Today is so lovely. It is hot, not height of summer hot, but warm enough to say “gosh, it’s hot out there.” The sky is blue but is dotted with clouds. However not enough to cling to the thought that the long sunny days are still with us.
Feeling the warmth on my face with my eyes closed isn’t enough to create the false allusion of a lingering summer. At some point I have to open my eyes. Looking about tells me we are in a different season. This is definitely autumn. The crops have a tired look about them. Brown and crispy is the new green.
I have got to the point where I still have tomatoes hanging from the plants that really should have been harvested several days ago, or to be completely honest a couple of weeks ago. It’s not pretty. But we have already processed so many, and besides we currently don’t appear to have a kitchen. Preserving the harvest and renovating the house don’t work all that well together.
This is a bit of a problem as my chillies have only really just begun ripening up and I need to make my fabulous hot sweet chilli sauce. I figure back in the pioneer days, they didn’t have the great luxuries of a modern kitchen that we do now so where there is a will there is a way. Either that or I’ll lob them in the freezer and deal with them later.
Then there is the orchard. This has been a great season for apples. There are so many to deal with. Although I need to examine the varieties I chose to plant back when I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just planted apple trees for the sake of having apple trees. I know there is a cooking apple, which is great, because you can’t find them readily in stores and the tree is laden. It is a heavy cropper and always has been. Then I know there is a golden delicious, a granny smith and I have a box full of tree tags somewhere. But what I am beginning to learn is there is more to growing things than for the sake of it. I need to know the best way to use these apples and the best way to store them, because not all apples are the same.
Being in the midst of renovations does have its advantages though, as I have decided to upcycle the carpet and use it around the base of my trees as a kind of mulch, because at the moment the poor orchard has been dreadfully neglected. The trees are hiding amongst some pretty serious long grass. However there is an upside to this as the tropical cyclone that was all set to swing through here a couple of weekends ago wreaking havoc as it went, turned out to be a storm in a teacup and the most serious damage it did in my garden was to dislodge a few apples and quince into the long grass, where I was able to pick them up undamaged.
So I have a bag of windfall fruit which are calling out for me to turn them into something wonderful, so I scoured the internet for bright ideas. I came across a great line describing quince from Nigel Slater: “It’s a soft perfume, rose-like, a little sickly but reminiscent of honey, too. A scent that marks the start of winter cooking like a tomcat marks his territory.”
However I am not ready to concede to the start of autumn, let alone winter, I shall take my quince as an unseasonably early surprize as a result of being brutally ripped from the branches prematurely by a storm.
Some again soon – I shall embrace the season in all its autumnal magnificence and tackle a few projects.
Sarah the Gardener : o )