Saturday, February 28, 2009

Harvest time

Almond Harvest

Comatose after a full-on Sunday lunch last weekend, I dozed on the sofa and read for a mere hour or so until I was dragged out for a stroll. The family congregated in the orchard, to check out the fruit trees and we suddenly realized it was harvest time, so we all set about picking almonds from our three trees and filled two plastic bags with our bounty, cracking open some of the nuts with our fingers and eating them still fresh and almost milky.

One tree had managed to return to its grafted roots and so had a double harvest – almonds in the centre and cling peaches around the outside where new shoots had sprung up from the original stock that the almond had been grafted on to. We’re supposed to cut it all out to retain the almond, but they were good peaches! And then we spent the rest of the afternoon (and they are shortening now as sunset starts to get noticeably earler) shelling the outer husks from the almonds.

The girls rescued all the ladybirds that had been calling the almond husks home and set up a refugee shelter for them in a yoghurt pot filled with leaves. My love of ladybirds has been shaken by this news on Cooksister, so I spent too long trying to identify whether they were alien invaders or our usual loveable indigenous variety to really enjoy them as usual. However the girls looked after them very well and some of the ladybirds liked the new set up so much that they didn't even fly away home when the yoghurt pot lid was left off.

As well as the almonds we picked green plums and loads of cling peaches, which are the canning variety but are also delicious eaten fresh, so I haven't got around to preserving any of them. I'll have to go and see if the birds have left us any on the trees and get a second harvest. this weekend.

Autumn's tendrils have retreated again and today is hot summer once more, but the shortening days and last of the fruits are a reminder that summer's days are numbered and we'd better make the most of swimming and warmth. The kids, as usual at the end of summer, are sated with swimming and less interested in trekking down to the pool. Yesterday they were happy for hours on the trampoline in their swimming costumes, with the sprinkler turning it into a bouncy water slide. Amazingly their were no injuries and it gave us two solid hours of dozing on the sofa with our books on a sultry afternoon, to the background of distant shrieks and laughter, and strains of Waterloo from the CD they'd put on and then abandoned to run outside.


  1. what a perfectly idyllic way to spend an afternoon - and you describe it beautifully, i almost felt as if i was there. i've never seen almonds grow, i wish i could! i promise i'll help with the picking, too!

  2. I have a family with a terrible ladybird invasion problem...they're in Iowa, and literally get thousands of them inside their home.

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  4. The tree with the peaches and almonds must be a sight to see. Sounds like a perfectly wonderful day.

  5. Glad your ladybirds weren't the evil invaders... and agree with a previous commenter that the Asian ladybirds are a total menace, swarming around homes. I'd never seen anything like it!!

    As for your magic tree - that's so cool! Almonds and cling peaches (the one fruit we never seem to get here in the UK) on one tree sounds too good to be true!


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