Thursday, 30 March 2017
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Thursday, 23 March 2017
I had to move my almonds in under the verandah. Of course now being a nut farmer (ahem..!) I dry my nuts in the sun. Well the sun has disappeared and they didn't tell me about that when I Googled how to be a nut farmer. With my limited knowledge about growing almonds I have two almond trees that have produced large quantities of nuts. We did manage to get more water to the trees this year and the trees produced better fruit than last year's effort which were a bit thin and sad looking. The green parrots are dead keen on them and it's a race to see who can get them off the quickest. We've netted the two trees as best as we could but it's a pain in rear end as the prickly branches make it almost impossible to get the nets off without tearing them and the birds know where the holes are. So other than letting off a cannon shot every hour we will just have to appear to be generous. We put in a reasonable harvesting effort with plastic bucket in hand and found the nuts came off really easily. Their soft velvet olive green coating had opened to reveal yellow or the riper brownish nuts inside. Each one has to peeled. There's an afternoon gone. Sitting there shelling nuts the parrots look on at me and politely decline from laughing. The chickens walk up beside me perched on the church pew under the verandah wondering why I'm throwing away perfectly good earwigs.
Our first lot of almonds had been on their wire trays for a few weeks. The wire trays, which we will now refer to as our almond trays as they were meant to fit the windows as fly wire screens but were the wrong size and instead were perfect to allow the air to get to the nuts and dry out. I wasn't sure how long you were meant to dry them for but after a few weeks of serious sunshine I thought it was time to take them to the next stage. Peeling them. Again. Another afternoon gone.So after that and about 20 minutes on a baking tray in a moderate oven they came out roasted. And pretty marvellous might I add. They were crisp and smokey (really must clean that oven one day) and much better than any you can buy in a packet. Fresh and crunchy with so much flavour. My next lot will be coated in a spice mix, just to get ahead of myself. I'm a bit proud of our own roasted almonds. Just don't be in a hurry for them and don't run out of afternoons.
Wednesday, 22 March 2017
Friday, 17 March 2017
Wednesday, 15 March 2017
Dead grass, everywhere I see. We're on the sunny side of the southern part of this island. It's the east coast which having lived on the mainland for most of my life, I wouldn't think a half hour drive would send you into another weather zone, but it does here. We're often missed off the rain radar as the weather seems to use our town a bit like the campervans. Somewhere you just pass through on the way to somewhere else. We're so dry here we needed to reconsider our lawn mowers. With the distinct lack of grass, our four legged mowing machines were starting to complain. And where one has no green grass to eat, and one spies rosebushes next door...and one can leap like a mountain you know what, our friendly goats were becoming a problem. The two twins, very cute and very different from each other, Billy the smaller of the two was the worst. No wire fence would deter him if he knew there was green to be had over there. And whilst they were good fun, the sight of Billy snacking on Peonies did direct my thoughts to the slow cooker, but only for a minute. So rather than face animals being permanently chained up we sought out another solution. Some friends of ours live further north than us in a cooler climate including much more rain, and they get snow in winter. They've got too much grass and were keen to adopt the new recruits. So last night we said farewell to our goats and wished them well on their journey. As I walked back into the yard I imagined a collective sigh of relief from all the roses. Bring on winter. We're over this heat. Even if it was for only a week.