"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Saturday 5 September 2015

Fruit in the making

Spring has definitely sprung in my part of the world.

Those in the Northern hemisphere are winding down their gardens and looking forward to a time of rest and contemplation - after all their preserving is finished naturally ;)

Plum tree blossoms
But, here - there are signs of life everywhere.  I took a walk round the garden this week and happily snapped at the various signs of spring...
Apricot tree blossoms
 ... the plum trees blossomed weeks ago, and the fruit is already setting.

The apricots are slow - only a few blossoms, but enough to get the taste buds tingling in anticipation.
Pear tree blossoms
My personal favourite - the pear tree blossoms.  We only had a couple on the trees last year (due to my incorrect pruning) so to make up their display is stunning this year.
Youngberry cordial in the making... ;)
The youngberry bushes - a few blossoms are starting.  This is the one fruit that I want plenty of.  The youngberry cordial I made at the very end of last season was stunning, and I am definitely devoting 80% of the harvest to making cordial this year.  (and, yes, Dallas, I haven't forgotten you would like me to share the recipe ;)  )
Lemon buds, blossoms and fruit -
will the tree finally hold it's fruit?
 The lemon trees are blossoming - and still trying to hold onto their fruit.

Borage flowers.
Can you spot how full this bee's pollen sack is?
The bees are everywhere - trying to get into the house, on the fruit trees and on the borage flowers...

The mature lemon tree is also bearing blossom - and has a decent amount of fruit ;)
Eureka Lemons - with RMan on the John Deere
 in the top left corner of the pic.
And, kymber, your pineapple sage is flowering once again.  (Is it seriously a year since I last posted a pic of the pineapple sage???) 
kymber's Pineapple sage
As welcome as Spring is, we didn't really have a winter.  We woke to frost only 3 mornings this whole winter.  And nothing like the thick layer of ice on the trailer cover either.

To illustrate how mild the winter was...
Last seasons granadilla's are still ripening on
the vines
...my granadilla plants still have granadilla fruit ripening on the vines...
Aubergine (eggplant) forming on the
plant I managed to protect from
last season
 ... the one eggplant that I covered with a small piece of shadecloth to protect it from the frost, is still alive, and about to burst into flower...

And, most ridiculous of all - all my piquante pepper bushes are still bearing fruit?!
My piquante pepper bushes are still bearing from
  last summer???!
I'm not finished with the "winter-we-didn't-have-this-year" - surely there are still some Rosie days left this winter...???

But, I also now understand why I don't seem to preserve as much of my various harvests as those who live "up north" do.  Because we seriously have such a short winter it seems that no sooner have I finished preserving than the next crop is on it's way.

On a shelf in the carport, I have more than enough pumpkins / butternut to see me through until the next harvest.  It was an excellent harvest last summer - providing us with more than we could use, so I was able to supplement my children's larder too.

Tomato puree / concentrate / and sauce (ketchup) and sundried tomatoes I will always preserve.  The same with various homegrown fruit for jams and cordials.

But, very gratefully, I always seem to have either peas or beans of some form available in the garden.  The same applies to beetroot / swiss chard / carrots / lettuce / onions - they grow year round here.

Garlic - I seem to battle with that.  But, it doesn't stop me from trying ;)

The only veggies which are definitely winter only are cabbage and cauliflower - that's winter fodder for us :) (and the alpacas lol)

Given our abnormally mild winter (global warming / climate change?), I fear that this year's summer is going to be extra-ordinarily hot, so RMan and I are taking steps to protect our veggies / fruit trees / plants however we can.  But, more on that in my next posting...


  1. Lovely to see Spring coming, though your Winter does seem quite short from my perspective :) I think I'll plant borage next year - those flowers are so beautiful!

    1. Quinn - And, apart from attracting bees, the flowers are wonderful in a salad :)

  2. love the pictures of your garden. I think we are in for it this winter. The trees are loaded with fruit and the berries for the birds are heavy on all of the bushes and trees you pass here.

    1. Sol - heavily berried bushes are normally a sure sign of a hard winter ahead. Seems the only way I will be able to enjoy it is on all your (overseas) blogs...

  3. Love those spring blooms. You really do live in a marvelous place---such a short winter and everything survives it! Last year we had our worst winter ever----perhaps I need a "Rosie"? It would sure get a workout!
    Well, enjoy that fine spring weather. Looks like you'll have plenty of fruit this year.

    1. Sue - Yes, we are really fortunate with the length of our growing season.

      I promise you ( and RMan too) - you wouldn't regret getting a Rosie - it's a complete life saver - warms the house, cooks our food - and always has space to heat a 20lt pot of water for washing up... ;)

  4. Beautiful Dani! Everything here is winding down as you say, looking tired and ready to retire. I've always found summer insects to be worse after mild winters. I hope that's not the case for you.

    1. Leigh - Oh I hope not. I normally have such a problem with those horrible little biting flies...

  5. How beautiful things are! And I bet the smell is heavenly with those blooms. Definitely reading up on borage...I bet our bees would love it.

    We're in the "just get it over already" phase of Summer...a few more weeks and we'll hopefully have our permanent cooler weather. I too just feel like we all have a hard Winter coming....

    1. 1st Man - Oh, I do so wish we could have a serious, cold, hard winter. It feels like we're just playing at season change...

      Can't please everyone, you see?! ;)

  6. You remind me of Tanya in Australia, she has lots of wonderful fruits growing around her house too. I think the only thing that will grow up here is apple trees. I planted some years ago but the goats pulled down the chicken wire I put around them and ate all the bark off the trees, so they all died.

    1. Harry - You still have goats? Or do you want to give an apple tree another go?

  7. Here the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting cooler. I really am looking forward to the quiet and rest of winter. But your signs of spring make me smile. What a beautiful time of year it is. :)
    Overwintered eggplant and peppers? That's just crazy. We had a few very mild winters in a row (with long hot summers) and we adjusted our fall planting dates accordingly, only to be socked with an early freeze and therefore nearly zero fall production. So now I've accepted that while it will generally be warmer, we still have to be prepared for unseasonable cold sometimes too.
    Happy Spring!

    1. Bill - I agree - although summer is the serious growing season, winter has more than it's share of positives - a time of rest being one of them.

      Spring - rebirth - and renewed energy. I guess that is an important as resting, isn't it? :)

  8. Lovely to see everything coming to life over there. I'm hoping for enough sun to ripen the last of my tomatoes, and we are eating the last of the runner beans. The circle of the year is turning again.

    1. Chickpea - The circle certainly is forging forward... :)


Thank you for taking the time to comment - it makes my day and removes the "loneliness' of sitting at my screen blogging supposedly to myself ;) I try and reply as quickly as possible so please forgive me if sometimes my response is delayed.