Saturday, 2 July 2011


There is something really satisfying about building a stash of food for future use. Harvest time has started, and the first onion and potato crops have been brought in from the veg plot and the first twenty two pots of jam have been made from our fruit. Gosh!

And hard work it is. Many a time we have wondered about the advisability of expending the energy needed to produce these harvests. The plod of prepping the ground, planting the seed, watering and weeding. It is a long journey and one which at any time can fail that end harvest: not watering, or leaving the weeds to grow over the young plants, or not keeping an eye on how things are going, will fail that end crop. As I say, it is a bit of a plod.

Perhaps that is why I tend to spend more time out in the front garden amongst the flowers. A flower garden, I think, is more restful, perhaps because one tills the soil, one plants the seed, shrub or tree, one waters and weeds, and then the flowers come, relieving one of the necessity of then bringing in the harvest. But then one is also robbed of the immense sense of satisfaction when one sees the produce heaped up for future use. A good balance, therefore, is to have both, which I am gradually coming to terms with. It takes time to cross over between two lives and one has to patient with the process, this is what I am learning. I have an expanding life, and at sixty four, I feel lucky to have such a life. 

Sometimes, however, I do fall out of the saddle. Sometimes, just sometimes, I do sigh.  But not today! Because I have just made some pots of jam and I feeeeelllllll goooooodddd!

Five pots of apricot. Eight pots of peach and apricot. Nine pots of yellow plum. In the midst of winter they will bring summer sunshine into us. And I will have forgotten the ages it took to prep the fruit....

....although I did have help to clean up the stickiness of the 'testing for the set of the jam' spoon, which requires a spoonful of jam being taken from the hot jam pot on the stove, taking it outside and then waving it about to cool the jam down. If it all falls off the spoon it is not done, but if it sticks then it is. This, however, produces puddles of jam on the floor / ground which is why it is best to this part outside! And it's nice to have a bit of help now and again to clean up the stickiness.

Harvesting things is good for the soul, and makes one feel in charge of one's life, that is what I am finding out. Hope you have something in your life which makes you feel equally as proud of yourself,...... and saying bye for now. x

PS: Would that one of the broody hens in the Tall Barn felt the same. Her lack of effort at keeping all the eggs underneath her at the same time tells me that we are unlikely to have any little ones hatching from those eggs. She might, I am thinking, just be regarding this 'broody' lark as an excuse to have a holiday from life!


Horst in Edmonton said...

It is nice to see that you have such a good harvest of your fruit. The jam looks wonderful. Enjoy the fruits of your labour. You have earned it. Have a great weekend Vera.

Anonymous said...

Very impressive. Well worth all the hard work. Really is a pleasure to read your wonderful bloggeau. Best regards, Tommo (I've had to sign in as 'anonymous' 'cos it appears to be the only way I can get a message to you)

Jean said...

Our vegetable patch is tiny but nothing comes close to the feeling of smug satisfaction when you eat some broad beans or lettuce that was in the garden just an hour ago.
I also discovered how easy jam making was only last year. I always thought there was a huge mystique around it but so long as you don't mind getting sticky it's a doddle.
I love all you Bon Maman jars - I have been saving mine and scrounging them from friends and family - scowling at them if they bought a different brand - no other jar looks so good and does the job so well !!!!

I had to chuckly at your method for testing if the jam has reached setting point - if I did that the floor would be covered in jammy splodges!! I use the "push a spoonful on a saucer you have had in the fridge and see if it wrinkles" test, which is slightly less messy !!

Roz said...

The jam looks fabulous - I made some pesto yesterday - I hope you are enjoying this lovely weather xxx

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

Hmmmmm my potatoes, onions and plums are not even close to being ready. I have given up making jam the hard way. I now just use sugar jam, cook for a few minutes and bottle!! Diane

John Gray said...

gooseberry jam for me tormorrow!!!
great fuun eh?

SueC said...

nothing more satisfying than jam making - Ive had to buy apicots from the market as our newly planted tree is yet to produce fruit - your crop looks great. I have learnt a lesson myself this year on the veg patch having seriously underestimated the amount of watering I should have done!

Vera said...

Horst, hope you have had a fab weekend and hope you have a good week ahead.

Tommo, nice to hear from you! I kept leaving responses on your blog but I don't think they got through - I think Google blogs need an overhaul. Anyways, hope you are well.

Jean, I tried the cold plate test for jam setting but I didn't seem to get on with it. Waving a drippy spoon seems to do the trick with me! I started jam making seriously last year as well, and I agree about the mystique and that it really is a doddle after you have had the first sticky experience! Agree about those jam jars as well. Lovely shape and feel!

Roz, pesto heh! Now that does sound complicated, and I must have a look on the Internet to find out what pesto actually is!

Diane, crikey are behind us with the harvest, but maybe it is because you have not had much rain. I use that sugar as well, but to cut down cost I use half of that and half of the normal sugar. Seems to work a treat!

John, gooooozzzeeeberrrryyy jam! Wow!

SueC, watering comes as a surprise indeed when one first starts veg patching! It is quite surprising the speed at which everything wilts if one does not pay attention to the veg plots needs!

Duta said...

I'm very fond of apricot fruit and of apricot jam. Your harvest looks delicious!

I'm glad you derive satisfaction from your hard work, and even envy you a little bit for that.
May you greatly enjoy the fruit of you labor!You fully deserve it.

Ken Devine said...

Hi Vera
Thanks for the reminder that harvesting things is good for the soul. You DESERVE the fruits of your labour.

The Machinist's Wife said...

Vera! Look at you. Look how busy you have been and what you have achieved. Well done! It's been lovely 'visiting' you. Reminds me so much of the time I have spent in my own garden and I miss it very much. I've always found that the hardest part is the HARVESTING of all that you have grown, keeping up with the picking and storing until you can get to it to do something with it. Only a gardener and food grower can understand this sense of satisfaction. Well done, and enjoy your bounty. xx

Vera said...

MW, lovely to have connected with you again, and you are right about the harvesting part. After all the work of looking after the produce to get it to harvest time one already feels quite worn out!