Monday, 21 September 2015

The Week's Top Tip

Have you ever lost a garden tool?  It's all too easy when you are trying to do too many jobs in too little time.  I solved the problem (almost} by wrapping a ring of brightly coloured electrician's insulation tape round the handle of my tools.  Yellow shows up really well when you have popped down a tool then moved on to another job, or covered it in a pile of prunings.  Try it!

Daylight hours are getting shorter, borders to be tidied, though not too much, mild weather is keeping the grass growing though I am hoping it will soon be the last cut. The "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" as the poet (remind me which one) said, is well and truly upon us. There is fruit to pick and preserve by various methods.  Fig and date chutney is one of my specialities; no problem with the figs but I have buy in the dates.
  Apple and walnut chutney will be next  You might like the recipe, though it is an old one and I still make it in pounds and ounces.

Apple and Walnut Chutney

1 pint cider vinegar, 1 lb light muscovado sugar, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 inch fresh root ginger finely chopped, 1 tbsp coriander seeds crushed, 1 tsp ground allspice, 1 tbsp whole cumin seeds, 3-4 green chillies de-seeded and chopped, 2 lbs Bramley apples, peeled, cored and chopped, 1 lemon thinly sliced but not peeled, seeds removed, slices quartered,.8 oz onions chopped, 8 oz sultanas, 2 lb eating apples cored and chopped, 8 oz walnuts chopped.
Put vinegar, sugar, salt, ginger, spices and chillies into pan, heat gently till sugar has dissolved then bring to a rolling boil.  Add Bramley apples, lemon, onion and sultanas.  Simmer for 30 minues. Add eating apples and walnuts. Simmer for at least another
45 minutes, till thick, stirring frequently to prevent burning.
Pot and seal in the usual way and leave for at least 2 weeks before using.

Farming:  the expression "keeping a weather eye open" becomes truly meaningful.  A little rain will make  blackgrass, a major problem, grow, so spraying will be effective.  However, a breakdown and a four day wait for the required replacement part makes us all anxious.  Job done; oilseed rape is drilled; will the weather allow us to rip up with the spring tines, rotate to obtain a seed bed then get the wheat drilled?  Timing is critical.  We have heavy land and if it gets too wet it is impossible to get the machinery onto it.  As I said, the weather has the last word.