Tuesday, 2 August 2011
Reaping the benefits.
With harvests underway everywhere, when weather conditions allow, it is time to begin to reap our vegetable garden harvest. We have already eaten the raspberries and strawberries; this year we left the blackcurrants for the blackbirds - and did they enjoy them.
Now it is time for the other vegetables. We are eating the Swiss Chard almost daily and still enjoying it - it does taste exactly like spinach but I find steaming it for a couple of minutes gives a nice consistency on which to serve a nice salmon steak or something like that.
Yesterday and again this morning, the farmer began to pick our peas. Although we sowed three different kinds, all supposed to be for succession, they are all ready together. Luckily he is quite happy to sit for the afternoon in the utility room and pod them. I then blanch them and within a couple of hours they are in the freezer.
We couldn't resist a boiling for supper last night along with a helping of new potatoes, some mint and a knob of butter - delicious.
Tomorrow he will start on the broad beans, which are also ready. They will be podded, blanched and frozen too. The courgettes are being eaten almost daily and the small yellow French beans are coming along nicely. Leeks and runner beans will all be ready shortly. Isn't it good to be eating one's own vegetables?
Of course it all comes at a cost - the garden has been manured (we are never short of that commodity), well-dug, left over winter to get a good frost on it, raked, fertilised and planted. All this takes time, care and attention and - dare I say - love.
And speaking of love I found this really beautiful obituary in one of Ronald Blythe's books. It was read out at the funeral of a farmer in the 1930's and was written as though it came from one of the farmer's fields:
"I have been a field for nigh on a thousand years, and I know men. Some are clever, some are kind, but very few are clever and kind, but he was, and I am sorry that all the other fields of England - who need him so much in these days - will have to go on without him" Taken from 'Borderland' by Ronald Blythe (Volume III of the Wormingford Trilogy) and surely as true today as it was in the 1930's.
Don't forget to post your favourite books tomorrow if you are joining in.