Take care


I have done something dreadful. Something I predicted last year that other people would be doing. Now I have done it – thrown some flour away. Last year flour was in short supply. I kept ordering from my on-line supermarket until I eventually got some.  I stored one bag on a top shelf in my pantry (now renamed ‘utility’) and left it there.

Today, I am trying to use all our fruit which is abundant this year. I went to get the stockpiled flour and it is out of date. I am not sure what happens to old flour, but I got rid of it to be on the safe side. I wonder how many of us have done the same with other stores from last year. At least toilet rolls do not have a ‘best before’ date.

Our plums on the tree do not have a date on but you can see them getting ripe and then going bad, so I am hurrying to use them. I have made pies and crumbles, but we have had enough, so I found an old recipe for preserving plums in ruby port, in one of my late mother’s long-forgotten WI books. It takes a while to simmer the stoned plums in the port on the hob. You can imagine the wonderful aromas coming from the kitchen. 

Full jars are now stored in a dark, cool cupboard in my utility room. I am looking forward to eating them on a cold winter’s evening. Peas and beans are easier, they can be frozen. I think of the months ahead in the winter when we will be glad of them. 

However, the blackbirds in our garden have not yet finished with summer and are not thinking of the months ahead. The countryside will be able to provide for them, as our shelves and freezer will provide for us (not forgetting the shops). These birds have had two successful broods and seem to be using the same nest again for a third brood in our hedge.

Farmers used to be cut hedges in August but now that has changed, thank goodness, and we do not cut the hedges until September. So, even if our blackbirds had nested in a roadside hedge, they would be safe. Many years ago, I saw a blackbird’s nest exposed to predators by a hedge cutter. Three of the young escaped in fear, however, one remained cringing there, not yet ready to fledge, but in a very precarious position.

Not of the same importance but our squashes are in a precarious position. They have done well but will only ripen if we have more sun. We are all waiting.

(Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

Plums preserved in port 


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