Tuesday, 16 June 2015

All the cherries are done, so is one of the pigs....

 
 
Well I've done the cherries. I am sorry to say that having the harvest arrive when it did was a bit of a nuisance because of having lots of other things to do, like keep on finding homes for all the equipment and other stuff which was in the back kitchen. It's all moved out now, and Builder Jim is now working on the walls. He has already found a rat nest, with one mummified rat in situ. I was right about the rats having rat runs inside the actual walls, because the nest had two runs, one going downwards, the other going upwards, and all unseen by us. Oh well, it's all been stoppered up by concrete, which is a good thing, because when I was pottering about in the back kitchen it was always in the back of my mind that a rat would be around. And they were. The nest was at head height.
 
Anyway, I have got the cherries stored away, but dehydrated them instead, which was less effort to do than putting them into canning jars, which I did last year. I didn't do anything with the cherries, just got the pips out, cut them in half, and put them cut side uppermost on the dehydrator trays.
 
 
 
..which dried them into these....
 
..... which all went into a bag for winter use...
 
 
I am keeping an eye on the bag to make sure that no moisture appears on the plastic, which means that the cherries have not dried properly. So far so good. And the oddness is,  that these cherries of ours taste sour when fresh, but when dehydrated, they are a lot sweeter and definitely yummy, and will be taking the place of raisins and sultanas in cakes and desserts I bake.
 
I need to prune the cherry trees now. Keep dithering about doing so. Apparently you can never kill a fruit tree by pruning it, yet I still feel nervous about taking the scissors to our trees. I bought a big posh book about pruning trees. We have other books about pruning trees. There is the internet full of info about pruning trees. But still I dither.........
 
 
Did one of the three female pigs the other day. Had to do the job at daybreak because of the flies. We just managed to finish the job just as the first flies arrived. It is not the best time of the year to be slaughtering animals, but the job had to be done.
 
To cool the carcass down we put it into the freezer. Good job we bought big freezers. A few hours of chilling, and we were able to get the meat butchered. All done. 
 
 
Trying to stay positive at the moment. The back kitchen is now empty, which is good .....  and memories of the rat infestation in that area will fade away, encouraged to do so by the work of pour builder as he gets the walls repaired and then covered over with lime plaster. I once loved the look of the stone walls, but have come to realise that they might look attractive, but that they also are home to insects, rats, and mice, this I have learnt by living beside those walls. But our positivity seems to want to go downhill at the moment, probably assisted by this ongoing stormy, oppressive weather we are having at the moment.
 
...... and our builder has just said that the walls are sprinkled with lots of rat holes....must have been like the M25 inside those walls as rats scampered along their rat highways. Crikey, but I felt quite sick as I looked at those walls. Not to worry, the other side of the wall has already been repaired and sealed, and this side will be sealed soon. The rat war continues!!!

11 comments:

northsider dave said...

I hate rats Vera. There are always to be found around our smallholdings. Last year I saw a fox carrying a dead rat in its mouth in one of the fields. Foxes help us sometimes. Hope the weather gets better for you.

Vera said...

Dave, I can accept that rats are always going to be found when one has a smallholding, but really! Not in the house! And not in the walls of my kitchen! Weather is still steamy and humid, .....now if I had that summerhouse you posted up the picture of.....well, that is where you would find me during weather such as this!

Ohiofarmgirl said...

keep your positivity, Vera! i know it's hard to keep going when it all looks grim.. but you can do it! great work with the cherries. all i can think about are scones for this winter. and yes stop dithering and hack away at those trees. i was nervous as well but i hard pruned a few and they are going like gangbusters now. most of our pruning is supposed to be in the winter but i'm still reshaping. we are hating on the rats as well but we killed a big slew of them. a little progress at a time. onward!
:-)

Janice said...

OMG, I don't think I'd be able to cope knowing there are rats lurking around the corners. I have a terrible phobia about rats and mice ( any rodent). I am 63 years old and I can be reduced to a 2 year old blubbering fool when it comes to these creatures. I love to read about your life but I guess I'm destined to remain a city girl where we may, very rarely, see a mouse and this is a rat free province!!

rusty duck said...

They are here now too, although thankfully not in the house (touch wood). Bigger problem at the moment is stoats. At least mice and rats run away when they see you..
Now don't go getting all despondent Vera, you are one of the most positive people I know. There will be a thunderstorm and all will be well.

Kev Alviti said...

I couldn't have the rats that close to me, I'd go mad! I'd just sit in the corner with a shotgun all winter!
Those cherries look amazing. I dried some raspberries last year and I'm still using them in cookies now, everyone always asks what it is when they bite into it!
I love your new header - great picture!

Vera said...

OhioFarmGirl, thanks for the encouragement about getting our cherry trees pruned. I shall have a go as soon as the weather is drier. Thanks for the encouragement as well....

Janice, bless you, but I could not live in a city now, so I shall just have to struggle on with coping with the rats!

Jessica, well at least we don't have stoats, so that is a blessing! But we do have snakes, several of them, and all close to the house! Ah, the joys of country living! Thanks for your words of encouragement.

Kev, Lester is joining the local gun club at the end of the summer, so perhaps he can shoot the rats as well as the magpies which steal our hens and young chicks! I am hoping that the dried cherries will add bursts of flavour to the cakes and biscuits I put them in, but not sure if they will last that long as I keep nibbling them!


Olly said...

Yum, dried cherries - what a great idea. I'm always amazed at how much you have both achieved in your time there. Having the kitchen decorated (or deratted!) is always the worst job in the house, it's not surprising you feel demotivated but it'll all be worth it when it's done. At least you know the rats won't be able to return to their old haunts. I agree, a thunderstorm might help to lift your mood, I always feel out of sorts when its humid and heavy and it can trigger a migraine.

GaynorB said...

Like the dehydrated cherries idea and a great idea for cakes, biscuits or indeed nibbles!
Not keen on rats, but sometimes they are part and parcel of the rural environment.

Rhodesia said...

The dehydrator sounds a perfect answer to me. I have made jam and frozen a lot but I prefer not to take up freezer space. Off to Biscarrosse tomorrow for a week to see some new scenery.
Hope you sort the rats out ASAP. Take care Diane x

Kerry said...

You lucky thing having all those delicious cherries. The birds ate ours, must protect them better next year x