Monday, 12 July 2010

Stickiness, rompings, & bangings

And with super endeavour, here is the end product of the first jamming session. Approached with nervousness at first because I didn't want to ruin the fruit Hubs had recently picked, soon this was overcome as the pot began to bubble. 

Meanwhile Hubs was banging away outside, making the pig arbre to replace the one which Tess had seen fit to try and use as an armoured tank. 

 Not that she intended to make a break through the fence, and I am sure it was an accident that when she was wearing the ex-pig hut that the fence got rammed. You can see the remainder of this hut behind Hubs, who is at this very moment making a brand new  arbre for them. Much banging, digging, marching about with vigourous intent, and 'Do you know where ...... is' as he tries to find various tools which are generally scattered about the property. But I think he is learning that if he doesn't put things away after he has used them, then he will have to spend hours trying to locate them again when next he needs them.

Meanwhile: the jamming continued. Oh why do I end up with such a sticky mess? Is it part of the jam making experience? 
Last year I was jamming in the kitchen caravan, which produced a really awful amount of stickiness, so in comparison this is not too bad. I thought the towel underneath my working area was a good idea as it stopped some of the stickiness migrating. Must remember to put it in the dirty washing basket and not inadvertently put it back onto the towel rail where it normally resides, ready to assist in drying Hubs off when he has his occasional shower. 

Meanwhile: Tess and Max were rumbling about in their pen as Hubs was working beside them, making their new house. They didn't seem to be put off by the bangings and sawings that was going alongside them. Perhaps because Max was intent in having his way with Tess, and she was being sometimes coy sometimes keen sometimes bored. But he did  eventually get a home run. Several times, Hubs said. They spent the afternoon snuggled up in the wallow together. And quietness reigned. Since she came here there has been squeals, snorts, growls, grumbles, and grunts going on for much of the time. But it is quieter today. Perhaps because the job of procreation has been done. A bit quick, actually. Piglets next year, was more our intent. Ah well. 

And the male ram has been airing his undercarriage as well. Bless. 

Returning to the subject of stickiness: it was suggested to me by my French neighbour last year, that I turn the jam pots upside down after putting their cover on them. Obviously my first attempt to do this was unsuccessful! Not to worry, contents were not wasted, just scooped up and put into another jar. Notice to self: make sure the jam pot covers and lids are firmly in place before following through with this suggestion again.

So off out into the Side Field to do some more dock week cutting. Good for my back, good for the fresh air of the early summer morning,  good for my ongoing lesson of learning patience.

And homemade jam is a glorious thing to have when the year closes down. Sort of makes one feel connected to the summer sun. It is also good to know where it has come from, and that it has not been mass produced. Taking responsibility for what we eat, that is what smallholding is all about. 

Message to self (1): Do try not to keep sampling spoonfuls of the new jam. 
Message to self (2): Keep putting that one foot forward each day. 
Message to self (3): Smile when you see that very large field still mostly full of dried up seed heads of dock.



Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

As always a wonderful post. I feel like I am with you the way you write your posts. I have already had a cherry jam making session this year, the plums will be next.

I am so looking forward to the new youngsters:)

Yes Vera the photo is mine. Because of having no camera at present I was going through the older ones and I found that one again. It is on my own site when we were doing restoration, but since doing the blog my site has slipped somewhat. Mind you main restoration is now finished until we decide to put the 3 rooms in the barn. We need that lottery win!!! Diane

Vera said...

Diane, Hi. Crikey, isn't there a lot of work in getting stones out of cherries to make jam? Oh, plum jam. Yummy. No plums for us this year - trees too small, hopefully next year we might have one or two!
Well done you for that lovely photo. I know how you feel about lack of funds. We want to turn our farm into a retreat and training centre for meditation and holistic well being. Can't ask guests to stay in the caravans and that is all we can offer them at the moment. So....quite a long way off for us. Hope your barn gets done in the future. Hope you have a good day.

Land of shimp said...

Well I'm officially in love with the concept of migrating stickiness. What an absolutely marvelous turn of phrase. Flying by in swarms, there goes the migrating stickiness! "I told you to duck, and why weren't you wearing stickiness repellent?" Those will be the questions on the day of the great stickiness migration.

As always, so much fun to be had in your posts, Vera. You've got a good sense of humor, to go along with your mad jam-making skills!

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

Both myself and my husband have got fairly quick with the denoyauteur, BUT, I bought a multi one the other day for €6.99 so I hope next year I can speed things up. I am still wondering about taking the stones out of the plums though. We have four trees:( I have just sold a whole lot of 'stuff' at auction lying around in boxes and some jewellery I never wear. Have enough, I think, to put the ceilings in so I guess that is a start!! Next year I hope I will be learning how to do ceilings. Our roofing guy says he will help and I can be his assistant, but as he speaks no English maybe I have it wrong:) LOL Diane

Vera said...

LofS:) Loved the way you took up 'migration of the stickiness'! My sense of humour is what keeps me going, especially when I am under pressure. Learning to smile when things are tough also helps. And this includes being in the middle of stickiness!

Diane:) Will look out for one of those gadgets for future use, and good luck wih those plum stones which, if I remember rightly, is a very messy job to remove them especially if the plums are ripe.
Much can be lost in translation as we have also found out, so it will be interesting to learn exactly what you volunteered to do with your roofing guy!

Anonymous said...

Hello Vera,
Gosh! you have been busy. The apricot jam is such a super colour, it will be just like eating spoonfulls of sunshine on yout toast. How many years do apricot trees need before you get fruit from them I wonder?
Best wishes,

Roz said...

I have a very large framed poster in my hall which reads - Keep Calm and Carry On! it's our mantra (well mine, Neil still swears like a trouper if things go wrong) Calmness in the face of stickiness is something to aim for I think!!

Vera said...

Ondine: You are right, it is like eating spoonfuls of sunshine. As for the age of the tree: I suppose it depends on the size of the tree. If you buy one which is about head height it will flower in the Spring. If you get one which is knee height, then I guess it will take longer.

Roz: Calmness in the face of stickiness, indeed that is much needed. Because panic will increase the stickiness-factor no end! I have a 'Don't Quit' poster which I have by my PC and in the kitchen. It has kept me going when things have got dire. I have read it quite a lot lately!

Anonymous said...

Thank you amazing blog, do you have twitter, facebook or something similar where i can follow your blog

Sandro Heckler