friend. She could teach us all a thing or two.  

Here in Arigna we are revelling in the abundance of produce from the garden. The Onions in the bed above will soon be ready for harvesting, hung in braids in the shed for use throughout the Autumn and Winter. The flowers are self seeders from the compost that was dug in here last Spring. I must remember to pull the Poppies out before they spread their multitude of seeds everywhere. There are lots of berries to be harvested this year. This is ongoing as they are ripening slowly  because of lack of sunshine. That makes it easier in a way as there is less urgency about the harvesting. Blackcurrants and Gooseberries have given great harvests. I freeze them in 1 kilo bags which is ideal for making small batches of jam and chutney. This produce, as well as being for our own use, forms part of our income as I sell it at local markets throughout the year. Something to keep me busy during the long dark days of the Winter.

I seem to be focused on the changing seasons this morning. The dull grey, windy day that it is is not helping the mood. What has happened to our Summers? I’m off now to light the stove and warm up the house. No berry picking today as I just can’t bear that wind which is surely going to bring us more rain later.

As July progresses…

In Garden, sustainable living on July 19, 2012 at 6:41 pm

everything is looking lush and green and fresh …a definite benefit of all that rain. The fedge we planted back in April has really taken off. Actually all the trees and shrubs have put on lots of growth this year. The weather has’nt been too bad the last couple of days. Grey and overcast still but not so much rain.

  The Mrs Perry apple tree planted almost 4 years ago has produced fruit for the first time. About 15 apples…looking forward to trying them. They are a dual purpose fruit.

At Mrs Perry’s feet Feverfew is in flower. A few leaves eaten every day is said to give relief from migrane. Thankfully I don’t get migranes… I do like it’s little daisy flowers though. It self seeds like mad. The purple leaved plant is Orach…a stray from the compost I think. It is edible and adds colour, if not much flavour, to salads.

By the garden gate Phygelius is in flower. One of my fave shrubs…commonly called Cape Fuschia…it is easily propogated by rooted suckers.

Here’s another one in the long border. There’s also a creamy coloured one which has just finished flowering. I shall be propogating more of these to spread around.

Fuschia is also in flower at the moment. I just love this little shrub which grows wild around here. It is another plant that is easy to propogate from cuttings.

In the hedgerows the Bramble is showing lots of flowers…a good Blackberry harvest looks likely. I just love Blackberries…combined with Granny Smith Apples to make the most delicious jam…lovely in tarts too. The joys of Autumn yet to come.

Don’t know what Freddie could smell as we came back from our walk. He stood like this for several minutes just sniffing the air…eyes closed. Cute!

Abundance.

In Cooking, Foraging., Gardening, sustainable living on September 15, 2011 at 10:53 am

Every year at this time we have a ritual of going to pick Black Plums at our former neighbour’s place. Don’t know the variety of these Plums but they are a cooking variety which the owners brought from their native Germany. In Germany they are known as a Plum for using in Plum Cake.

As yesterday was a nice dry day it was designated the Plum picking day. Other neighbours came along too so it evolved into a little social event. The recent wind had broken some branches which had to be cut out. As these were from the crown of the tree they were laden with lovely ripe fruit. It made the picking easier and quicker, not that we were in any rush!

This lovely big basket of Plums would grace any harvest celebration table. Some were to be used for a big Plum Crumble last night.

In less than an hour this box was full to the brim with Plums. I will destone them and freeze for use in jams, chutneys and crumbles later in the year when the days are shorter and more time is spent indoors. One kilo will be kept to make jam for immediate use. They are high in pectin, very similar to Damsons, so the jam sets easily. I will include the recipe I use for the jam.

Damson or Black Plum Jam.

1kg Damsons       1kg sugar     three quarter pint of water

Method:  Wash fruit, slit and remove stones. I like to have a kilo of fruit after removing stones so allow a few more grams to allow for weight of stones. Place them in a preserving pan with the water. Simmer until fruit is soft. Add sugar and slowly bring to the boil, boil until a set is reached. Stir frequently to avoid burning.  The set will come fairly quickly as the fruits are high in pectin. Pour into heated sterilised jars and seal immediately.

As today is again dry I’m now off to pick Blackberries!