Tag Archives: sloes

Sea Buckthorn

Porridge, prunes and pomposity

It looks like the boundary issue at the bottom of the garden has been solved. It’s cost me more than it should have done, and I feel I have been “beaten” in the negotiation, but on the other hand I have emerged with my dignity and I can now use my time for doing things I enjoy.

Well, to be honest, I do enjoy winding pompous people up, but after six months it grows stale. They probably think the same thing. I am now going to attempt to re-establish the wildlife habitat at the bottom of the garden. We had blackcaps breeding and a thriving colony of frogs. Now we have a clear view into the upstairs windows of the house on the slope below. That’s why we grew the big hedge in the first place – it’s very off-putting to look across and see a neighbour in a state of undress in their bedroom. I’d much rather see blackcaps.

I am going to grow blackthorn and hawthorn and am not sure what else. They will provide bird cover, thorny security and sloes, plus privacy and a windbreak (I am aiming for about six foot tall eventually, (though we may have moved by then). I may try to get one hawthorn to tree size to replace the one that the dickhead neighbour removed – we always had nesting birds in there.

We just had prunes for breakfast. With porridge. That will cause a few perturbations north of the border, where salt and misery are the only acceptable porridge seasonings. I did the Tinker. tailor rhyme and ran out of professions. Obviously my three surplus stones represented chicken farmer, antiques dealer and gardener in my declining career trajectory. Two more stones and I could have brought it up to date with shop assistant and poet.

It’s interesting to see there are other versions, though I do agree with A A Milne that there should be more professions represented.

That’s enough for now – off for a jolly day decluttering now…

 

Taking a Breath

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare

W. H. Davies

We took time out on Wednesday to buy sandwiches from the supermarket and take a drive into the countryside. It wasn’t as comfortable as it could have been because I had a feeling that I should have planned better and made our own sandwiches. In my defence we didn’t know what time Julia’s meeting would end and everything was a bit chaotic.

Shopping at the supermarket still doesn’t feel comfortable, paying the cost of ready made sandwiches seems extravagant after months of economy, and aimlessly driving in the countryside also seems wrong.

On the other hand, sitting at home is beginning to wear a bit thin too.

We eventually found a verge to park on and ate sandwiches whilst watching the local wildlife – which was butterflies. The flies were too small to see from the car, the grasshoppers were hidden and though we heard the call of pheasants and saw a few wood pigeons there didn’t seem to be much bird life about either.

By the time I got out of the car, brushing crumbs from my newly decorated shirt, the Peacock and the White butterflies had all gone and the promising reddish brown ones all turned out top be Gatekeepers, which are common, and not much more interesting than the Peacocks and Whites.

I clearly need to brush up on my butterfly stalking technique,and my grasshopper hunting methods as I managed to see them only as they leapt to escape my feet. I didn’t get a single grasshopper shot, just  a few flies as a relief from Gatekeepers.

Even my attempts at photographing sloes were thwarted by a sparse selection and poor lighting. It’s bad when you can’t even get a shot of something that just hangs there without moving…

My efforts are a far cry from the fine efforts made by Beating the Bounds, a blog I haven’t read for a while. On seeing this post, I was glad I had chosen to return.

As you can tell from the captions, I have returned to my original style of uninformative caption. I must do better, but, to be honest, I’ve made it through the first 62 years without trying too hard, so why change now?

They say that hard work never killed anybody, but that’s what I thought about Covid 19 to start with. It seems silly to take a chance.

The final shot is the Grasshopper that emerged from the garden when we returned home on Friday– displaying itself on the tarmac. This is not the setting you most associate with an insect that has the word “grass” in its name.

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Grasshopper on tarmac – probably a Common Field Grasshopper

In the Garden Again

Dropped Julia off at work this morning and took the opportunity to take a few photos. They have, as you can see, picked a variety of produce, including sloes. It’s probably a bit early to pick sloes, as the flavour is traditionally said to be better after the first frost. However, you can remedy this by putting them in the freezer. If you pour the gin or vodka on them when they are still frozen it’s supposed to burst the skins, which means you don’t need to prick them either.

I can’t vouch for the flavour part as I’ve never done any competitive testing. Nor can I guarantee that the skins split. What I can say is that we use this method and it produces a lovely smooth liqueur in time for Christmas. Using the freezer instead of waiting for nature to take its course gives you an extra couple of months to steep the fruit instead of waiting for the frost, and this is bound to help.

There are plenty of apples and pears waiting to be picked, plus, of course, the medlars.

The door is now repainted after the attempt at breaking and entering, and is looking good.

Finally, Julia has obtained five waste bins that were going to be thrown away. They are going to have a new life as planters. There were more available, but as Julia said, where are you going to get that much soil from?

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They were bins but now they are planters.