Thursday, 5 September 2013

Rude Fruit...

With just three courgette plants I could feed the nation!

A friend came to dinner recently and exclaimed at my rude veg! One courgette plant throws out boob shaped yellow fruit, another offers green boobs and the last plant has prolific jaundiced phalli pointing in varying directions. Along with being rude their other common attribute is their prolific production. Turn your back for an instant and Katie Price is right there in the proverbial veg bed! [Tsk!]

Yesterday the rude veg was processed into a huge ratatouille for the freezer. Yum. There is nothing better than finding a pot of late summer in the freezer in colder months.

Mostly I love this time of year, it is a close second to spring in my book. This time of year I begin the task of storage for winter; collecting berries or fruit for freezing or processing into jars of goo and hunting seeds for sowing now or storing till spring.

The blackberries are particularly good this year, probably because they were not cut back last year due to the fields being so wet. It was so waterlogged that the hedge-cutting farmer didn't dare venture onto our land.

The hedge-cutting farmer is a lovely elderly gent who, when he stops to chat, dispenses farming wisdom from his cab with the door open. Mid sentence he shoos wasps away from his sandwiches and tea flask with kindly words. 'Get away with you, you silly,' he says. I like that, I do the same. I can't be doing with all the arm flapping and histrionics. My children have inherited my approach though Hubby prefers the flapping method. The farmer told me that last year was the worst weather he could remember. He and his huge tractor had to be pulled out of muddy fields three times!

The blackberries seem to have appreciated the weather and their stay of execution last year, in this summer's heat they have swelled and sweetened beautifully and now reside in bags in my freezer after being tray frozen, making it easy to scoop a handful for a pie or milkshake.

The hedges are now all cut. The farmer was merciless, his huge tractor bore down on the land carrying his monstrous cutter which ate away at two years of wild growth. Now, from the top of the house, you can almost see into all the fields and down to the woods, can almost count the livestock.

I said earlier that I mostly love this time of year. There are two reasons not to love it completely; first it signals the beginning of the end of the year and second, the balmy dewy weather always seems to bring on a flush of red mite in the hen coops.

For those of you with sproglets you may or may not have enjoyed the thrill of head lice. I have once, it is awful. Awful, awful, awful. But I think the war against red mite in chickens is worse. I spray, clean, dust, change bedding and while this has an immediate effect on the chickens environment I am left scratching and itching until I can strip, chuck my entire outfit in a hot wash and lash to the shower to adorn myself in Vosene (which works a treat.) Ugh. The trouble is I have wooden coops with tons of nooks and crannies, places for red mite to lurk.

If a steam cleaner company fancies giving me a portable, powerful gadget to annihilate the buggers (mites, not chooks) I'd be glad to give a full review. Right now I feel I need to go and burn my underwear.... Over and out

If you'd like more on the mites at The Larches, try this blog post Death to Bugs.... by The Human Buffet...


The Archers at The Larches

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Lou - Chicken whisperer....

Snowy and Moon

Snowy and Moon