Monday 20 September 2010

Saturday Morning Bike Ride and Jelly

After my recent brambling efforts I'm keen to see what else is on offer in the hedgerows. I remember spotting a blackthorn bush on a bike ride back in May and decide to visit it again to see if there are any sloes.

After a fairly flat start there's quite a big hill to climb once I'm across the river. It's worth the effort for the views (and the downhill on the way home).

Not too clear a view today though as the grey clouds are obscuring the far away hills.

Yet another reservoir, I think that's three in three weeks. This one (Barcraigs) is the one I often go to on my bike. Not only does it offer lovely views but there is a good network of roads right round it.

Wild geese (look closely just above the ground in the middle), despite the distance their honking was clear to hear.

Barcraigs. I almost managed to fit it all in the photo. The water level is much lower than this time last year as we have a relatively dry (for us!) summer.

I don't know what this plant is, but it looks rather nice!

I surprise myself by actually being able to find the blackthorn tree. There are even some sloes on it but not many. I pick what I can, just a small pocketfull, before heading off again, looking out for some more brambles now instead.

Just a little bit further down this hill I find a reasonable bramble patch on the left hand side and start picking. After a couple of minutes I become aware of movement across the road behind me...

... I'm being watched!

Nosey cows.

From here I just head home as I need to be back early. The rain is on and gets quite heavy so I stop to wrap a platic bag round my leg(!) - I've a dressing I need to keep dry. At some point during last week's cycling adventure I got bitten on my ankle by an insect. By Monday my leg from below my knee to my foot was red and swollen with a lovely big blister full of pus where the bite was (sorry if I've put you off your tea!). I was worried it was infected to went to the docs. It's been drained but I need to get a new dressing on it every three days, it looks like it's going to take a wee while to heal properly (Edit to say that the swelling is all away now it's just the blister bit that's being dealt with, also I put the plastic bag under my cycling leggings so I didn't look a complete numpty!). Anyway, back to this week, I probably did about 10 miles so it was a fairly short cycle compared to my recent ones. However, I've only been doing these weekly cycles for just over a year and when I started I considered 10 miles quite a decent distance.

On Friday I picked all the crab apples from our tree. We planted the tree three winters ago and this is our second crop. Lots more than last year, can't wait till next year!

Softening to make...

... crab apple jelly. What a gorgeous colour it is, the above photo doesn't really do it justice. I'm sightly tempted just to leave the jars in front of the window so I can admire them whenever I pass. But I don't, they're now in the cupboard along with another batch of bramble jelly I made yesterday. I'm learning all the time with this jelly making - crab/cooking apples instead of dessert (more pectin) for bramble jelly and a rolling boil (not just simmering). I used this recipe for the crab apple jelly.

Now, what to make next...


Erica said...

Hahhahha, "I'm being watched." Being a fan of "The Far Side," I often find myself suspicious of cows and what they might be up to behind that big brown-eyed facade. Beautiful ride this weekend!

rockinloubylou said...

your bite sounds horrific - hope it subsides soon. The bramble jam and crab apple jelly look amazing. Real hedgerow fare.

Knot Garden said...

The crabapple jelly looks beautiful and I bet it tastes good too. My granny used to have a crabapple tree in her garden. I hope your ankle is getting better!

Yiota said...

Thanks for the ride, Anne! Love the countryside around where you live.
That jelly looks really gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Food for free is the best! Have you tried looking for blaeberries in the woods? The bite sounds horrid - hope the swelling goes down soon.

Cathy said...

I have enjoyed catching up with all your activities Anne. Great scenery photos as always. I love jellies rather than jams too. No pippy bits. Your blog always makes me so hungry. The scone and fruit reminds me of how we make Eve's Pudding with stewed fruit and a cakey top...delicious.

Our hedgerows have been dripping with blackberries and elderberries this year. A very fine crop and I have enjoyed tasting them on my daily walks. Love those cows peering over the wall too.

Diane said...

That does look lovely. It has been a great year for Apples. Hope the bite mends soon. xxx

topchelseagirl said...

Ouch the bite sounds nasty. Love the nosey cows lol!

topchelseagirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Lovely moody photos, it's looking a bit Autumnal up with you (we slipped back into Summer today, but it wont last). Your bite sounds horrific, glad it's on the mend though and your crab apple jelly looks fantastic, we planted a bush last year but there's little on it, as expected, maybe next year?


Anne said...

I love your photos, I feel like I've been out in the countryside with you. By the way I found you on Helsie's blog. :-)

Lyn said...

Iv'e never made jelly, is it easy?
yours looks wonderful!
I love the photos of the cows too.


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