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!!!