Saturday, 2 December 2006

tis the season

It's the time of year when I walk around the garden just anticipating what's going to ripen next. Although these apricots are a relatively late season variety (moorepark for the interested) I'm guessing they will be coming in before the apples, plums, passionfruit and maybe even strawberries. It is one of our younger fruit trees and although it did have some fruit last year, it wasn't much, it was all up high and a lot of it was badly marked by rain (I think). Our unusually hot spells in early spring, followed by unusually cold spells in late spring seem to have been perfect for setting fruit.

Despite advice that apricots are terribly vulnerable to fungal infections in pruning wounds, we attacked it savagely last winter because it was shaped badly and was leaning to the point of toppling. I tell you, if you want to grow in my yard you gotta be tough and productive. So a terrible drought combined with our laziness means it almost never gets a drink, but it's making what looks like fabulous friut.

But it isn't yet big enough to make me think we'll be overwhelmed with fruit, and as one of the sweeter varieties it isn't the best jam crop to my taste. So when I walked past the local greengrocer and saw the tart early season apricots going cheap I impulsively jumped into action. Of course like a total idiot I made all the classic jamming errors of judgetment and poor planning.

#I bought tonnes of fruit, but forgot to any buy sugar. I was forced to use every scrap of every type of sugar we had in the house so there wasn't so much as spoonful for tea this morning

#I bought fruit on a really hot day, at the end of a long and exhausting week and started to cut the fruit at 8.30pm

#I opened the cupboard to find I only had two empty jars and litres of boiling jam

#I didn't have any shellite to get all the sticky label remnants off the the jars I scabbed from the neighbours and by emptying the fridge of all the stuff past it's use-by date

#I left the bottled jam on the bench to cool overnight without cleaning up the spills (it was sooo past my bedtime) so this morning I had several ant super highways to deal with

#I spent so much time worrying it wasn't set enough that I let it cook too long

I had the very good fortune to meet up with a couple of lovely bloggers this afternoon. Unfortunately as the afternoon progressed I was increasingly distracted by Amy, who was complaining of tummy pains. Towards the end I had that sinking feeling, as you do when you are stupidly pregnant, playing single parent and feeling thinly stretched, that things were about to go down hill fast. Sure enough the two lady visitors were not two paces from the front door before the bathroom was awash with vomit.

Now I'm feeling queasy which might be from watching Amy hurl, from dread that although fast asleep now she won't be that way for long, or from unrelated pregnancy wobbles. Maybe I'm also thinking about the fact that at 10am tomorrow morning something in the vicinity of 20 people (half of whom are in the 2-4 year old age group) will be arriving at the door ready to raise hell. Or maybe whatever pestilence has gotten the girl has headed my way. Let's hope we both sleep it off.


Nichola said...

Oh no! I hope you both feel better soon. The apricots look wonderful.
I've been reading up on no-sig gardens and am planning a trip to Bunnings soon.

Nichola said...

that was meant to say no-dig!

ms. pea said...

That was the story of all my jam-making adventures, ant-superhighway and all (except the vomit, sorry to hear about that). Hope you're doing better now.