Jelly, champagne and ladybirds

I made my blackcurrant jelly last night. It was lovely coming downstairs this morning as the fragrance had lingered. I much prefer making blackcurrant jelly to blackcurrant jam. It may take a day longer to reach the point of potting up, but it is less fiddly than preparing the fruit. Also, the family prefer it.

Good job they like it, I’ve made several pounds of it. I realised that I have run out of the jar covers as well, so I used greaseproof instead. All part of the charm.

Finally started off my elderflower champagne. I had run out of white wine vinegar, so I visited nearby villages to see if one of their shop stocked it. Most of the villages around here are down to just one shop now. Some have lost their shops completely. Our village has no corner shop, so I tried the slightly more “well heeled” villages in the hope they would stock exotic white wine vinegar and not just malt vinegar. I was lucky in the second village.

starting elderflower champagne

I had a problem finding a lidded container that would hold 6 litres of water. I found our old nappy bucket, but I don’t think any length of cleaning would ever convince me to use that. Finally plumped for my preserve pan with lid. I won’t be making jam for a few days. So fingers crossed. I now leave it for three days and hope it fizzes. If not then I need to add brewer’s yeast. I’m hoping it works, as I’m pretty sure that the local village shops do not stock brewer’s yeast, which would mean a trip into town.

My broad beans and runner beans have got a lot of black fly. It seems they invaded in a blink of an eye. Fortunately, the cavalry have moved in. They have their work cut out. This ladybird is surrounded.

I think there is hope as almost every plant has at least one ladybird. I mostly saw harlequin ladybirds.

There are spiders setting up shop to help.

And even Lily-Puddle TwoSpot is lending a helping hand. I won’t spray, because we don’t. I’m reluctant to interfere as I feel Mother Nature is doing her best to readdress the balance. If I try and remove them, I will inevitably be removing the ladybirds and their lavae. The pods on the broad beans are/were developing very well. If anyone has a cunning plan, that doesn’t destroy the ladybirds or the plants, I’d love to hear.

8 thoughts on “Jelly, champagne and ladybirds

  • Thursday 1 July, 2010 at 1:55 am

    I love this post, and reading about how well you seem to know “Mother Nature” – making jellies and elderberry champagne – I’ve been so busy lately that I haven’t been enjoying the “fruits of the land” much (eating or preparing) – your posts are inspiring me to get back to the simple joys of God’s bounty. Yesterday I did make a blueberry cobbler – that was fun.

    • Thursday 1 July, 2010 at 9:37 am

      I have one small blueberry bush, which probably produces enough for one blueberry muffin, just! There is so much pleasure to be had, gathering the food from around us for our meals. Simple joy is a good way of putting it. Hope you enjoyed your blueberry cobbler. Sigh!

  • Thursday 1 July, 2010 at 8:38 am

    Our elderflower didn’t take off on its own, and I realised that three days had turned into about ten, so I chucked the yeast in a couple of days ago and bingo. Smells just divine. Good luck with yours!

    Also, the blackcurrant jelly sounds lovely. I did blackberry and rose last year and we’re still eating the remnants now; predictably, of course, I didn’t write the quantities down or anything, oh no…

    • Thursday 1 July, 2010 at 9:48 am

      Good to know that there is leeway in the timing of the elderflower. This is unknown territory for me.

      Jam and jelly do not last too long in this house. I remember laughing at a friend who seized a pot of strawberry jam I was giving her and she hid it. She has a big family. My little pot would have lasted one sitting, if that. Now my crowd are getting bigger, I really understand her tactics. Blackberry and rose sounds really nice. If you remember the quantities, please let me know.

  • Thursday 1 July, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    Hi Cheryl – just wanted to tell you how much I have enjoyed all these posts – I love your magic doll – he is gorgeous (as is the recipient!) Have to go and collapse in a heap of antihistimine exhaustion now – would love to be more erudite but my head is full of cotton wool! Em x

    • Thursday 1 July, 2010 at 11:24 pm

      Thank you. I’m fond of Fixing Pixie too. I have tweaked him a little bit more. Hope you feel more like yourself soon.

  • Thursday 1 July, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    Hi, Many thanks for stopping by my blog, it is always amazing to us how the lady birds come to the rescue, we do not spray, but sometimes use garlic boiled in a pot,with the water then sprayed with organic detergent on the broad beans, cheers Marie

    • Thursday 1 July, 2010 at 11:22 pm

      Thanks for the tip, Marie. I’m going to trust the ladybirds, but I will review that in a few days time and may get out the garlic then. I have nasturtiums to plant up there which I hope will encourage the hover flies.

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