Thursday, 10 September 2009

Bad behavior

I'm trying to keep up with the abundance of free fruit in the hedgerow. The season is short, and the birds are sure to spot the ripest fruits before you do. In the early summer I lost all the cherries on our tree in the garden to a family of starlings. Today I lost all my blackberries to a hungry labrador. I picked enough to make a batch of hedgerow jelly - my own recipe of wild plums, blackberries and apples. On my way home from picking I stopped in the farmyard for some quick car maintenance and while I was under the car Pip ate every last blackberry in the bucket. I guess she lives by the old adage "Life's too short - eat dessert first".

Dakota is just as bad. She sampled Tuesday night's tea before we had a chance to eat it- both the spaghetti and meat sauce as well as my apple crumble. Since she was a pup and could reach the counter, she's been a horrible thief. I dread to think how many pounds of butter that dog has consumed in her life. Being the 'make do' kind of people we are, I just scooped around where the dog had been, topped up the sauce with a can of tomatoes and we had the rest for our tea. Anybody reading this who has a dog will not be freaked out by that.

Saying that, they do a good job when they're working. This morning the dogs "ran out" Muddicombe pen; that is, I open the gate and they work the whole pen through to make sure no foxes or deer are in there before we put the pheasants in. Deer don't harm pheasants but they make holes in the fences, letting the pheasants out and the vermin in. Another batch of poults went in behind the dogs, hopefully our last for this season.

Look at those happy faces - I can forgive them anything (nearly).

Back to the preserves. I have done one lot of experimental 'wild plum jelly'. I say 'experimental' meaning I screwed it up but we'll eat it anyway. Turns out there's not alot of pectin in wild plums. Halfway through I decided to turn my jam into jelly and tried to strain the sugary syrup through muslin. It will never set, but it will be nice warmed up and poured on pancakes, though the wild plums have a strange dry aftertaste. I'm going to mix the next batch with apples for pectin and sweetness. There would have been blackberries too, but.. you know..

I dropped off the last meagre windfall apples to Nicola for her pigs, which have also been up to mischief. They found their way onto the main road yesterday and had great fun creating a traffic jam. It least it's not just my animals that are badly behaved.


Pomona said...

I love the picture of your dogs - ours are terrors for digging up carrots and eating them - and ruining beds of carrot seedlings in the search for them. And the Border Collie keeps chewing through the hosepipe - but then they look at you with those lovely eyes, and it's hopeless getting cross!

Pomona x

Poppy Cottage said...

Oh yes, those eyes.......get away with ANYTHING!!

Yep, eaten many a meal half sampled by dogs first, never does any one any harm. I must admit, I wouldn't have even bothered to sccop around where D had eaten, just mixed it all together. No one would have known.