(cherry tomatoes and runner bean relish)
Looking out of the window, I watched a squirrel hide an acorn. I think it was hiding it. The process was complicated. Like a formal dance or set piece, which makes sense if you’ve signed up and read the memo. Well rehearsed and performed without missing a beat, and, as it turned out, with the inevitable hint of indecisiveness. The squirrel tested a spot in the back garden, dug, delivered nut, covered, uncovered, moved nut to next place. Repeat. Then it gave up. Sat on its haunches and nibbled the acorn.
Contemplating, I like to think.
We’ve all been there.
I’ve been bringing in the plum tomatoes this week. Slightly earlier than I wanted to as most are still green. In one patch, those that were turning have developed a definite skull like appearance. Snails and slugs have nibbled away small, round holes and the exposed insides of the tomatoes have turned black with furry mould. Delightful.
It really does add a macabre vibe to my tomato patch. Especially bizarre as the seed packet stated that these tomatoes would be happiest outside. I imagined more cheerful, smiley face emojis rather than harbingers of death, but there you go. Life has a way of surprising you.
I now have trays of ripening, unblemished tomatoes inside. I’ve left the other tomato patch and greenhouse ones, which are ripening without damage, although I’m keeping a beady eye on them.
Also, bringing in the beans, this week. It is a bit like the bottomless porridge pot, from a children’s book, at the moment. Pick a basketful and the next day, there are double the number to pick. Seriously. These beans are growing at a pace. Fortunately, unlike the fairy tale, the nearby village is not doomed to drown under a moving wave of beans, if I stop collecting. Nor has the magic word, to stop the mad production, been forgotten. (It shall not be spoken yet)
I am trying to squirrel as many away for winter as I can. Although, just like the squirrel in our backgarden, there is a fair amount of sitting on our hanches and eating them straight out of the basket. Usually by my younger helpers.
So this week, I’ve made a batch of runner bean relish and beans for the freezer. Also bowls and bowls of cherry tomatoes and basil salad, plus a small run of blackberry jelly. The latter never produces as much as I’d like. Isn’t that always the way? One kilo of blackberries equals three jars, but, oh, what jelly it is! It is the best tasting jelly ever. This will bring a smile in the cold months, spread on bread fresh from the oven.
(Jelly is the strained juice only. No whole fruit makes it to the jar.)
Also a good few blackberry and apple crumbles too, to deal with our windfalls in the orchard.
In the background, life has been busy and challenging as usual. One of those parenting weeks where you have the answer, but it feels like you’re herding cats. Or hitting your head slowly against a wall. Take your pick.
Sometimes it’s just good to make the most of what you have. Like taking the dog for a long walk on Saturday by myself or to hole myself up in the kitchen to make a batch of blackberry jelly which wouldn’t look out of place in a dolls house.
Simple pleasures. A bit like the squirrel. We need to stop, and sit on our haunches occasionally, and contemplate what is around us. In a world where mayhem and chaos seem to have been let out of the box, I really appreciate taking time to enjoy the simple moments and benefit from a freshly laundered perspective.
Linking up with Anne’s Word of the Week. With all my squirreling this week, I reckon the word “squirrel” pretty much wraps it up.