Friday, April 18, 2014

In the Presents

Although my birthday isn’t until Monday, I’ve already got my presents. Why wait till the last moment? I may be out and about on Sunday and/or Monday anyway.

I decided to attempt canning this year so I obtained one of the big kettles for a hot water bath. I’ve never tried canning before but I have fruit coming so I might as well give it a try. Plenty of jars here – I tend not to throw things out – but I will have to go buy some lids.

What will I be preserving? Pears, probably. There should be quite a few on my big old tree (the smaller ones won’t bear for a couple years, I reckon) and I do not intend to let them go to waste as in the past, when I simply didn’t have the time (being busy as a caregiver). Pear sauce, probably — that should be simple and since I use a lot of apple sauce in my baking anyway, it should be something worth doing.

No peaches this year, though. I went out and pruned and pinched off most of the fruit. Better to let the trees’ energy go to growth for now. Next year, though, I should have a load of peaches to deal with. Little seedling fruit, mostly, but that’s perfectly good for preserving in one way or another.

As far as my berries go — I doubt I’ll have more than a handful of blueberries this year. Maybe not even that from the elderberries, which are slow to get a foothold. The blackberries should be plentiful, however, and there are always the wild ones too. But I would just freeze any of those I don’t consume right away.

There will be plenty of mulberries, too, but I’ll most likely leave those to the birds!

Later in the year, of course, I’ll be seeing nuts. My one large pecan should produce well this year. The smaller ones I’ve planted since moving here are far from bearing yet. I may not last long enough to see them with nuts. But the hazelnuts have taken hold pretty well – better than I actually expected – and I might even have a small crop from them (though I wanted them mostly as hedging material).

My other present to myself consisted of ordering a copy of ‘Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society’ by Amy Hill Hearth ( It is a novel set in the Naples FL in which I grew up, written by the wife (and successful nonfiction author) of one of my high school classmates and friends. I’m interested in seeing how many characters I ‘recognize!’

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