Sunday, August 15, 2010

First Fruits

Snatching a few days at the beginning of August to get away from the big city with its oppressive heat, the constant brown haze of polluted air that hangs over the metro area, and the seething mass of people in the overpopulated south, we headed down east with that growing sense of freedom that awaits us, if we can only cut the ties to our suburban life.  (Wow, that was a long sentence!)

I was convinced that Friend Bear would have made short work of our budding raspberry crop, but as it turned out our timing was perfect.  The canes were groaning with ripe fruit and I went out with my biggest pan to collect the goodies.  It didn`t take me long to learn that going raspberrying in the Cape means long pants, sturdy boots and a bugshirt, not to mention a can of pepperspray in case of uninvited guests.  When all was said and done I picked 3 lbs of fruit.

Ripe for the picking.


I don`t yet have the equipment on hand to make preserves, but rest assured these are safely stashed in the freezer for now.  I did get this great book, "Small-Batch Preserving" (Topp & Howard) which contains a raspberry jam recipe which I'm itching to try.  I'll let you know how it turns out!

Every time I arrive, it seems that the garden has a new and exciting treasure to show me.  This time I was thrilled to be greeted by a gorgeous display of hollyhocks.  These are one of my favourite flowers, and I did have one in my suburban garden, but it fell victim to leafhoppers and the blooms rotted on the stem.  This garden however, being 100% organic and naturally sustained throughout its life, seems remarkably pest-free and the hollyhocks were growing tall and healthy.  I know you guys always want photos, so here are a few. 

Deep purple, anyone?

Or white?

Shocking pink?

Or maybe you prefer pastel shades?

In non-hollyhock-related news, we had more encounters with Supermouse, who had decided in our absence to treat his family to an entire cube of mouse poison treat, and seemed none the worse for it.  He even had the cheek to jump onto Paul's hand when he switched on the porch light!  I know a few ladies who would have been screaming Eeek! and leaping on chairs at this point.  Battle ensued, and waged using the weapon of choice: expanding foam.  There are so many crevices and mouseruns, it's almost like the place was built to be a mouse playground.  I think that when we're there fulltime, we'll be interviewing a few cats for their rodent-hunting skills.

Tom & Jerry, of course, pale in comparison to Wile E. Coyote ...   The first I knew that something was up was when a gunshot rang out while I was innocently folding laundry.  I watched from the upstairs window as Paul hoisted the Marlin to his shoulder and shot two or three rounds in the general direction of the woods near the barn.  When he returned to the house he told me that two coyotes were enjoying a shady clearing at the edge of the woods right alongside our driveway.  One of them bared its teeth and snarled at him, leaving him in no doubt that a couple of shots were necessary.  Hopefully they've got the message.  We discussed the possibility of maybe getting a dog, and researched a few of the larger breeds, but we're not sure yet.  After watching a Youtube video of a cat staring down a coyote in New York City, as well as another one of a cat chasing a bear from a garden, I'm thinking maybe we'll stick with the cat idea.

Meanwhile, we have grapes!  The tiny baby grapes that we saw last time have grown profusely, and the pergola is literally groaning with fruit.  As well, we discovered that the unknown vine draping itself all over our honey locust tree near the deck is, in fact, another grapevine!  And it too is loaded down.  We're going to need a really long ladder ...

Casa Cape Breton ... ?

We never cease to be astonished by this garden.  Waiting to see what September brings ...