A Tasmanian Summer’s Abundance

No-one could ever say Tasmania and this Valley were not productive. Despite the challenges of the dry weather, a plague of green beetles, marauding possums, potoroos and wallabies, everyone’s gardens seem to be yielding huge supplies of summer fruits.
This morning started out with Robert bottling off a gluten free beer.

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He is, as always, accompanied by his faithful cat Rosie. She is more loyal to him than the dog (sorry Poppy but it’s true). Wherever he goes she can be seen trotting along behind, whenever he stops she is there asking for a cuddle.

IMG_1448Anyway, even our own vegetable beds are yielding enough for our table and more besides.
I love herbs, must have them growing about the place. To me it’s a bit like the kitchen equivalent to bread dough – always have to have a batch on the rise or baking.
While I was hand-watering the garden beds a day or so ago, I counted how many different herbs we have and was amazed to find there are 42. The lavender was harvested this morning and also the pepper berries (or what the possums had left of them).

IMG_1450IMG_1454I’m not quite sure what to do about the bergamot. I hate to take it away from the bees, they love it so much. The flower are constantly a-buzz with bumble bees, ordinary bees and native bees, all feasting together.

IMG_1372This afternoon we met Andrew, Emma and grandson Hunter at their friends Adrian and Lisa’s house to pick plums. And what a load of plums there were – red, purple and yellow.

Adrian tells me that he prefers to leave pips in the plum jam, adds to the flavour his mum said. I know my Nan used to do that too. Tomorrow I plan to make tri-plum jam, some Worcestershire sauce and plum sauce, maybe even fruit leather.
If you are gluten intolerant incidentally, don’t use dark malt vinegar in the Worcestershire sauce. Cider vinegar or white is fine. Not sure if the vinegar labelled ‘brown’ is gluten free though.
Picking was great fun, but in my all-too-familair clumsy, bumble-footed way, managed to trip over a rock and fall down most ungraciously. No damage done (I bounce well, one advantage of extra covering).
So now we are home. Plums are washed – these are just a few in the photos, ready for the first batches of preserves tomorrow.

IMG_1475IMG_1477IMG_1469We were also given a huge bag of elderberries, what generous people. Robert has stripped the berries from their stalks (with a fork) in readiness for making an elderberry tonic Andrew and Emma told me about. Lisa provided the recipe – ginger, elderberries, cinnamon and honey. She gave me a taste of the batch she had made, delicious, not to mention medicinal.

IMG_1471IMG_1482Poppy has been off-colour today and we found out why – she had an enormous tick on her. We removed it of course, and she soon perked up, after a restorative little nap on the couch.

IMG_1470As for Truffles, she just is…..(the most delightful, peaceable kitten). Tom, absolutely fully recovered after his 5 days missing adventure, rarely leaves our side lately and is much more affectionate than he used to be.

IMG_1441And so very early tomorrow we will be preserving, 6am start at the latest. There’s hint in the air that there may be the opportunity to go berry picking. Can’t miss out on that!
Oh yes, and I almost forgot – 10 kilos of pickling onions to be peeled and salted down.

IMG_1447Never a dull moment, aka another day in paradise!

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