Green & Red Bounty, Unfurling

A zucchini froth blossom.

A zucchini froth blossom.

A few shots from the garden as it grows. I don’t have much of a green thumb when it comes to the kitchen garden, but watching each vegetable flower and then grow round has been a pleasure.DSC02283

The first tomato.

A long vine with tiny potimarrons, my favorite pumpkin for autumn soups and pies.DSC02287

The tiny tendrils that seem to grow and grasp for a secure hold before my eyes.DSC02289The gooseberry is weighted down with fruit – it’s from the old garden, one of the only soft fruit bushes we kept through the most recent renovation because it just seemed so happy in its spot. I haven’t yet decided what to do with all the fruit. Jam? Jelly? A gooseberry cordial? The most undemanding, reliably productive plant in the entire garden.DSC02290The cherry tree, which was barren last year, bears the best crop we’ve ever had. Too sweet to preserve, we’ll just have to pick and eat as many as we can and give the rest away. DSC02294

Ditto for the grapevine.DSC02303

And the mirabelle plums.DSC02297

What’s left┬áis for the birds.

Nothing like sharing the bounty.

Future Jam

This is the result of my Cherry Diversion the other day, a bowl of fat cherries that I turned into a runny but delectable cherry jam which I am redubbing a cherry coulis so the runniness will sound intentional. photo 2

It’s not thin liquid, it just doesn’t quite sit still once put on bread. It’s got a hint of almond and if I do say so myself, it’s not bad.

And here’s some very future jam in one of my secret blackberry patches. Just a few more weeks…

Blackberry blossom

Blackberry blossom

Cherry Diversion

The view from beneath a cherry tree.

The view from beneath a cherry tree.

It’s been a hectic few days and I’ve gotten behind on my posts and other writing, but sometimes life requires a different kind of presence besides work.

I was already at my desk this morning, ready to write a post, when my neighbor called. There were three key points she wanted to make: First, the cherry trees in the orchard between our two houses were heavy with ripe black cherries, and the farm owner had kindly placed a large ladder against one of the trees should we want to help ourselves. Second, she could see a major storm cloud approaching over the Jura range behind us, a black wall of rain. And third, the farm owner, who usually picks the cherries, is out of town for a week and the incoming rain will probably ruin all the ripened cherries.

The sheep follow us when we pick, hoping for scraps and offering the occasional leg lick in return.

The sheep follow us when we pick, hoping for scraps and offering the occasional leg lick in return.

It goes without saying that I dropped everything, picked up a bag and a camera, and marched next door with the sole mission of saving several pounds of cherries from impending rain damage.

The cherry orchard has been sold to developers. By this time next year, the old trees will be gone and this orchard will have nine double townhouse constructions, several driveways, and if the other suburban projects are any indication, no trees (or sheep) at all.

Lamb diversity.

Lamb diversity.

The owner’s sister came by to water the farm’s kitchen garden, and told us that these early ripening black cherries – planted by her father back in the 1950s, were a naturally resistant variety. The black cherries planted much more recently by her own neighbor down in the next village – a more fragile variety – are susceptible to worms and mold.

These old farm cherries have just kept putting out hundreds of kilos of magnificent cherries over the decades, fertilized mainly by successive generations of grazing sheep herds, and with no pesticides.

One of the cherry trees, and my intrepid neighbor at work.

One of the cherry trees, and my intrepid neighbor at work.

 

And so my neighbor and I picked cherries among the sheep, achieving a ratio of perhaps 70 – 30 when it came to cherries that landed in the basket versus cherries that landed in our mouths. Now, obviously, I am back at my desk.

Today’s other unplanned task will be making a batch of cherry jam, as well as a batch of drunken cherries bottled in (what else?) whisky.DSC02249

Come winter, we’ll have cherry jam on toast and marinated cherries in champagne.

We’ll drink to the orchards of spring and summer, and to seizing the day.DSC02265