Friday, 26 August 2016

The apple and serpent

       No, not the name of a new pub but a strangely marked apple with the scarring looking just like a snake or serpent. We've all heard about the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and I even refer to our part of West Norfolk as our 'little eden' but that marking is definitely a snake.
      The small holes are nothing to do with the apple, they were added by a Jack Russell Terrier picking the forbidden fruit and then carrying it back to me so that I could throw it for her, another strange routine that's been developed by one of the terriers.
      And nobody has turned up to throw us out of our 'little eden' despite accepting the apple.
      Anyway the terrier ate it. 

Thursday, 25 August 2016

Harvest moon

      A Neil Young moment and a perfect harvest moon shining through our transformer box version of Stonehenge, there's nothing like a little mysterious druidic atmosphere to enhance West Norfolk.
      Obviously this was last week but things and events move slowly here, don't rush anything my beauty, take your time. Well that explains everything.
      Right a full moon, the harvest is coming in, fruit and produce everywhere in the horn of plenty and we need to thank the gods. I know, we need a virgin for a sacrifice to the bountiful gods of plenty to show our gratitude.
      What do you mean there aren't any? Any what? Horns?
      That's paganism out then.
      Meanwhile let's have another beer.

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Never retired

      One of our retired farmer neighbours loves his old tractors, in this case an original little grey Ferguson. It still runs like a Swiss watch, starts first-time every time and with the big circular saw-bed on the back it is a mainstay of our log production for the wood-burner. The giant log-splitter is attached to a newer, but still old, red Massey Ferguson 168 with its flow and return hydraulic system.
      A complicated business utilising vintage tractors but when you have six of them, 'never trade one against a new one because you can drive a harder deal', they all have to be looked after and serviced even if they do look a bit tired.
      Mind you, if you'd worked half as hard as they have, and still do, you'd look a bit tired.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Dawn's back

      Every morning, as always, dawn returns but now as we move into late summer it is at a more civilised hour, I can't be doing with four o'clock in the morning but five o'clock to six o'clock is fine by me.
      Anyway here she is on a lovely August morning and baring all you might say, not a cloud in sight to cover her up and our favourite transformer box is looking pretty good too. Mind you if you were as old as this old transformer box you'd welcome a little adjustment in the lighting to cover up your rust and make you look a little younger.
      The sky has all those tasteful Dralon colours, mauve, lilac, dusty pink, pastel blues in fact all the usual suspects and a little mist too just to add some atmosphere.
      There's nothing like a little mellow fruitfulness. Autumn is slowly creeping up on us.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Caught red-handed

      We received an email late last week from the Woodland Trust and the subject was all about a Blackberry, or Bramble, shortage that appears to be nationwide two or three friends have mentioned a late crop and a shortage in their area too. Well, in West Norfolk and particularly in our little acre we are living in a Blackberry or Bramble Eden.

      A Saturday morning picking session yielded these two bowls of black gold and and a bad dose of the red stained hand, never mind that's all part of the fun, next time I'll remember to wear some rubber gloves.
      The knee high grass has been trimmed back in the old orchard but the briars remain as vicious as ever, just like military barbed wire. No wonder the foxes and deer make a bed for themselves in these heavily defended and sheltered positions.

      We think this year's steadily ripening crop is so good because of the natural shelter that the orchard itself offers, that and the long stand of poplars provide a superb windbreak from the prevailing winds. When you are in there picking and getting snarled up on the briars there is hardly a breath of wind, just the the wind rattling the poplar leaves and making a sound like water running over gravel and stones.
      Next comes the jam making, the apple and blackberry turnovers and if we're lucky some pancakes.


Friday, 19 August 2016

The Two Terriers terroir

      My apologies to Bure Boy for the terroir line but because it's been a week of fruit and local produce, a weekly horn of plenty you could say, I decided to end the week with a grape update.
      Here they are growing and maturing nicely on the south facing wall, they are the most watched grapes in the whole world. Don't know about the type of soil, apart from the fact that it is compost for 'potting on' with a forkful of of well rotted manure added for extra power.
      I think there are eight bunches and being grapes for eating, not winemaking, when they are ready they won't last very long.
      Further bulletins will be placed on the gates as they progress.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Blackberries or brambles?

      The Boss and I never call them 'blackberries', they are always brambles to us and they are another one of Mother nature's hedgerow foraging treats, or in this case  an orchard foraging treat. We're also convinced that the beautifully named bird the 'Brambling' eats them too. Although last year's crop was pretty good this year's harvest promises some absolutely bumper picking, already the briars are laden with fruit and there are lots more of these luscious berries to ripen.
     So the promise this year is for lots of jams, jellies, pies, tarts and cakes and that wonderful savoury accompaniment to game, pickled blackberries, sorry brambles.
      I can barely wait, meanwhile we simply pick a few to tease the tastebuds while we are walking the Jack Russell Terriers.
      The two terriers like them too but at least they don't get black fingers.