Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Rain and more rain.
















One of the worries for farmers is what the weather is going to do. At present it is very unpredictable. Although the pressure is quite high on the barometer, there are frequent heavy showers. Yesterday we had an inch of rain in three hours, yet several hours of bright sunshine. The weather forecasters had said there would be only light showers in the east, so on Sunday (better the day, better the deed) the farmer cut four fields for second-crop silage. It was just drying nicely yesterday when the heavens opened. This morning he tossed it about in the bright sunshine and it dried beautifully. They started to bale it up half an hour ago and within ten minutes it was pouring with rain. It still is and the balers are sitting in the cab of the tractor and waiting to see what happens.
I have been out and about this afternoon with my camera. I popped the camera over the garden wall and took a snap where I had thrown a packet of hardy annuals - a few bits of candytuft, one marigold (complete with insect), lots of bright california poppies and a pretty red flower I don't recognise (identification anyone?)
Then in the field I came across this lovely "pincushion" on the stem of a wild rose. That is what we called them when we were children. Does anyone know what they are? The farmer thinks they are some sort of "gall" which houses insect larva - I'm not sure but doesn't it look pretty with the light behind it?
Yesterday we picked blackberries, today I made a blackberry and apple pie and the farmer made the rest into the first lot of Blackberry Whisky (1 pound berries, 1 pound sugar, 1 bottle cheap whisky - leave in demijohn for six weeks, strain and drink on cold winter nights). Now we are watching the sloes for the sloe gin - you will see in the photograph that there are plenty of them but they are nowhere near ripe yet. The recipe is the same but substitute gin or vodka for the whisky and if you don't feel like wasting time pricking each sloe with a darning needle then put them in the freezer overnight and when you add the gin they will all split and release their juices.

27 comments:

steven said...

hi weaver, i don't drink whiskey but the recipe makes me think that perhaps i need to consider developing a new habit!!!! have a lovely drier day in the dale. steven

Midlife Jobhunter said...

The rain has brought you the most beautiful flowers, though. None here as we've had no rain. Everything is dried up and rather ugly.

Sloe gin - always amazes me what I don't know. The blackberry whiskey sounds most delicious.

jeannette stgermain said...

Don't envy your hubby - in the UK and similar "neighborhoods" rain must be a constant worry for farmers.
It does make everything grow lusciously though (and green!!!)

Leenie said...

The weather is indeed a fickle business partner. Hope things dry up for your hay crop. We live were blackberries don't. I miss the picking and the pie(canned and frozen never will beat fresh).

Gramma Ann said...

Hello Weaver,

It sounds like the weather we had here in Iowa, USA, this past week-end. We had 6 inches of rain, and some flooding in our area. I use to be a farm wife and know how the weather plays a big part in trying to get the hay and other crops in and put away for the winter months.

I like the pictures of your flowers and I especially like the picture of you and the farmer in the post before this one. I always like seeing pictures of blogging buddies. It seems to make everything more personal, somehow.

I'll drop by some day for a sloe-gin frizz.... I think I will go fix myself one right now! ; )

Heather said...

Our climate in recent years must be a nightmare for farmers and for the forecasters. The weather is sometimes so localised. I think the farmer is right about the pincushions. They are so pretty but I believe they are something not good for the plant. I can't identify your lovely red flower but feel I should know what it is. Blackberry whiskey sounds just the thing for a Yorkshire winter - even though I don't drink whiskey.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Lovely photos Weaver.tried Sloe gin for the first time last year,it was okay, very sweet like port, but I couldn't drink a whole pint of it.As for Blackberry whiskey,I think it might be quite alright so long as you take out the blackberries and the sugar ;)

pS If I were to drink a whole pound of sugar, I would become fatally hyperactive and all my teeth would drop out instantly.

Hildred and Charles said...

I have been around all these many years and have never known that sloe gin was made from 'sloes'! I always drank my gin with ginger ale and grapefruit juice, so I am off to learn about sloes from Google, Weaver. Did you know that Google provides 94% of the world's knowledge these days?

Eryl Shields said...

Your packet emptying gave great results.

I must go out sloe hunting soon I love sloe gin, not sure about the blackberry whiskey, though if I can get enough blackberries I might try it.

Kim said...

Yumm! How good does that blackberry whisky sound! Ah, long night by the fire and the whisky for tipples, Too good weaver!

Amy said...

is that yellow flower a calendula or type of daisy? very pretty wildflowers in the first one

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely photos, wonderful what a lot of rain can do, though it has its downside sometimes of course....

the pretty thing in the stem does look like some type of gall but can't be more specific at the moment

Golden West said...

You can't imagine how surprised I was to see California poppies in your garden - I had no idea they grow in Great Britain! We're praying for rain to ease our drought - we've been on water rationing since the beginning of July.

BT said...

What an interesting post Weaver. Do you know, I have never seen that on a rose? So I'm no help. As for the red flower, no, no use there either! What a good idea to scatter your left overs - they have made a lovely show.

Our rain has been just as bad - if not worse. One minute it's sunny, the next it's bucketing down. About half an hour ago the noise made by the rain and wind was amazing.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

It's been wet here too - I had to keep turning the lawn mower upside down and scraping out piles of wet grass stuck round the inside! Blackberry whisky and sloe gin sound like the perect antidote!

Twisted willow said...

The farmer is right about the gall, Weaver. It's the mossy rose gall that develops around the larva of the cynipid wasp. If you cut one open the larva should be inside - unless it's flown off as a wasp, of course!

The flower is the red flax - Linum grandiflorum rubrum to give it its posh name. If you know the commercially grown blue flax it's a pretty similar plant.

I think you've got some of the rain we've had. No-one's bothered with hay here - all the grass has gone for sillage - and even then it's been tough to find a fine enough spell to cut it.

Pondside said...

That Blackberry whiskey sounds interesting. Our blackberries are nearly ready for picking, but I don't think we have sloes here - must google them.

Regina said...

Such a lovely bloom!

Derrick said...

Hello Weaver,

I was getting more intoxicated as I read through your post! I well remember my Mother's blackberry and apple pies after we had been picking; long ago! Pity about the rain, it's a bit of a bu--er isn't it?!

The Weaver of Grass said...

First of all can I assure you that blackberry whisky does not taste of whisky - it tastes of blackberries. I hate whisky and could not drink it if you paid me - but blackberry whisky on a cold night is lovely.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Sloe gin - the sloes are not ready here until November when we make sloe gin - well, to be honest we both hate the taste of gin so we actually make sloe vodka as vodka is pretty tasteless and the result is just a fruity taste.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Jeannette is right the weather is really fickle - we just have to be philosophical about it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

TFE Nobody drinks a pint of sloe gin - it is taken in tiny glasses, a sip at a time!!!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Sloes are the fruit of the blackthorn - and we have masses of that here - it is a real Northern plant in the UK and there are thickets of it wherever we look. The sloes are hard and sour and they never get any tastier - even the birds leave them until they are desperate for food.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Bloggers you are wonderful - there is always someone who knows the answer to any query. Read twisted willow if you want to know the details of that pincushion on the rose stem. Brilliant. Thanks TW!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for raising all kinds of talking points as usual - you are great!

Reader Wil said...

Rain is something we can't do without, but it often comes when we don't need it. Anyway I hope that your hay will stay dry now!
The flowers are lovely!