As Annie mentioned we had a pretty special Christmas, just us four, in this place that is newly our home. There was plenty of good summertime eating, swimming, jumping, laughing, cuddling and just a little bit of gifting. However I think it would be safe to say that the discovery of a very laden plum tree across the road from our land was the highlight of our festive season. Hmmm yes probably not everyone's idea of a good time but it is ours. This tree kind of snuck up on us and we didn't find it until it was heaving with delicious red and yellow fruit. The delight we felt from this unexpected discovery was immense. It's an old old tree, gnarly and withered and so bountiful that the birds have had their share and there's still plenty for us, our friends and passers by (not that there are many of those on our hilly, dusty road).
We ate our fill that happy day and returned the next, wet and sandy and salty from the sea, this time with box in boot. We filled that box with fruit while feasting on the native raspberries that seem so happy to grow in and around our plum tree.
The native raspberry is a revelation for us, it's sweet and sour and uber-raspberry all at once. They seem happy in these southern climes. We recently found the most extraordinary grove growing atop a headland that we were traversing in search of a special secluded beach. We didn't find the beach but the raspberry bounty made our day.
We spent Boxing Day preserving plums for some winter pies and custards referring to our trusty little "The Big Book Of Preserving the Harvest" by Carol W. Costenbader. Carol is a tad obsessed with the threat of botulism and is very rigorous in her approach to preserving. We are a teensy bit less pedantic so if you don't hear from us after Autumn ends the big B may have gotten us. We did the raw pack method and made a light sugar syrup, cut the fruit in half and packed it into clean and sterile Vacola jars then added the syrup being careful to leave a spare centimetre at the top, closed up the jars with the excellent little rubber seals, metal lids and clips then boiled them up in our old school Vacola preserving pot. Before they were boiled they looked like little jars of sunset. Not so much the sunset look after the big boil but pretty nonetheless.
The fruit on "our" plum tree is getting riper and riper and the end of the season may be near. But for now, there's more preserving, eating and the anticipation of next summer's bounteous harvest.