This year's strawberry crop came with a flourish and then stopped fruiting just as abruptly. The last of the strawberries made the most delicious chocolate strawberry ice-cream. So simple really - cream, sugar, cocoa, chocolate and berries, and so absolutely yummy.
*Cherries in vodka and hazelnut liqueur for next year's ice-creams (How does chocolate, almond and cherry sound?) - one jar
*Cherries on their stalks, in sugar syrup - to top the ice-creams - half a jar
*Strawberries steeped in spirits to make a strawberry liqueur - two jars
*Apricot jam - 26 odd jars
*Rhubarb and ginger jam - 12 jars
*Crystallized ginger - one large jar
*Basil whizzed up in olive oil and frozen - 6 freezer bags
*Basil pesto - 1 jar, already demolished
*Leeks sliced and frozen - 1 bag
*Batches and batches of rusks and market bakes: surplus croissants frozen for future breakfasts.
*Ice-creams, butter and cheeses till the cows come home...
Oh by the way, the beer brewed last month is fantastic, improving as the weeks go by.
REDUCE / RE-USE / RECYCLE
Egg shells, dried and crumbled over my rows of just-planted beans keeps the snails from chomping the new leaves as they emerge.
Yay! My beer trap is in my lettuce bed, hoping to catch lots of slugs. So far it has caught one cricket, quite a few slugs and a some poor earthworms.
Comfrey tea is regularly nourishing my fruiting veggies.
Before recycling paper in other ways, all waste paper with a blank side is first used in the school room as my teaching paper instead of a classroom black board, or it is used for my essential list making, or, if my son gets hold of it, for paper airplanes.
The vegetable tunnel is happily providing the bulk of our meals. We have eaten barrows of leeks (I had so hoped that some of them may prove to be giant garlic). The garden also has some onions, the last of the broad beans, more asparagus than we hoped for, mange touts, sugar snap peas and now some lazy housewife beans. The potatoes are flourishing. We picked a few tiny red carrots, some orange ones, massive turnips, beetroot, two giant parsnips, celery, lettuces, spinach, rocket, radishes, the first marrows and the biggest rhubarb plant we have ever grown. We have rather optimistically planted a cornucopia of pumpkin varieties at the edge of the field, hoping the cattle don't annihilate them. There are also scarlet runner beans waiting to climb the arch, flanked by a few sweetcorn plants.
Besides all the ordinary plants, we have all sorts of wonderful heirloom seeds and seedlings, like salsify, safflower, exotic chillies and much much more than I can list here. Thank you, Guy.
I managed to make two teeny tiny gift tags.
A friend lent me Monty Don's The Complete Gardener. What a wealth of inspiration and information, a feast for the eyes, and a useful reference book. It is now on my wish list.
The main thrust of the month was the three day Cabin Cherry Festival market that we participated in.
We spent grueling weeks preparing for the market...
...making enough cheese to fill my dairy fridge...
...and french pastries...
...and then the time came to display our wares....
... we did well.
Our son turned fourteen and so we had six boys to sleep over to celebrate. He braaied sausages for them as the rain pelted down, then they melted marshmallows over the coals. They made forts in the forest and ambushed each other.
I feel as if my most precious commodity is time, and that it is slipping away. Just today my son discovered that he is overtaking his sister in height. I feel the urgency to enjoy these special days with them. I love my teens so much. We recently spent a lovely day exploring the countryside as a family, ending the outing with the best burgers in the Free State.