Slices of quince

Five quince trees! What a discovery. They were there all the time lurking above the slope near the house. And I never knew. But now they are ripening like mad and I’m in heaven. Long consultation day with Nicolas who is strimming the terraces. He will definitely be in charge from now on as he is trying to manage the plants rather than just erasing them. Spanish broom, verbascums and lots of ferns. Heaps of vinca alas, the periwinkle. But it covers just two of the terraces, and it is rather a good ground cover and when it invades too much we will sort it out. And the two rosehips bushes that Nicolas found are not going to stay. They will take over in no time. And as we don’t spend a lot of time on the terraces below the house I can see how they can get out of hand. 

I have plans for a new compost box across from the top potager. As soon as Nicolas prunes the chestnut tree that is way out of control up at the top. And I will use the old compost in the big bin and spread it on the first flower garden we are planning. It needs work. No, not five but 11 quince trees. Even better. And we walked the lower terraces today (ten of them I think) and found another apple tree. Quite a big tree and some of the fruit looked promising. Well, under ripe and tart, but at least it has potential. I must really count all the trees and draw up a chart of the trees there. More elderflower trees than anyone would want. But I have about 10 kgs of the fruit in the freezer awaiting my attention. 

I had a kitchen disaster today, only saved by David’s great skills.. I had infused a kilo of mint for a day, and added a kilo of sugar to the syrup (strained), cooked it on low heat for an hour. And just as I had sterilised the bottles and was poised to pour it in…. I placed the hot pot on a bench in the kitchen. And the bench collapsed and the entire pot of sugar mint syrup exploded all over the floor, oven bin and walls of the kitchen. Disaster.  A glass broke at the same time so I had the unenviable task of not only cleaning it up, but watching out for broken glass all over the floor at the same time. Grrrr. I had to even go outside for a walk to recover from my crossness and disappointment. What a waste. and it’s about to become a wasp magnet as I’m sure I didn’t get all the sugar syrup up off the floor. But luckily David’s great lab skills came to the rescue. With heaps of water, paper towels and patience he managed to get all the syrup off the floor before the wasps were aware.Wild boar aren’t stupid –they snuffled up the ripe white mulberries, but haven’t been seen since. And now I know. The second ripening of the fruit hasn’t occurred. What’s the bet that in about two weeks time when the fruit is ripe we will see them again. Rain. Not fair. I have so many plans today. I’m starting the first flower bed. It’s on the track up from the house towards the top potager. I need to collect all the rubble that has lurked there for years (with the help of Tony the beekeeper), dig over the soil. And then add the compost from the top to the area and let it sit over the winter. The top compost bin has been there for over thirty years (I saw an old picture left by the Reinhardts) and it looks it. Manky is polite. So if Tony brings his hefty muscles, he can dismantle it and we can get that top part of the property looking less scruffy. I also want to do something brave if David thinks it a good idea. Take over the chicken shed. But I need to see if it is high enough to be able to stand in. The shed is on a slope. But to do that it will mean digging down through all that chicken manure and see if it is a possible shed for use. It will need to be well sorted. There is fencing, chicken wire and all sorts of mess about. But if we can do it  – I would love it for my potting shed. It sits in an amazing position overlooking the pool and would be perfectly situated between the upper and the lower potager. And it has windows. Naturally it will need to be well aired over the winter to try and kill all the lurking beasties and smell. It’s amazing how few flies we now have in the lower barn since the rabbits have gone. I was worried we were going to be plagued for months by the flies. But no.