Wednesday 11 September 2013

Autumn Harvest and Braised Red Cabbage

Gentle Reader~I am at that dangerous stage now, where my back is almost healed, and my fingers are a itchin' and a twitchin' to get out there and dig that soil!  I must be strong!  I must not sally forth with undue care into the garden to do these jobs before my back is ready, for I do not wish to pay the price of rushing.  The work will still be there when I am fully able.

I managed a turn around the lawn pushing the mower, last week, and that was enough.  Pruning is happening where I am able to do so without reaching and bending, and I am gathering seeds from all the many flowers of Summer, so I will have free seeds to sow and share for next Spring.  There is much joy in the harvesting of seeds to set aside for future displays.

I'd like to welcome the new followers to my blog~~Croeso! Welcome! Thank you for following and I do hope you enjoy reading my ramblings and photographs.

First, I must share some sad news.  My neighbour has desecrated the ivy and honeysuckle along my Pembrokeshire stone hedge.  I think he thought he was doing me a favour, but he did not tell me his exact plans and I came home one day to find the entire section hacked into non~existence by a machete.  As one friend pointed out~at least he waited until after the birds had finished nesting and the young have fledged!  Even my two Elder trees are matchwood.  Here are some of the disturbing images~and I know you will share my distress~

Two splintered stumps are all that remain of my magical Elder trees~

I have been told the Elders may recover.  I can only hope they do, for I prize and value the berries and flowers.  I know nature has a way of healing and recovering, and this damage will soon be restored, it is was such a shock to come home from a day out to this sight.  I grieve and am concerned, not only for the damage, but the removal of shelter, for many small birds fed and sheltered in the tumbled growth of ivy and honeysuckle.

Gentle Reader~shall we move on? 

The weather is changing, Autumn chills the air, and there are now many small birds in the garden, foraging for seeds and insects, and one of my new friends is this adorable juvenile robin.  Do you see how his red feathers aren't quite full, there is still a vestige of the downy new fledgling about him, but he is more adult than baby now.  I call him my Teenage Robin!

This week, I have seen woodpeckers, blue tits, chaffinch, goldfinch, sparrows, and many more.  I must settle down to getting some photographs, mustn't I?

The raspberries are fruiting again!  They did the exact same thing last year.  They flowered and fruited (and were greedily devoured) in the expected time frame, and then, two months later cropped again!  The only difference is that in both years the second crop, although much smaller in quantity, is producing much bigger, firmer, and flavoursome fruits.  They are altogether a far superior berry to the earlier crop produced~~how strange is this?  Here is a photograph to show you the quality fruits~

Don't they look good?  Luciously red and deliciously juicy jewels of plumptiousness!

Here is my recipe for Braised Red Cabbage.  I devised this vinegar~free recipe because my mother is unable to eat anything containing vinegar.  I hope you like it~~

1 head red cabbage
2 medium onions
750 ml good quality apple juice
Seasonings: salt, pepper, 1/4 teasp each cinnamon, clove, freshly ground nutmeg, juniper berries, 1 tablesp grainy mustard. {all seasonings can be adjusted to taste}

pre~heat oven to Gas Mark 3
Remove outer leaves of cabbage and slice as thinly as possible. I use the finest blade on my mandolin. Finely shred the peeled onions.
In a large, oven~proof lidded casserole layer the cabbage and onions, adding seasonings to ea
ch layer. Pour over the apple juice.
Slow cook in the oven for around 3 hours, until cabbage and onions are buttery soft.

This freezes very well and is great for people who cannot take vinegar. When reheating, I add a tablespoon of loganberry or redcurrant jelly {optional} which gives a lovely glaze if serving the dish to company. 

Three hours later, this is what you should be removing from the oven~a casserole dish full of ruby red delicious goodness~~

Of course, it would not be Autumn if the Dreaded Giant Marrow Courgette did not rear it's fearsome head, and here is the one for this year~

Not as big as some I know, but big enough!  Until next time~~~

~~~A Gardener's Work Is Never Done~~~


  1. I am so glad to hear you are better!! Hooray!! Now just be careful and don't over do! I know you won't,you are tired of this pain,aren't you?!

    Devastating what your neighbor did!! I would sit down and cry and then probably make an as$ out of myself by telling the neighbor off! I have done that before,believe me! LOL!

    I am so happy to hear you out in the garden puttering. That will help you heal more than anything else! Isn't is so satisfying to harvest seed for next year? It gives one such a good feeling inside.

    Looking forward to your next posts! Darlene

    1. Hello Dear Friend! Thank you for the lovely photographs of your garden, you have such lovely things growing too.
      Puttered more today, with the first Autumn gales due tomorrow for three days~back to living in that wind tunnel again!
      Deb xoxo

  2. What a darling blog you have! It's my first ever visit! I am so sorry to learn of what your neighbour did to your ivy and honeysuckle! :( I don't understand how he could do such a thing without your permission. I hope you spoke to him about it so that he doesn't do anything like that again.
    I love backyard birds! Your teenage robin is adorable! We have robins here in Canada, too. They only arrive in the spring and most are gone by now. Our robins, however, are very different looking. They are called American robins and are much bigger in size, although they have the same red breast. My current backyard visitors are American goldfinches, house finches, mourning doves, black-capped chickadees and the occasional blue jays.
    I hope your back is healed soon so you can get back to your gardening work. Take care! Rosinda xoxo

    1. Hello Rosinda and Welcome to my little blog. As next door is a holiday cottage, it is now empty until next Spring, so I cannot speak to him, sadly.
      We are blessed with our little garden friends. I do so love to watch, and an afternoon can be gone in the blink of an eye watching them feed.
      My back is improving greatly now, thank you for asking.
      Deb xoxo

  3. What variety is your raspberry and do you prune it?

    I'm sure that you elder will bounce back they do grow really quickly. Did you tell your neighbour not to do any hatchet work again?

    1. Hello Sue~afraid the labels are long gone. I do remember buying 4 different ones that were supposed to fruit in rotation from June to September/October. Two, which I think are Glen Clova and Autumn Bliss are going great guns for the second time this year, and the others are not far behind. Second year this has happened. I have never pruned but must do so this year when I am able to get out there again. You did, kindly, tell me how to do this on your own blog. Thank you for the help!
      Several people have said the elders will recover, and I plan to use this to my advantage by not letting them get too tall so I can harvest the berries safely. It is a second/holiday home, so no one will be here now until March.

    2. This does explain it then. Autumn Bliss are autumn fruiters as the name suggests - each year in early spring you are meant to cut all the canes to ground level as they fruit best on new canes. Old canes will fruit but earlier and produce smaller fruits. So the larger fruit that you are getting now is probably produced on this years new growth. Some people only cut half of last years canes out to achieve the result that you are having i.e. two flushes of fruit.

      The trouble is that summer fruiting varieties need to be pruned differently so you really need to know which is which. With summer fruiters you cut out any fruited old brown canes now and leave the strong new green canes that have grown this year as these will fruit next year. If you don't prune at all you canes will gradually lose their vigour.