Last week we started the blackberry harvest – a good 3 weeks earlier than last year, possibly due to a hot and dry Spring and Summer. The maze has afforded us with easy access to a greater number of blackberries and this year they seem bigger, rounder, firmer and more numerous. Yesterday the girls and I collected about 5 kilos, and today I made 10 jars of jam (about 400g each) from 3 kilos. Last week from 2 kilos I made 5 bottles of blackberry vinegar (500mL each), because last year it was so enjoyed by the girls – wonderfully refreshing during a hot summer and great on salads as a dressing. There are plenty more blackberries to be picked over the next weeks and time to get creative with what to do with them.
Also at the Bloch we are harvesting corn, and still more zucchinis, though they are smaller than these whoppers!
The tomatoes have been slow to ripen and we are only now getting the occasional ripe lemon cherry, black Russian or mortgage lifter.
Eug continues to mow the Bloch in stages, but now that the grasses are extremely dry and the mower’s blades have been replaced, it is far easier and quicker. However, only one third of the hectare is cut, and it will still be another week or two before the whole Bloch is completed. The Crown Land adjacent has also all been recently mown.
A word on the trees: The Ornamental Pear took a hammering over the hot Summer and nearly died, however I think it was saved by some timely rainfall in January and subsequent watering. One of the Poplars has snapped in half, most likely by wind during a storm. It will need replacing so the height of the four in a row are consistent. Fruit trees on the eastern boundary are struggling to survive, let alone grow and produce anything. The dwarf lemon has lost all its leaves. Everything else is fine. It is disheartening to report on the failures, but the reality in Australia is that unless there is adequate water supply and constant monitoring, plants will suffer. Unfortunately we are many kilometres away and visit, at best, once a week and then only for limited time.
The plan after the harvest is to slash the remainder of the blackberry bushes, all along the northern boundary. It will be an enormous job. The other boundaries continue to sprout blackberries – it’s a constant battle to keep the ground clear.
Check out the beautiful hedging I’ve created in this path on the northern boundary…