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Thursday, 20 June 2013

Mmmmmmmmmmm fresh apricots. 17-6-2013
In the past, I have been lucky enough, very occasionally, to buy a punnet of apricots in the supermarket which have been nice enough to encourage me to buy again, but most of the time they have gone brown before ripening or are dry and tasteless. Now we are going to have to eat seasonally so will not be buying under-ripe inedible fruits from distant countries, wasting money at the same time. In the garden, in front of the house, we now have a huge apricot tree, and the fruit is enough to stop me buying them elsewhere at all. They may only last a short time, but they are definitely worth the wait. They are as far removed from a supermarket fruit as they could be. In a way I can understand why. The fruit bruises very easily, even just growing next to another, and windfalls are only any good if you see them fall and eat them immediately. But the flavour....mmmmmmm, so sweet, perfumed, juicy and soft. Our's are also big, the size of an out of season supermarket peach.
 The only downside is that the tree is so old it is diseased, leading to a lot of the fruit being spotty, but there is so much on it doesn't really matter. Two of us would never be able to eat that much anyway. I am hoping to do a couple of bottles in syrup, some jam and some chutney. And, of course, eat as we go. I am also going to dry some for use in cakes and for winter snacking. As for the diseased branches, we will cut them out if we can, but they will not be sprayed. The tree has been there a long time and I don't want to start throwing chemicals at it now.
We had a bit of sadness the other day. The eggs in the incubator did not hatch and on investigation some had died a few days previously, and some maybe a week or so ago. We don't know for sure why, but the power going off regularly in the storms will not have helped, we don't know how often it went off in the night when we had lots of storms.
Talking of storms, we had a thunder free day yesterday, so Bonnie is feeling braver already and coming into the garden more. She is suspicious of 'planes though, thinking it might be a storm brewing. We have a small domestic airport twenty minutes away, good job it's not busy!

The winter wood for the stoves we haven't got yet arrived yesterday, a day early. It seems everything gets delivered early here.
 The first batch was cut into manageable lengths and Jordan and Dave barrowed it to the large outbuilding which is to be the woodshed. (the one we saw when viewing did a disappearing act before we arrived!) Venka (they just appear from nowhere and won't take no for an answer) was on hand to make sure we were not overcharged and everything was as it should be. I wouldn't mess with her and one of the chaps was her nephew, unbeknown to us, so he would know better. The whole street came out to supervise, and they all had a tot of Famous Grouse when they had finished for the day. Venka Superwoman and the Baba (grandma) across the road can lift those huge chunks of wood no problem. Me? No. Apart from being a bit wobbly on the old pins, the thumbs don't work well either. Feeling a bit inadequate I stayed in with the dogs, making curtains to cover all the open shelves so the flies don't get on everything, never mind the fly killer and corpses. Made bread too while I was at it, and kept the drinks flowing. Haven't quite got the hang of the electric sewing machine, having trouble with the tension. Not quite the same as the old hand powered Singers at school some forty odd years ago. Never mind, plenty of time to practise. Dave made good use of his outside 'bath', along with the dogs, to cool down.
 I wish he would get himself a small pool as we have so much free, cold well water to keep it topped up, but he doesn't want a nasty blue monstrosity on the yard. I understand that, but it is only mid June yet and it will get hotter...for all of us.
Venka continues to try to fatten us up. After the mammoth breakfast the other day, she came over with two buckets of corn for the chickens and later still, when I was on my way to bed, a pan full of soup.
Dave saw his first golden orioles this morning. He ran in in great excitement for his camera, but of course as soon as he got back and into position they flew off. Grrr. I am yet to see one.

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