Last week of Autumn

In this last week of autumn, the days are noticeably shorter the weather is so much cooler, and the frosts have started. The tomatoes are dead, but wait. What’s this? Still just a few green tomatoes in among the undergrowth and weeds. AND, 3 red ripe ones!

We are picking plenty of broccoli and cauliflowers. Winter is almost here.

There are just a few very small zucchinis still on the bushes. I need to pick them before they get frosted again and go mushy

All the apples are finished and we have just picked our last pear. We have started to pick the winter citrus. All of the citrus trees were badly burnt in the fire, as they were growing along side the pottery kiln shed wall. The closest ones were killed, those further away got badly scorched, but with a severe pruning away of the dead wood, fertilising and watering. Then planting new trees in the vacant spaces. We have a citrus grove once again. Because many of the trees are still very young, just two or three years old, We have a lot less fruit to look forward to. We are almost through the Japanese seedless mandarins. It was a small crop of 30 or so. The tree is still very young and this is only our 2nd crop, so not too bad. The Japanese yuzu has just two pieces of fruit on. This is its first crop. The kaffir lime trees out the front of the house got very badly burnt, but are making a come back with a lot of pruning and TLC. The stronger of the two trees had over 60 fruit on this year. We only grow it for the leaves, so the fruit is picked off to allow the tree to flourish.

I don’t like to see anything wasted, so I decided to juice 20 of the kaffir limes and make lime juice ice blocks for next summer drinks. I think that it might go well with tequila? It’s a quite sour and bitter form of lime juice perhaps best suited to cocktails?

We have also picked up a fallen grapefruit off the ground, our first, which was very tart and sour. Plenty of room for improvement there as the frosts and winter sunshine sweeten them up.

The other fruit that is plentiful at this time of year is Australian native lilli pilli. This tree survived the fire in behind the house, away from the heat and flames, but it’s a very tall tree and the top branches that extended above the roof got burnt off. It is doing well now with a good crop of pink berries. You can’t eat them, they are only used to make jam or cordial.

I got up on the tall step ladder and picked enough to fill a basket, once I sorted out all the leaves and twigs, there was sufficient to fill the big 10 litre (2 gal) boiler. Simmered for half an hour and then the fruit is discarded and the liquor left to simmer down to a concentrate of about 750 ml, a bit more than a pint. Quite a big reduction to concentrate the flavour. It needs half a cup of sugar to make it desirable.

We had to light the wood stove in the pottery for the first time this year. The pottery is so well insulated, that just keeping a small fire ticking over in the stove heats the throwing room area to a gentle comfy warmth. It’s a very nice place to work, great light, comfy warmth, plenty of space.

What more could you want?

Nothing is ever finished, Nothing lasts and nothing is perfect.