Tuesday, 16 September 2008
Food for Free but no vitamin D
One of my few sunflowers not felled under the weight of August's rain.
Experts said on the radio yesterday that the people of Scotland suffer from a vitamin D deficiency because the sun's rays refuse to shine here. Looking at the weather today I can see their point but there is so much more going for us that we forget to look beyond what the experts tell us.
Last night's full moon could not been seen through the rain clouds, but I knew it was there. I am inclined to call this the Harvest Moon although that technically is not correct; the Harvest Moon is the moon after the first frost and miraculously we haven’t had a frost yet. But harvesting is what I did most of the weekend. The wet summer means the hedgerows are dripping with produce and there is enough for me and the birds. The day was dry and bright on Sunday and Colin and I stepped just outside our door and foraged for sloe berries, rowan berries and brambles. The hawthorn is in abundance too but we had run out of bags when we reached them. I also collected some beechnuts which I intend to roast.
And like last year I collected pounds of plums and damsons from my neighbours’ trees. Yesterday while the rain poured down and the sun refused to gift the Scots with their necessary dose of vitamin D, I spend the afternoon in the warm company of the radio making compote, jam, chutney, wine, sloe gin and rowan berry liqueur. I think we now have more than enough sugar and alcohol in that batch to see us through the wet winter.
I just need to find my own herring stock and then the vitamin D problem will be sorted.
My barrel garden
The harvest in the garden has also been a bumper. In keeping with my Fifty First Timers here is a list of all the vegetables and fruit I grew successfully for the first time this year;
Peppers, cucumber, cauliflower, leeks, celery, asparagus pea, red onion, tomatillo and Brussel sprouts. I am also attempting to grow aubergine but as yet they have to bear fruit. Rhubarb, gooseberry and blackberry, have also been planted this year although the birds had the feast of the harvest there. I grew marigolds from seed and used these as a companion plant for the greenhouse plants. It was amazing to watch them being shredded by tiny beasts while the veg plants were left to grew in peace.
If the food prices continue to rise at their present rate I may have to put in even more effort next year to reduce my food air miles and the strain on my budget.