This week I received a box in the mail from Korea. It contained copies of my latest book translated into Korean.
I was such a poor student of English at school. I’m somewhat surprised that I have become a published author of multiple books in 3 languages!
Even my English teacher from High School was surprised, to the extent that when I met him 10 years after leaving school, at a reunion, he didn’t believe me when I told him.
I don’t blame him.
My work building our wood fired kiln continues. This last week I have finished the chamber arches with Janine’s help.
Adding their second layer of insulation bricks and welding on the steel bracing.
I also started work on the chimney with the help of my good friend Warren on the weekend.
The chimney is almost at the height that I can’t build anymore courses until I cut a hole in the roof to allow it to go through.
This will involve fabricating some specialised pieces of galvanised sheet metal ‘flashing’, custom fitted to the brick courses just above the tin roof to keep the rain out.
I hope to complete the chimney this week. More ladder work!
I have declared myself an honorary 59 year old for the past week to allow me to keep climbing ladders 🙂
We have now picked nearly all the apples and I cooked another apple and almond flan tartin for our weekend guests.
I also made the first batch of baked quinces, as the birds had decided that it was time to start eating them, dropping a lot of them onto the ground with just a few holes pecked into them.
They need to be dealt with pronto, or the damage soon spreads and they go bad quickly. I wouldn’t mind so much if they ate the whole thing, but they just peck a hole into the fruit to get to the seeds inside. If the fruit drops, they just watch it fall and start on another. At least the rabbits eat some of the fallen fruit. Quince fed rabbit sounds pretty good!
I wash the fluff off the skin, then peel and core, chop into 4 pieces for small fruit, or 8 pieces for the larger ones. I simmer them for 20 mins in a sugar syrup of 120 grams of sugar per litre of water. This syrup is less than half strength of the recipe ! Use enough water to cover the volume of fruit. Add a few cloves, star anise, a cinnamon stick, and half a small bottle of maple syrup. Once softened a little, transfer to a large baking dish and bake for 2 hours in a low oven at 160oC until nearly all the liquid has evaporated. Remove the aromatics and bottle in sterile jars while hot from the oven. I think that they are ready when they start to catch just a little on the tips and have turned a beautiful reddy/orange colour.
The fragrance is spectacular and the taste is amazing. Can be eaten just like this, or can be enhanced a little with the addition of some pouring cream, plain yoghurt or ice cream.
I also managed to find just enough zucchini and squash flowers, both male and female to make up the numbers, so that I could make stuffed zucchini flowers for dinner. I wasn’t expecting to find so many suitable flowers this late in the season, so wasn’t prepared with suitable quantities of cottage or other suitable cheeses. Instead I used a tub of left over risotto from the fridge. extended with some boiled lentils and a few olives. It made up the distance.
This last week also brought a little bit of excitement into our dull, plodding, Post Modern Peasant lives. The State Government Funded green waste clean-up program commenced, for all the dead and damaged trees in people yards that were created by the 2019 Black Summer catastrophic bush fires here in the Southern Highlands.
We had a team of half a dozen blokes here for two days, lopping, topping and chopping dead trees. Some were completely removed and the stumps ground out, but most were pruned back to make safe habitat trees for wild life.
They shortened and made safe 15 trees and took down 3 or 4 smaller ones in the immediate vicinity of our back yard orchards, where we work and mow.
The purpose of the exercise is to get most of the smaller dead branches down out of the canopy so that it is safe to walk around underneath them in our garden. We had already dealt with the most pressing and difficult problem trees in our front garden 2 years ago at our own expense. I wasn’t prepared to survive the fire and then be killed by a falling branch.
It’s only taken 26 months for the State Government to implement this emergency safety solution into place. I wonder how long it takes them when they take their time 🙂
We still have 3 acres, or one and a bit hectares of dead forrest that is continually dropping dead branches. We just don’t go there, and if I have to, I wear a hard hat.
It’ll be unsafe for the next couple of decades as the dead branches slowly rot and fall. But what can you do? It’ll cost many thousands of dollars to get them all pruned safely.
We’ll just have to live with it.
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