Nov 26, 2011

I love you berry much

Crazy last couple of weeks with birthday celebrations, end of year concerts, local agricultural shows, Cub Scout camps and investitures (both Mike and November)...oh, and it is spring : ) which means that Christmas and the attendant cooking is just around the corner AAARRRGGH

So we took a week off  formal "home education" to spring clean and generally sort ourselves out, and the only requirements made of the girls were to swim and read and practice piano. Crystal growing projects began...more on that next post.

This meant lots of time for us parents to work, work, work. 

Reading reading reading
July ploughed through the first 4 books in the Spiderwick Chronicles, and regaled her older (just turned 8) sister with scary retellings as November is quite scared of the movie and has therefore refused to read the books herself. 

It feels as though reading has just jumped up another level as the dinner table is often silent apart from page turnings and munching! I hear myself say "put your books down so I can read to you" for the evening read-aloud. Blissful times.

Feeding the family
Our winter efforts in the garden as a family are really paying off now - potatoes, tomatoes, beans, carrots, asparagus...oh too boring to read, maybe look at the pics! 

The blackened pods  in the next photo are from broad beans - left on the bush so I can dry them and seed save for next winter's crop.

Best boy? Boysenberry
My new best friends in the garden are the boysenberries - I bought them online for $2 a seedling from Tasmania, then pot-bound and mistreated them before finally getting them in the garden once Mike built the trellis. Now fat luscious crimson drops of deliciousness are drooping their heavy heads all over. This makes me very happy.

The Boysenberry is a berry bred by Rudolph Boysen in California in the 1930s - a mix of raspberry, youngberry and blackberry. 

Growing boysenberries is not for the faint-hearted or tender-fingered. They are vigorous vines with spikes so you need to wear gloves to wind them on to the trellis, or to pull them up when they attempt to run all over the garden...but I forgive them everything. They are like a deep, dark, supersonic-size raspberry with a deep luscious note of flavour. Think cherry with red plum...

Harvest means process
Along with the slightly too-tart low chill peaches and the last blueberries it is fruit heaven. I am hoping the mangoes will go well this year too. 

Here is the current peach stash in the laundry - I have processed one batch already into peach and raspberry butter (think thick, pureed peaches with cinnamon as a toast topping: actually has no butter in it at all, just a high fruit content jam) and am planning on using the Vacola preserving jars to put away loads of peach in sugar syrup for using in our breakfast fruit crumble.

Happy busy days : )

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