The hot and sunny weather we've had recently has meant that our soft fruit has ripened quickly, and I have been out harvesting it in the very warm evenings that we've been enjoying. We have two currant bushes, one red and one black, and every year I am delighted to see the little clusters of berries becoming a bright, translucent red,
or a deep, purplish, opaque black.
The redcurrants are especially attractive and it's an annual thought of mine that they would make a very pretty set of necklace and earrings! Maybe a bit too sticky, though ...
Last weekend J helped me to pick the first crop of ripe currants and we sat companionably together on garden chairs chatting about this and that whilst carefully taking only the ripe fruit from each branch. My, it did take a long time - look how many there were, especially of the redcurrants!
A week later I sat and picked them on my own in the warm morning sunshine, and mused on what a meditative activity fruit-picking is. It forces you to slow down and concentrate on the task in hand, and cannot be rushed. While I picked, my mind wandered onto all sorts of topics but the repetitive activity of lifting each branch and carefully stripping off the little clusters of berries without squashing them is very engrossing, a truly mindful activity. Afterwards I felt calm and relaxed, and had picked all of these. As you can see, not only the currants have ripened.
The raspberries are ready now too, and I love their intense sweetness.
I can't resist eating them straight off the bush, warm from the sun, and love their soft colour somewhere between red and deep pink. Don't they go well with their green leaves too?
I love the way they come away so easily when they are ripe and leave this strange central stalk behind. Did you know it's called a torus? I discovered recently that you can tell if a fruit is a raspberry because when you pick it the torus is left behind leaving a hollow centre. If it comes with it, it's a blackberry (I love picking up little bits of information like that).
Meanwhile the blackberries are growing fast, hard, green and fuzzy at the moment, but they'll be ripe before we know it.
The apples are swelling by the day, a foretaste of early autumn. Apparently you should reduce the tiny apples to two per branch in order to have good-quality apples when they're ripe. Hmmm, not sure if I can bring myself to do it.
Here's something I've not seen before on our apple tree: a branch of blossom amidst the ripening apples. How strange that one branch should be so far behind the rest of the tree!
The raspberries made a good dessert for my packed lunch today mixed with fat free yoghurt. They were delicious at lunchtime and, in the middle of a busy day at work, a sweet reminder of time spent harvesting soft fruit in a garden chair in warm sunshine.
Before I go I just want to say 'thank you' for your lovely comments on my posts. I love to read them and am always delighted that anyone reads my blog. I often have to catch up on everyone else's blogs every few days, rather than daily because I can't always fit it in and I find that a bit frustrating, but I do get to them eventually and sit myself down with my laptop and a cup of tea for a good catch-up. Once the school holidays begin, I shall have more time to catch up properly - hooray! x