Thursday, 31 March 2011

Spring Forward - Fall Back on Planning

This year (2011) I intend to make Elderflower cordial for the kids and Elderflower champagne for my wife and myself, although I suspect that the EU will insist that we call it fizzy wine. I also aim to make elderberry and plum or damson wine, I will eat plums if I have to but I feel sure that there are better things to do with them.
Hard to believe it, but this is quite simply the best apple tree
 Chutney uses plums apparently, so I might try that, and chutney seems to last forever as far as I can tell. Plum jam could work too, I'm sure. There are so many trees in the hedgerows and they ought be utilised somehow. I guess all this planning means we will need to start saving up and preparing some suitable bottles and jars, so I’d better start drinking some wine!

Beautiful Springtime - Plum blossom bursts forth first heralding the new season
I am loosely planning to have a stall at the school summer fete, but I need to get organised and find out what date it is held. The children and I can pick fruit, process it in some appropriate way and then sell it at the fete. We could also sell freshly picked fruit if the timing was right. I imagine a stall brimming with chutney, jam, pies, and fresh fruit like plums and cherries all picked processed and sold by children… We could use some of the proceeds to give to the school and the rest to buy new picking/pickling equipment or to pay for website upkeep.
The first cherry blossom I spotted this year
Through the winter months I have been spotting tree types by their shape and bark and logging the trees positions on my map.
A frozen shower of catkins on a Hazel tree
 Now that March is nearly over, Spring has fully arrived and I have been able to detect trees by their blossoms as they arrive. This is proving a very useful method because Plum comes first, followed closely by the Cherry and later Apple and Pear, giving you a chance to focus in on each type as it arrives.
Cherry tree bark - easily identified when you know what to look for
Catkins are also a type of flower and even through February you can spot Hazel stands by observing them. They always look to me like tiny isolated rain showers, frozen into the hedgerows. The straight stands of hazel sticks and branches become fairly easy to distinguish soon too.

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