Jostaberry season

Found them!

And no, they weren’t in the teetering compost heap. But slouching on the stone edge of the potager path. Note to self: spray paint them a more vivid colour so I don’t waste ages hunting and cursing.

The last time I spray painted them was when the septic tank lads were here and I borrowed their garish orange spray paint can to give them a blast. And that was two years ago.

Gawd, look at how grotty they are. I need to give them some love now that they are back.

But right now I have no time for such fripperies as care of tools. It’s heatwave season here. And that means your chances of doing anything productive in the garden involves getting up early. Or having enough vim to surge out after dinner and try and work.

It’s a race against the planet right now. My poor jostaberry bushes – getting scorched by this unprecedented blasting heat and hot wind in June.

Well, let’s just accept that the unprecedented is the norm now and try and work around it.

The way I work my way around the soft fruit orchard in front of the potager.

The weed proof fabric has been such a great idea. It’s positively simple to step down off the path and get picking.

I know, I know. Not for purists. But the past two years have been a blissful picking possibility without having to wade through weeds.

And I can locate the cat when she plays hide and seek. Or scratch and leap. Here she is poised to pounce on a Tupperware box of fruit that is in her way.

I didn’t take the action attack shot that took place three seconds after this – I was too busy trying to get the fruit out of her reach.

A lot of these wacky jostaberry bushes are coming to the end of their lives. Over thirty years seems to be a fine score if you ask me. Especially as they are so incredibly productive. But I am noticing quite a few branches this year are doing that over-dramatic die back and wither as they are stressed by the weather.

I just cut the branches and keep on picking. Secure in the knowledge that I have taken a dozen cuttings two years ago and have a new hedge growing merrily at the top potager.

Ooh, I can’t show you that – I have a secret project up there that is not ready to be revealed.

Back in the kitchen when the heat gets unbearable I do the sorting: good black ones go to the metal trays in the deep freezer. I open freeze them and then store them for eating all year.

The less ripe and wonky go into future cordial stock in the freezer (labelling being vital here, they look alike).

And as I have so many I’m also madly making jam. And some bottles of cordial too.

That is the one advantage of the heat wave – you have to find things to do indoor for hours and hours while you wait for it to cool.

And yes, there has been lolling about reading online newspapers on one’s iPad and almost but not quite having a nap. But I do try and be good.