Monthly Archives: November 2011

Mum’s Medlar Jelly

It’s that time of year again when Mum has an abundance of medlar fruit hanging on the tree in the front garden.  In years gone by she has let friends in the village come and take them away but this year she decided to make some medlar jelly with a little help from me.  You can pick them hard and let them blet but we allowed them to blet on the tree before picking them and also collecting the ones that had dropped to the ground to.  In all we had 14lbs of fruit to play with.

Firstly we washed, rinsed and quartered all the fruit and then placed into a preserving pan and added just enough water to cover (half a pint to each pound of fruit).  We then simmered for 30 to 45 minutes until soft and pulpy.

Next was the fun part of straining.  Mum only had a small jelly bag so we utilised some thick stockings too.  The important thing here is not to squeeze or force the pulp through the nets as this will produce cloudy jelly.  We allowed ours to drip through the night.

Once we were happy that all the juice had dripped through we measured the amount of juice and made a note of it.  Then we poured it into a clean preserving pan and brought to boiling point.  We then added 650g of sugar to every litre of juice we had.  At this stage we added the juice of 3 lemons.

We continued stirring until all the sugar was dissolved (stirring in one direction only reduces foam).  We boiled rapidly until setting point was reached.  To test this we put a blob of jelly on a fridge-cold saucer.  Once cooled we ran a finger through it to see if it cracked.  Mum then carefully poured the jelly into some already sterilised jars and voila!  I think we’ll try it with some roasted pheasant tomorrow.

Advertisements

Project Report 1

Well I feel that I have finished my first project report ready for tutor and peer review.  After starting a couple of months later than the rest of the gang I have been slightly rushed but in keeping with the 80:20 rule it’s better to get the work in than spend another 80% of my time getting 20% more work done??? I could definitely tweak my CV and will be spending some time on that in the coming days.  It’s been a little stop start as the haven of my parents house which I had to myself to start this project is now full with people and concentrating was difficult.  Plus we are now fully immersed in The Patch with the roof to finish and plenty of trees to plant, mulch and support!  Watch this space for updates on the freshly planted food forest including lots of soft fruit, sea buckthorn and comfrey going in and this week we will be finishing the roof at last!!!

Ginger Bug

Sam recently decided to stick an amusing photo of me up on our diploma forum which in turn inspired me to put this little video up.  I made it last year to see how the imovie software worked and it’s Sam talking about how to make ginger bug, a starter for wild fermentation drinks…

 

Forest Gardening by Robert Hart

I’ve just finished reading this amazing and insightful book by Robert Hart.  When learning about designing a food forest I kept hearing about how not to do it like Robert Hart did which intrigued me.  Mostly people have talked about his closed canopy temperate forest garden which didn’t allow much light to the lower layers.    I say that it’s a good job somebody didn’t do it perfectly as it has allowed the rest of us to learn from his non-perfect garden.  In this book however Robert talks in depth about his philosophies and world views with great suggestions and solutions whilst referencing some great work that I had not come across before.  A must read for perma-junkies or indeed anyone interested in world changing!

Gasland

This is a must watch documentary about the wide spread use of fracking.  Check out the maps of the shale fields in the film as living on or near one has disastrous consequences on drinking water.  Fracking is massive in the USA but there are also numerous gas fields across the rest of the world that could be opened up to the same processes soon.  Climactic disaster!  Check the Gasland website.

“The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a “Saudia Arabia of natural gas” just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verite travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown.”

November at The Patch

On returning from our road trip we came back to a very different Patch.  As we move through autumn our vegetable garden has started to die back although there are still a few bits and pieces to harvest.  The trees have started to lose their leaves and the medlar has dropped some fruit.  The green roof is looking great and we’re really keen to get this finished in the next couple of weeks.   Other jobs in the coming weeks will be the planting and mulching of a new delivery of fruit and other interesting trees as well as soft fruit and nitrogen fixers for the food forest.  We’ll be planting and then mulching and adding other support plants to create balanced guilds that will have a better chance of survival in our absence.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A visit to see Paul in Sheffield was also on the cards and it was a great place to start some ground work for my diploma pathway.  I made full use of Paul’s flat whilst he was at Uni and we even managed a walk in the Peak District which looks amazing at this time of year.  After a quick stop over for a party in London, I travelled down to Bradford-upon-Avon for my belated Diploma induction and a catch up with Richard, Michelle and Grace.  It was great to also see some other Diploma students and old friends permablitzing their lives!!!  Couldn’t help a little mushroom hunt when I got back to Norfolk.  Goose common is right next door to The Patch and is a great foraging spot.  Only poisonous fungi about today though…  Diploma work to do…

A bit of music…

Here’s a mix I recorded during the PDC at The Patch…

I think you can download it too.  It’s kind of Ethnotronic.