a walk in August

ploughing Far Blackley

It seems that summer is slipping away. The mornings are a little cooler, the dew on the grass lingers for longer and in the evenings the back door no longer stands open until bed time. Although the combines are still harvesting the wheat and oilseed rape around us, the hot dusty smell of summer has been replaced by the damper smell of newly turned soil, as tractors and ploughs work their way across the stubble fields.

unripe blackberriesunripe blackberries

There’s no time for long walks in August. The North Downs Way walk is on hold as walks are confined to the farm where the hedges are checked for fruits and berries to use in jams and gin. We have a few ripe blackberries but most of them are still unripe, as are the elderberries.


The sloes and bullace are changing to the familiar blue black colour that deepens as they ripen, but they aren’t ready for picking yet.

crab apples

crab apples in a line

does this count as art?

The crab apples are ripe for picking or playing with on the footpath under the pretence of creating art. I’m tempted to make jars of crab apple jelly flavoured with spices or herbs, like mint and sage, but am held back by the sight of a shelf full of jams and jellies dating back to (whisper it) 2005. If I haven’t used a jam in eight years then it obviously isn’t that appealing but while the voice in my head shouts “waste not, want not”, I’ve been seduced by Elizabeth’s jewel like jellies that make my old jams look dull and unenticing. Perhaps I’ll clear out the jams that have solidified in the jar and make just a few jars of crab apple jelly and spiced crab apples.

the view from Great Forest gateway

the view from Great Forest gateway August 2013

For a while, Jo at Daisyley took a photo from the same spot every month , which I thought was interesting as the year unfolded so I’m going to try to remember to take a photo from the gateway to Great Forest field once a month. You’ll be relieved to know that I won’t post them all, as a picture of a field might get a little boring for you. But to start with, the view this morning from Great Forest gateway looking north west as I took a walk around the farm.

Read about crab apples and making crab apple, tomato and chilli jelly here

21 thoughts on “a walk in August

  1. Jane says:

    Art – yes indeed! It’s beautiful and it would make one stop and ponder, so I believe that is certainly art. As for the jams and jellies, I think food is never really truly wasted if it is fed to chickens that turn it into eggs, if that’s any help! And if I were closer I would come and relieve you of a heap of jams for my hungry boys 🙂


    • Anne @GtSlamseysFarm says:

      If you were closer, I’d gladly hand over loads of jam! As the chickens always peck away at the fallen crab apples, I’m going to hold onto the thought that they aren’t going to waste but are being turned into eggs. Thanks Jane 🙂


  2. rusty duck says:

    Oh, I’m so glad it’s not just me… the back of my cupboards would not stand up to inspection.
    I like the idea of taking a photograph from the same spot each month. We don’t appreciate changes so easily when we see something every day.


  3. Welcome Company with Danielle says:

    So glad to have found your lovely blog and am looking forward to reading more. You have a beautiful writing style. Spiced or herbed crab apple jelly sounds wonderful. My mother is the same with rows and rows of canning from her garden dating back who knows how long. If only she were closer, I would raid the shelves everyday!


  4. Pat Machin says:

    I’ve given up on the pantry full of jam! It was great when I had hollow legged teenagers but we just don’t eat bread and jam much. I’m just making a jar or so of anything that comes my way. My sister-in-law sent me a small tub of gooseberries and it mad just a 1lb jar. Now it’s finished, I’ve just made some blueberry and apple ~ the blueberries were on offer.

    Your idea of a monthly view is a great one. I think I go round with my eyes out of focus sometimes and it takes a vistor to ooh! and aah! at our views to remind me.


  5. Glenda says:

    Hi Anne 2005 ….. that’s not toooo bad 🙂 I have seen worst (in my cupboard). I like your idea of a photo from the same spot. I just took a photo for the next IMK post and it is so different from last month’s.


  6. Mrs Thomasina Tittlemouse says:

    Of course that’s art! And of the best sort! Spontaneous, performance and edible! What more can you ask?! It’s hard getting the balance right between the desire to preserve and squirrel away and what one is actually going to eat. Take heart rom my mother who shocked H recently by producing a jar of jam from well before he was born and pronouncing it “perfectly all right”! I think H expected his hair to drop out or something but the jam was indeed fine if a little stiff but then my bramble jelly of only a few days ago was even stiffer so who’s to tell?! Sugar is a great preservative! So don’t throw anything out especially from that gourmet larder of yours! Will post the muffin recipe when I’ve fine-tuned it a bit – trouble is that a lot of jam is being consumed in the testing process! Might solve your backlog issue though! E x


    • Anne @GtSlamseysFarm says:

      You’re absolutely right about getting the balance right. Maybe I should stop writing the dates on the jars, which at least would stop some members of the family from selecting only jams from the last year.


  7. andreamynardA says:

    Definitely guilty of ancient preserves lurking in the depths of my cupboards too. But equally tempted by all those lovely garden and hedgerow fruits to make more. Lovely post and I do think that those crab apples are art.


  8. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial says:

    What a lovely, gentle post. My Pete says that crabapple jelly is the queen of all preserves (I like quince better myself, but crabapple comes a close second), so I think you definitely should make some! 🙂 We have jars going back as far as 2009, but that’s only because we only started dating our jars then.. 😉


  9. knitsofacto says:

    I’m loving your apple art. And crab apple jelly has to be the best conserve there is. So I’d say make lots. The Hairy Bikers have a fabulous crab apple jelly gravy recipe if you need more ideas for using it up.


  10. elaine says:

    oh don’t you just love this time of year – so much of natures’ bounty to gather – things are a bit slow to ripen round here – but soon I’ll be getting stung and scratched along with everyone else whilst doing my bit to denude the fruit bushes.


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