Thursday 27 August 2015
Where have all the blackberries gone?
When we were down in Dorset and Somerset recently, I couldn't help but notice masses of huge juicy blackberries beside the roads and in hedgerows. My fingers were itching to get picking but the best ones were beside the motorway.
Back here in Wales, we will be lucky to get any sort of picking. I can practically count on the fingers of one hand the number of ripe blackberries I have seen. September might give us some sort of picking but it will be one of those years when any blackberry, however squishy or small will be welcome. I am glad I still have several pounds in the freezer from last year. We have had quite a cold dry summer (until August's rain) and lots of flowers never came to anything, just a mass of dried stems in the hedgerow, or else they never got pollinated because they flowered when we had days and days of rain. Still, it looks like a good year for elderberries and I am hoping I can find some sloes after there being none last year. Again, there were plenty in Somerset, but too early to pick them. I have no chance of having Crab Apples locally now either - I noticed recently that the lovely old (100 yrs or so) crab apple tree I used to rely on for wine and jelly making, had been CHOPPED DOWN and Gary-the-Digger was in the field ripping out the stump. I don't know what is happening in that field - unless they have planning permission for houses or something. What a waste of a lovely tree.
I have been playing catch-up this week, but it wasn't until this morning that I got a chance to do anything with the soft fruit languishing in my fridge, so now I have cooked up blueberries, rhubarb (with preserved ginger) and I am going to make a cake with a punnet of strawberries.
Out in the garden the autumn Tidy Up continues, and I got 4 barrowloads of overgrowth from around the wildlife pond. That desperately needs cleaning out a bit as there is a foot of leaves in the bottom and hardly any depth of water on top. I will sort that next month, before things start hibernating in there.
Tomorrow I am going to have a lesson in rag rug making, so I am very excited about that. As Autumn approaches, I always feel my craft-loving side return.
Yesterday we spent all day at a local auction, learning about collectable Chinese porcelain and china and jade, and how valuable it is (much of it was bought by Chinese bidders in the room or on the Internet.)
However, things are very quiet at the Unit and I can't help thinking that even if I had Ming or Qing or perhaps Zing(!) dynasty ceramics, even they would stay in the display cabinet!!!