OK – I haven’t posted any wildlife-related activity for a couple of weeks, but the truth is that I’ve been very
busy. Partly I’ve been busy at work, both at work itself and with some extra-curricular stuff too. I’m working towards some professional qualifications and they are taking up a fair bit of my time.
I’ve also been busy in the garden. My poor vegetable garden had been a little bit neglected during the wet weather, with the result that the weeds were reaching impressive proportions. It is perfectly possible to weed the garden in the rain, of course, it’s just that I don’t like doing it. A bit of TLC was called for here, and I’m glad to say that the vegetable beds are looking quite civilised again.
More importantly, the time had come to harvest some of the fruit and veg. Now, we in the modern world have become very insulated to the cycles of nature. We can go to the supermarket at any time of year and buy what we want. It may have been flown in from the far corners of the world, but it’s there.
I’ve been growing my own fruit and vegetables for a few years now and this has given me a different perspective. Two weeks ago I had nothing to eat. Last week I had six pounds of blackcurrants and redcurrants and a whole sack of broad beans. The trick is to make the best use of them.
Of course, I could have eaten them, but there’s a limit to how many broad beans and currants even I can eat. Another answer would be to put them in the freezer, but this seems like cheating somehow. I have a long-term interest in traditional farming practices, and a freezer wouldn’t have been an option for most people even 50 years ago. There has to be a better way.
Hence I have re-discovered jam. Jam, in my opinion, is the best way of preserving this glut of fruit. Hence I’ve spent a good few evenings slaving over a hot stove, and I now have enough jam to keep me going for the rest of the year. The blackcurrant jam in particular is very tasty, and it should prevent me from getting scurvy over the winter months!
Now, I don’t actually need the jam to survive – I go to the supermarket like everyone else – but I get pleasure from growing the berries myself and finding a traditional, low-tech way to use them. The same goes for the large jar of dried cherries and the basket of broad beans I’ve got drying in the greenhouse. Sustainable living at its best!