One of the awesome things about living in a rural area is the community's willingness to share the abundance from their gardens. Often at work emails come round offering "free raspberry canes at the back door", "lemons and limes in the kitchen" or, most recently, "peaches in customer service". The peaches came from a lovely young chap who recently purchased a property containing several very old and very laden peach trees. He doesn't know what to do with them all, so we scored 3 bags full, in exchange for a selection of our preserves. Yeah!
|Pearlie happily pitting and packing peaches|
They're super sweet and delicious white and yellow peaches, which are surprisingly juicy given the dry season we're having. The squishy ones we made into peach and vanilla jam, using our awesome new half-pint milk dipper (Christmas present from my Nana and Parps) for ladling into the jars - perfect!
The firmer ones we preserved in a light sugar syrup in Vacola jars, using the boiling water bath to seal them. This is a really easy method, which gives a stunning-looking, delicious store of peaches for use in trifles and desserts over the cooler months. Peaches were pitted and sliced, then packed into the jars, and a light sugar syrup (we got t he recipe from Stephanie Alexander: 2 parts water to 1 part sugar) is poured in over the top, the jars are sealed with rings and clips, then the whole shebang boiled in the vacola unit for around 25 minutes.
The peach jam is making its way into christmas presents (yes I know... we're late) and the last of the package 4's (for the Pump up the Dam Sale), which is due to be sent out on monday. I'm also chucking in a bottle of our newly bottled kasundi. We made this using the recipe from the Whole Larder Love cookbook, which was one of my christmas gifts. I'm pretty into it, despite Rohan's kind of sexist and slightly homophobic undertones, and his total obsession with 'gear' and all the stuff you need to have in order to live a 'simple' life. Weird. But I love the tips on foraging and hunting, and I especially love many of the recipes, and I did read it cover to cover, which is very unusual for me, seeing as I'm not really a cook. But I digress...
The kasundi is delicious. I want to eat it with every meal, and I very frequently do. But I also like to share it with people, so was very happy to include it, along with some jam and a skirt and some hand-made cards and a cute little t-shirt for my very old friend Meg, who happily ordered a package 4 in support of our pump-buying endeavours.
|A skirt for Meg, made from original 70s curtains that came out of the nurses quarters at Temorah hospital|
I have known Meg for many many years. We used to hang out when I was 'Annie the tattooed nanny' for a couple of super-sweet little girls. Her girls were the same age, so we'd spend our days going to the park, hanging out at play groups, and eating sushi in the shopping centre. She supported some of my earliest commercial sewing ventures, and she cooked for our wedding and, even though I haven't seen her in years, and her kids are now teenagers (!), she reads our blog.
I was really touched when she got in contact asking for some clothes, and had fun sewing for her again, after all these years. Meg decided to swap her package 4 bolero for a tshirt, which was fine by me because it gave me an excuse to use some of this gorgeous babushka fabric, sent to me by another gorgeous old friend who also supported our pump sale.
|Meg's babushka-sleeved tshirt|
Rochelle was the happy recipient of this wrap-n-go.
I was a bit keen on it myself... but I know she'll love it, and wear it with style, coz she's a stylish kinda lady.
The pump itself is now happily installed on our lower dam's wall, and after a number of false starts and some consultation with Brett, and a visit from Baz, local purveyor of pumps, is moving the water where we need it. It's a pretty ace bit of infrastructure, and has definitely been reassuring and helpful during these exceedingly dry, fire-prone times we're having around these parts.
|Craigie wading out into our dam, installing the foot valve for sucking water into our brand spankin' new pump|