Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Not so pucker today...

      I've been feeling a tad frayed around the edges for the last couple of days, hard to but me finger on it whether I'm feeling a tad morose or just bloody knackered or perhaps a combination of both. Upshot being that I came home early from the grind yesterday, no doubt there will be much wailing and the gnashing of managerial teeth. "What? that peasant Wooldridge has absconded? prepare the rack, nail pullers and cat o nine, we'll teach him that sickness is not an option". Well maybe not that bad but you get the gist, damn thing is I'm off for twelve days starting this weekend, if I could have just hung out a tad longer.....


      So before the dreaded lurgi caught me in it's cloying grasp what news be there from Hobbits-ville, N.Wales? Well to be honest not a great deal, there are the usual one thousand and one things to do around here but I seem to have lost the drive at the moment, twill come back no doubt. Funny thing, I wasn't expecting to be on the keyboard much over the next couple of weeks yet here I am tapping away, demon like, at it.


      OK so I haven't being totally incapacitated, I've bottled up the elder flower wine and have started a mulch of plum wine. The thing being, I was going to call it a day after the elder flower, I didn't want to make to much wine stuff as I'm new to this brewing malarkey and it could all go so horribly wrong. Then I gets the call, well actually it was a text, off me mate 'Chunky Monkey'; "me plum tree's loaded, come and get me ripe plums". As you can well imagine I did hesitate for a moment, rereading the message hoping that I hadn't got hold of the wrong end of the stick so to speak. Half hour later we're brewing up in his work shop chewing the cud for a while as friends do. Thoughts eventually turned  to more important topics. "Well are you going to show me your plums?", funny how Chunky started fighting for breath as his scolding hot coffee went down the wrong pipe at this request. "In me bloody garden" he finally gasped. So a quick detour and there was a single dwarf plum tree that was laden so much that the fruit looked more like grape bunches, funny that, being as what I was thinking of using them for! "What type are they?" I enquired, "plums" came the reply, I really should have known better than the ask a fellow grease monkey such detailed information. "Help yourself, see thee back at the workshop, your turn to brew up" and he was off. Running his own business makes him a tad more committed than when we worked together in the grind that's for sure, also a damn sight happier to boot.


      As I approached the laden tree it didn't escape my attention that I was far from alone in the stealing of its fruit. Wasps, bloody hundreds of the little buggers, no wonder his Chunkiness wanted me to pick the fruit the rotund little git! The thing is me and biting, stinging and generally acid hurling insects have this agreement: I come along blissfully unaware of the pain to come. They, without exclusion will bite, sting and generally make me do that bloody stupid arm flapping, Anglo Saxon accompanied dance whilst trying to rid one or more from me underpants. The thought did cross my mind (didn't take long to span that empty space then) to beat a hasty retreat and tell Chunky that his plums were unfit for consumption, which may have come as a blessed relief for his wife! ahem to continue.... But being of somewhat unsound mind, that is my nature, and with the thought 'bugger it' filling the void between me ears as well as the buzzing of the stripped stingers I approach the tree; have you ever watched wasps feeding upon ripe fruit? I swear to you that the little buggers were pissed! No not pissed as in that angry way, no I mean as pissed as farts or pissed as a newt as the saying goes, the little blighters were three sheets to the wind - on my plums! Taking my life in my hands, OK maybe a tad dramatic there, I started picking Chunky's plums, but only the ripe ones. As I plucked carefully away (several had wasps chewing merrily away upon them) I began to feel like King Kong, you know the bit : on the Empire state building with little bi-planes buzzing around me furry head. So intoxicated were they that they failed to notice the stealthy presence of 'John the great fruit hunter', and all I had to do was carefully sidestep their wayward flight paths and avoid curling me mits around a plum crawling with drunken insects. A slow but strangely rewarding time then with the result being a heap of plums in the back of the fun cruiser and me unscathed, well apart from when one of the little buggers actually head butted me, time did stand still then for a moment I can tell you!


      After saying me farewells to Chunky I arrived home to find that, when consulting my plum wine notes, that I had rather a surplus - about fifteen pounds of surplus of rather delicious plums. Don't ask because I don't know why I picked so many. I hate waste as much as the next person, maybe it was those mesmerising drunken wasps. After making enough base for a couple of demi johns of plum wine and scoffing a fair plums few to boot, thoughts turned to what to do with the rest, aha jam thought I. Slight problem here, jam maker I am not (though it's an idea for the future) but I have a neighbour who is the very meaning of the baking housewife. After a quick visit to Val's and yet more coffee she took my plums in hand err I mean my plums were transferred to a better place - hell you know what I mean. I also took over several used jam jars that she'd asked about earlier and returned to sugar that I had also borrowed some time ago. Upshot is Val is going to make me an apple pie (no, not from the plums you fools) and I'm to supply her and her husband Phil (nice bloke) with sloes gin when the time is right - result. 


     So there you have the saga of the plums my friends. Speaking of harvesting , do any of you think that everything is a little early this year? Seems to me that wild crops are huge and very early, or is that just me becoming more aware of nature as I continue this journey of mine back to nature ? Speaking of journeys of sorts, the Warthog's leg now seems fully recovered and we're still pacing the roads in and around Hobbits-ville treading in ever increasing circles. We're now getting further into the country and the hedgerows do seem laden with fruit and nuts, me thinks that my waistline my well be on the increase this year, regardless of the extra mileage we're putting in! Here's just a taste of what's on offer, I failed once more to take decent photos of fur n feather but you'll have to take my word that the rabbits are plentiful and bonny with it....







       There's little more to say other than I've taken delivery of wooden child's playhouse. Now don't start with  yer wild guessing and mis-interpretations  - it's for me chickens. Yep so far so good, all six chicks seem in fine fettle and are growing at a fair rate of knots - so with Clare's blessings a bigger run is on the cards together with a bigger coup, so it'll soon be time to say goodbye 'Poultry Towers' and hello to......wait for it.....'Fluttering Heights'... ta daaa. Oh go on smile a little, it's the best my weakened state will allow, some pictures of the little buggers then;-





Pingu - still looks like a bleedin' penguin...


     I guess that's all for now, oh I'd just like to share a couple of things by a chap called 'Blaster Bates', listened to many times over in my childhood., it may well give you some idea why I am like I am, just click on the pictures and enjoy...or not as may be the case..


 


    So long for now my friends, as soon as the dreaded lurgi has released me from it's cloying grasp I'll be starting on the one thousand and one tasks ahead of me, so visits to the keyboard may be a tad infrequent but I'll do me best. In the mean time, take damn good care of yourselves my friends.


John


      

22 comments:

Kath said...

hee hee
Nothing like the tale of a man's mega plums to entertain a girl on a wet Wednesday in Avalon.

If it's of any remote interest, my Husband has the same problem with his generously laden pears LOL

Murphyfish said...

Way hay - you just cannot beat a good double meaning can you Kath...

John Gray said...

you have one buff orphinton chick me old son!

Kath said...

I'm embarrassed to admit that's the limit of my wordsmithery John :-D

Murphyfish said...

I take it that's the orange one then? If a hen, how big will it be John?

Murphyfish said...

Oh I'm sure that's not Kath ;o)

John Gray said...

it will be a big fucker if it is!!!
Buffs cope in small spaces though john!

Bob Mc said...

Yep, things are early this year. Woke up this morning to clouds and a light sprinkle. Feels like fall!

Wasps; I hate the little buggers. Don't know what kind you were fighting, but we have yellow jackets; aka meat bees. They were terrible around camp last week. Had to fight them for every mouth full of food, and one nailed me on the back of the hand. Had a puffy hand for a few days. Yesterday I was mowing the grass in the back yard, and darned if one didn't get me on the ankle. Soon found out that there was a nest right there in the lawn. I found their hole (ground nesters) and after dark I shot a good stream of wasp spray down it. Hope that's the end of them.

Plum jam! Easy to make and finger lickin' good!

Murphyfish said...

Thanks John, I think...

These don't sound as bad as your meat bees Bob, but their sting hurts like the devil. Send me a recipe for plum jam if it's that easy I may risk the wasps once again...

Bob Mc said...

PLUM JAM:

4 lbs plums. Discard pits and chop plums. Place in sauce pan with ½ cup water. Bring to boil and simmer covered for 5 minutes.

6 cups cooked plums. Add 1 package powdered pectin. Bring to full boil and add 8 cups sugar, stirring to dissolve. Return to full rolling boil for 1 minute. Pour into canning jars and adjust lids. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes.

Meanqueen said...

I have found a tree full of yellow plums, I may go back and strip it bare tomorrow, after I've stripped the elderberries from their stalks. So much fruit and so little time.

Shoreman said...

It's always enjoyable to read of your trials & tribulations. I got a good laugh from this one.

Mark

Murphyfish said...

Cheers Bob, looks as round two with the wasps then.....

Hello Ilona,
I agree with you, just not enough hours in the day is there?

Thank you Mark,
Always good if I can raise a smile or two...

Jennyta said...

Ah, Blaster Bates! One of my dad's heroes! Glad to see you are getting your priorities right and stocking up on wine. ;)

Deus Ex Machina said...

I, too, have been wondering about the "early" season. I thought, though, that I was just not paying attention.

Anyway, this is a great post, as usual. Cheers.

Murphyfish said...

Jennyta, the man is a legend - never fails to make me ribs ache with laughter.

Cheers Deus,
Definitely early my man and I feel it bodes for a very harsh winter.

bigcatdetective said...

Emotionally hilarious post again.Yes very early fruit around here as well,too early in fact as i missed the boat on one batch of trees and have nigh on drunk the 2 gallons of plum beer/wine now when in past years would of only just started it........

Murphyfish said...

Cheers BCD,
ah well there is the apple crop soon to be gathered, Mmmmm cider....

Dmarie said...

hope your brewing turns out incredibly right...and your health as well. (stay away from that rack! ;)

Murphyfish said...

Dmarie - why thank you, and I'll do my best to avoid trouble :o)

Damn The Broccoli said...

Buffs are indeed huge, look them up!

Spare plums could be frozen in batch sized amounts to make future wine when the demijohns are clear. I do it with berries, they can also be jammed in the future or turned into pies and crumbles etc.

We also dried some so we have home made dried plums.

Jam is easy, you need to have a small plate in the fridge, equal parts fruit and sugar on a low heat. Bring to a rolling boil.

After ten minutes boiling, get the plate out of the fridge and put a small amount of jam on it and stick it back in the fridge for a few seconds. Get it back out again when it is cool enough to touch and run your finger through the jam. If it tries to fill in the gap it needs to boil a bit longer, if it stays apart then it is done, put it in jars/pots etc and store till needed. Make sure to clean the jars well of course and heat them in the oven on the lowest setting so the hot jam doens't shatter the jar.

Job done.

Murphyfish said...

Cheers for the advice Damn, will take it all under consideration ;o)