Tuesday, 21 July 2009

A year of fruit

We have now lived here for 11 years and I can only remember one other year like this one for fruit.

There were so many cherries on the trees that even the birds couldn't eat them all, leaving more than enough for us.

Strawberries were the next delight and although we didn't exactly struggle to eat them all we came very close to striking strawberries from the luxury fruit to be savoured list. We only had a few raspberries but then we only planted them a few short months ago so they are forgiven.

For the past two weeks we have been gathering mirabelles - small yellow prunes with enough flavour to eat raw but not enough, in my opinion, to bother cooking with. We had so many that this year we squeezed a lot and now have about three litres of juice in the freezer ready for sauce on the ice cream. The pigs love mirabelles and we gather about half a bucket for them each day. (They also loved the strawberries!)

Our peach tree, which has struggled to provide more than one edible fruit per year, has this year gone mad and there must be at least 30 peaches which, if I don't pick them today, will be devoured by the wasps - I just hope they will finish ripening off the tree.

The pear trees are in danger of breaking their branches despite the fact that I thinned them vigorously.

And finally the fig trees are promising HUGE amounts of fruit.

Our real worry are the six new trees we planted in the autumn - four apples and two plums. They are showing severe signs of thirst despite having masses of water during the winter and regular watering by Max and I now. If we can get them through to the winter I think they'll survive - but there's August to deal with first.

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