The good news is that our two year old apricot and almond trees produced fruit for the first time. The bad news is that they have all fallen off while still very small. We’ve had this happen with other young fruit trees. The first year we had fruits on the lime tree they fell off, but the following year we got some more and this time they stayed on and turned out really well. So there is hope. Similarly, last year we had loads of figs on a young tree but they all fell off before they matured. This year they are coming on nicely – hang on in there!
The other fruit trees have done really well. It looks like being a bumper plum crop. We’ve got about half a dozen trees, young and old and a variety of types, so that will be good. And we’ve never had so much pear blossom so fingers crossed for them. Meanwhile, we only picked the last of the oranges last month and now the two trees in the courtyard are full of blossom and the smell is divine. Added to that, a couple of linnets have decided the big tree is a great place for a nest but more of that later.
The fruit bushes in the veggie patch are also doing well. Hopefully we will have increased crops of gooseberries, redcurrants and blackcurrants.
I mentioned the linnets – I saw 4 little blue eggs in their nest the other day and now they’ve been replaced with 4 hungry mouths. We’ve also already had two baby blackbirds fledge and leave their nest in the garden and we also have a couple of blue tits feeding their young in one of our nest boxes. There’s also been at least one hoopoe hanging around. But the most exciting sighting was a neighbour of ours. We often hear the barn owl which lives in the ruined house next door and we have caught glimpses at night, but only recently have we seen it during the day and I managed to have my camera handy.
We’ve been a bit slack on updates over the last month or so and in that time we bought a dozen baby roasties and I’m already killing them. At least there is now plenty of room for them in the freezer. Slowly but surely we are getting through the two pigs we reared and slaughtered in 2012. I recently found another pork belly at the bottom of a freezer. It was from the so called thin end so wasn’t good for roasting but it was excellent for making bacon. And this is where your supermarket streaky bacon comes from. We just cover the belly in salt, leave it overnight, then drain the liquid that comes off. Reapply the salt over the next 5 days and the result is dry cured streaky bacon. Perfect.
Of course we still take the dogs for a walk every day and Jackie has been keener to do it these days as it’s orchid season. She wrote a post about it recently but since then she has spotted quite a few more. Maybe another orchid post soon and of course May is peak time for the wild flowers so watch this space.