Chapter Three


Harvest

Whilst all this savagery has been carrying on, all the edibles currently growing in the wild place that is my garden have been quietly getting on with things. Doesn’t that sounds nice. The chives, however, have sadly been washed out, trampled on so many times it’s beyond the ridiculous & are in a right sorry mess, but when you grow in the middle of the dysfunctional patio, what do you expect. I’m sure they’ll grow back. Again. I’ll probably dig them up at some point, they deserve no less, they produced lots of seeds earlier this year & I took some nice photographs in their demise. The fairy strawberries share a similar fate, but they are prolific growers. Pop up anywhere & everywhere, which has been nice to be honest, they’re pretty, add much needed colour & nibbles for us & the wildlife alike but they grow in all in the wrong places.

Obviously, me whinging on like this doesn’t make a blind bit of difference, like my outrage will make them all behave & grow where they’re told. Funnily enough I once had an interesting conversation with a neighbour, most disgruntled at one of our shrubs thrusting flowers through the fence into their garden, I mean how dare it. They asked what I was going to do about it, I politely replied I’d have a word. Well what else could I do, & talking to your plants is important, even if they do ignore you.

So, what else.

The brambles, the blessed brambles, oh what a love/hate relationship I have with them. I missed the last of berries & now the Autumn weather has come, the remaining fruit has all turned to mush. Not a pretty sight. I’m not quite ready to tackle the monstrous job of removing the tangled jungle just yet. Now in the freezer is a very tidy harvest of just under 6 pounds of rather lovely juicy ripe fruit. Bonus! And excitedly, after a little persuasion I’m going to turn some of it into wine. You read that right, WINE. My inner Barbara is beyond excited! Lovely lush homemade wine! I only need a few bits of equipment, (Pops has come to the rescue with strict instructions) – tick, a fabulous shop that sells all my wine making needs (Hadfields of Macclesfield since 1755) – tick, a warm spot, which I sure can be arranged – tick tick TICK. Ready for Christmas 2020 & a little left over for jam. TICK. Oh my actual days, this is the good life! I mean, it can’t be that hard can it. Well, the proof quite literally will be in the slurping, I’ll let you in on the progress.

The downside is the brambles are still there snagging at me every time I go out, tripping me up – like I need help in that department, I swear the damn things are still growing at least a FOOT a day, no word of a lie. But now, thanks to a very fine gift, & a thoroughly kind friend, I am the very proud owner of the most stylish pair of bramble repellent leather gardening gloves the world has ever seen or a girl could ever want. I LOVE them. They look like bramble gauntlets, I feel I could put them on & the tangled jungle would part before me, they are that awesome. I wouldn’t be surprise at all if a bird of prey came & alighted upon them, they really are THAT cool. AND they have purple bits on – stylish & awesome. You know you want some – get ye to Hadfields then. I just need a whole suit now to go with them which may be stepping into realms of weirdness even I’m not prepared to go.

Now moving on to the subject of fruit trees. I adore my fruit trees, well some, well ok, one. Technically there are three, therefore an orchard, although there’s only one that’s really useful. The first is the crab apple tree. This is not so far, a useful tree. It’s fruit apparently more useful as ammo, the white render on the front of our house used as target practise giving it the appearance of measles come Autumn. The girls down the road enjoy riding their bikes overs the windfalls on the pavement squishing & splattering under their tyres. They’re outdoors, that’s what counts. Last year the harvest was quite spectacular. The branches so laden, tall cars with roof racks, (so that would be ours then) were getting tangled. Apparently you’re supposed to prune them. Anyways, I did the neighbourly thing – kept everyone happyish, harvested, stopped all the fun, fully intending to make jelly & maybe Gin – yes Gin, there is a recipe let me tell you, (see ‘recipes‘) & all manner of things but definitely Gin. So, in the garage they sat & sat & they sat really well. And sadly, they eventually went to be composted. Which was a shame. This year there’s a much smaller haul which is a relief & the need to pebble dash the house has passed some people by, & I’ve not reminded them. The girls are back though, we all need a hobby. I’ll have a little harvest & make some gin, I mean what do crab apples taste of. Worth a try though because I can’t be bothered making jelly, it’s sounds like a right faff, & therefore pointless & something ‘other’ people would do, & not half as much fun in the testing, know what I mean!! Another job. if I’m not careful, I’ll end up joining the WI at this rate, although as one friend commented the other week, it would probably be the militant arm. Still not pruned it.

So that leaves the apple & pear tree. There’s not much to be said about the pear tree, it’s a conference pear, it grows that close to the apple tree unless you knew it was there you wouldn’t know it was there. Bad planning that one. Not mine for once. There were an amazing amount of pears this year, we’re talking at least 15. Look, that’s lot, ok. Anyway, Squizzer Nutkin, bless his nuptials has had all bar 2, I can only reach one, there’s a shed in the way with a questionable roof structure. Think I’ll leave that one then. Well fought Nutkin, well fought, next year though. . .

And so to my beloved apple tree, species unknown. It’s simply awesome. It does what it wants, it grows how it wants, etc etc. It defies all logic. It’s also funny who think they have dibs on it. It firmly resides in our garden, no overhanging branches, not near the road, can’t see it from the road even, but we’ve had scrumpers this year. Yep you’ve that right – scrumpers. Who scrumps apples in this day & age? Dirty rotten little toads, I have my suspicions. And we’ll leave it at that. But seriously who scrumps apple these days?? I can understand it though, the apples are lush, they have pink flesh which is cool as anything & the taste is amazing & despite some research, I still don’t know what it. It’s great for cooking, eating & apple sauce, perfect for Christmas as is the tradition in our family like forever. We have cranberry sauce now, you know, don’t want to be too weird, stand out too much, I don’t know if it’s a northern thing or not, I’m open to discussion but we have applesauce. I’m also open to all kinds of advice or knowledge when it comes to my tree, I’d love to know. I’ve written about it before, I haven’t named it if you were wondering, other trees obviously do have names, you don’t need to meet them just yet. Anyway, the season of baking with apples is upon us & I couldn’t be more excited. All those cakes, crumbles, muffins, cakes, pies, tarts, flans, traybakes, cakes, flapjacks or maybe even apple cider, wonder how you make that. Or even cider!!!!!!!!!! Ok, not quite enough for cider then, but one can have goals.

So, all that should keep me busy when it’s really too soggy outside, & when I need a distraction from all the boring stuff, like house work, apparently a lack of clean underwear in the appropriate drawers at silly o’clock in the morning does not make happy bunnies. I’ve also been making plans for hard landscaping (far more important) It’s truly an exciting prospect. I mean making mortar essentially is no different to making mud is it, a few more ingredients maybe & some washing up liquid & really who doesn’t like making mud. I’m contemplating buying myself my very own cement mixer or at least adding it to my Christmas List, I’d like to see that wrapped & popped under the tree. Plus,, all the accoutrements, bags of cement, sand, & all the concrete blocks individually wrapped & ribboned of course. JOY.

In other News, the Wheel Barrow has been named Bertie despite some shocking late skulduggery over on Facebook. If you hear rumours of another name being bandied about, please ignore this, pure fabrication. Naming ceremony – with photos & Prosecco are to follow & I’m sure we can rustle up a plaque no less.

There have been exciting new menus added to website under ‘Reference Section‘, with the prospect of things for the future, I’m literally too excited for words. In the meantime, I’m busy baking appley things & packing as winter sailing has put a right spanner in my gardening works, but the flip side of this is I get to do research, wear my Big Girl Wellies, see fab friends, ply them with baked goods & plot & plan but wish I was digging as there’s really quite a lot of that to do & Winter is Coming. Get your woolies ready.

P.S. Please feel to add your comments below or over on Facebook & Instagram. Would be good to hear what you from you

2 thoughts on “Chapter Three

  1. Helen Springall

    Hello COCOANOKO! I have been reading your blog with glee – a girl after my own country heart. I hear you say wine making and possible cider making – I’m liking your style! 😉 I like the sound of blackberries and apples & pear growing as they will and you taking their bounty and making delicious delights with – especially now Crimbo is on it way… keep up the good work and pop on your wellies in the midst of Autumn dew. Winter is nigh! I look forward to the next excerpt… HLS.designs x

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    1. Hello Lovely Helen! How lovely to hear from you!! Thank you so much for having a read, and with glee too! that made me smile very much! Figured we’d have similar views of the world you know somehow. Always making,, thinking of what to make next. Can’t wait for Christmas! Head is full of ideas! Just need more time, more space, more hands & a bigger freezer! Will do my best Mrs S! CocoaNoko xxx

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