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!
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...