Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Summer Fruits.

According to Met Eireann, June was the hottest for seventy years, given how much soft fruit we have this year it did not come as a surprise. We have been picking pounds of Strawberries for the last few weeks,
First pound of raspberries.
we have had the first good picking of Raspberries with plenty to come, the Loganberries are also full of fruit and the Gooseberries are so laden the branches are on the ground. The Blackcurrants I'm trying very hard not to think about,
Lots of work topping and tailing.
I have already topped and tailed and bottled over three kg, only another 20 kg to go! I might not top and tail all of these, just remove the stalks. There are also several pounds of Redcurrants nearly ripe. Simon has netted all the bushes, we would hate to think of all our hard work being eaten by birds, even the outside Strawberries ended up being netted, the wild birds were helping themselves.
The Rhubarb continues to produce an abundance,
Rhubarb and Elder flower, a lovely combination.
to enhance the flavour I am adding Elder Flowers to the pan when I cook it, this gives a lovely delicate Muscatel flavour.
We have also made some pink Elder Flower cordial, from flowers given to us by friends, a lovely drink on a hot summers day.
Last weekend we had a visit from a lovely young couple from Dublin, I had hatched some La Bresse chicks for them and they had come to collect them. It was so nice to find youngsters, well to us they were youngsters,  they were in their twenties, who have chosen the path of Self Sufficiency. The girl bakes all their own bread and cakes,  bottles her fruit and makes jam. She knits, sews, and grows all their veg, they are also keeping chickens for the table and hope to get pigs later in the year. It was  nice to meet a young couple who are not  part of the consumer society, they are an example to their peer group.
We have now been living here for almost three years, we have learnt what grows well and what struggles, also what needs protection, mainly from the wind. Most of the fruit trees are fine, but the Quince is suffering from wind burn, we had thought of moving it, but think it's best to leave it, it is close to a hedge that we have planted and this should afford it some good protection next year.
A perfect rose, and wonderful perfume.
                   Roses do very well,
Vibrant red self-seeded nasturtium.
nasturtiums self seed, as does feverfew,
             the Arum lily has doubled it size and has been blooming for weeks now.
                                                      One of my favourite cottage garden flowers
Brilliant colour offset by the lovely silver grey foliage.
 Rose Campion ( Lychnis coronaria) is thriving but it does not seem to self seed here so I will have to seed save from it. It is such a wonder vibrant colour, a must in a cottage garden.
Weeds certainly thrive here, it seems like a full time job to control them,
Freshly weeded, it looks  good until the next lot of weeds.
but once a bed is weeded it looks so nice for a few weeks before the weeds take control again.
After we lost Sparky the cottage seemed very quiet, the other cats were certainly moping, so we decided we would get a kitten, not to replace our lovely boy, he could never be replaced, but to liven things up.
                 Well instead of one kitten we ended up with two,
Double trouble.

                                              and Shadow,
 they  certainly have livened things up, both fluffy, and full of mischief. The other cats are interested, more from a pushing around aspect, but they have accepted them. Zara our silver Persian loves them and tries to mother them which is so nice to see.
We have a helpxer coming this weekend, his priority job is to chicken wire all around our perimeter hedges, hopefully this will keep the cats safe from idiots that use a single track lane as a race track.


  1. Aw the kittens are just adorable. We have about four barn kittens that need to find their forever homes--but in the meantime, my barn is over run with playful kittens. I am drooling over all of your berries!! I missed out on the saskatoons here, with the father-in-laws passing. By the time we got home five days later, the birds had cleaned us out. I am hoping this year, I can beat them to the punch! I will never understand why people have to run over and kill animals. I hope the new fence keeps all your furbies safe from harm.

    1. Could you grow Saskatoons commercially on your farm, it appears that demand exceeds supply, could be a nice little niche market for you.
      We hope that the new fence will do the trick, what really bugs us is that this guy doesn't even live in our lane, he just has farmland at the end of it, but still treats it as though he owns the whole lane.

  2. Freddie and Shadow are beautiful. Such a great addition to your household and the wire should keep them from that mad man. I do agree that food is too cheap. When I can I go to my co-op and sometimes I get a well over 50 pound bag of food. Some of it is perfectly good. The hens enjoy it especially in the winter. Your pictures are wonderful. My best to you Anne, by the way the roosters are looking good.

  3. The kittens are lovely, but total time wasters, I just love watching their antics. They also love the cat nip toys that you sent us.
    I find food waste astounding, in a small island such as Ireland produces 1mil tons of food waste per year, that works out to over one pound of waste per person per day!

  4. The kittens are adorable. But they look like trouble! The berries look brilliant, particularly the raspberries. yum! As always, the flowers are beautiful, I love the Arum Lily, so lovely that it blooms for so long x

  5. The soft fruit has been great this year we are so pleased. have now finished cropping the last of the redcurrants.