At this time of year, it seems that everything that can give fruit is doing just that. We have 3 or 4 different apple trees that are heavy with fruit. A couple of the trees have not fruited. The same goes for the pear tree. Nothing on it this year. The Nashi pear tree has a respectable amount of fruit. The peach trees did not produce anything, however one of the nectarine trees did it's bit for our taste buds. The sweetness and smell of the nectarines took me right back to my childhood, where fruit was fruit and you ate it from the tree. In a way I'm not too concerned that some of the trees did not bear fruit this year. We're still new at this farm stuff and I've learned that by wanting to live off the land demands a special type of commitment. That commitment requires you to drop everything that you're doing or had planned to do and deal with the harvest when it's ready. Now!
My preserving learning curve has been fun. I've been using this book for lots of good information.
A couple of weeks ago I went to Melbourne for a few days to be with Sara. We took a drive down to Devon Meadows to see a friend and pick up a drying unit and a bottling unit that she was no longer using. Thanks Helen! When I got home I headed straight for the zucchini patch and picked a few of the big runaway squashes. I sliced them and sprinkled them with rosemary salt and set them to dry. The result was not unpleasant. The 'chips' are a little chewy, but rather tasty. A very healthy alternative to crisps.
There is a lot of shrinkage in drying. The large slices of zucchini shrank to less than half their original size
The Fowlers Vacola unit was next in line to be tried out. The previous owner had left around 30 jars in the shed for me. I needed lids and all the bits and pieces that went with them. So my trusty source Ebay came to the rescue. Within a week I had all my equipment gathered and I started preparing plums. No, we don't have a plum tree, but our neighbour does. We picked a huge bag one hot afternoon. I've kept some of the plums to turn into plum sauce, and the rest of the fruit has gone into jars. These plums are lovely eaten with muesli and yoghurt. I also used a jar in a French clafoutis. Delish.
And this week, coming down the pipeline are these lovely babies. Apples. Lots of them! How many ways can I preserve them I wonder?
This basket is getting fuller every day. Frans collects the fallen apples. We'll need a few more baskets when we start picking!
A couple of weeks ago we spent an hour or so at the Heritage Festival, held at the local show grounds in Colac. It was well set up. There were all sorts of old fashioned displays and demonstrations. There were some displays that are still relevant today. Sheep shearing, wool classing, spinning (I had a little lesson and have decided that this winter I'll give it a go), cart pulling and the list goes on.
I was most impressed by this young girl sewing on the hand crank. Her mum was baking gingerbread cookies on a wood stove. This kitchen would have been top of the range in the early part of last century.
I won't complain about having to do the washing again!
Lovely old wagons
And finally, a little donkey love between mum and her foal.
Have a happy weekend!