Thursday, 16 August 2012

Fruit, finally

 I am sure that everyone is sick of hearing about the weather conditions here, but it is a fact of life when living in the country.  The weather is vitally important.

Fruit and veg have been so horrible.  Poor quality and expensive.  Something we are not used to, as normally the quality is very good and the price is low.

After our wash out spring (literally!) the stone fruit is almost non existant this year.  We had 6 weeks where it hailed every day - right when the blossom was setting on the fruit trees.  Thank you mother nature.

Since then we have had to rely on fruit from Spain and other countries.  Not such a bad thing in the big picture as it has helped their economies, but the price went up as a result, and the quality was just not the same.

Yesterday was a public holiday here.  Assumption Day for those of you interested.  We decided to join friends in the town of Parthenay for coffee.  A drive of about 45mins for us, but worth it to spend an hour socialising with lovely people.  Whilst at the cafĂ© our friends mentioned that they have far too many plums on their trees and cannot keep up with the demand.  What to do??

So I have kilos and kilos of lovely Damsons and Mirabelles to turn in to jam and sauce.  Bliss!

The reason their trees survived the storms is that they are planted thickly and in some places form the hedge.  So they protected each other.  Genius!  A lesson learnt here for future reference.

I was in heaven at their farm.  Cuddling cats and dogs, picking fruit and fussing over the horses.  What a great life!

The highlight of the day for Wayne.... brunch was served by our friend, and it was cumberland sausages and english bacon..... one happy boy!
I have the most beautiful sunflowers in the garden at present.  Each stem has half a dozen or more flowers on it!  The bees are going wild for the pollen and come away looking like they have been gilded.  The bright bright yellow of the flowers is so clear and sharp that it is almost brighter than the sunshine.  Such a treat as the flowers in my wild meadow area are just about finished and it was looking a bit faded, and then these beauties have decided to pop up and show how flashy and bold they can be.

P.S.  Normally fruit trees need to be planted with space around them to discourage mildew and rot and to encourage ripening of the fruit and good air circulation.  Don't know why the opposite is providing such healthy trees at our friends, but it is working well.