I've been nurturing this apple tree for awhile as it has been really loaded with fruit, but this week was harvest time. The apples are large, ripe and delicious and I got masses of fruit from this one giving little tree. Now that the fruit is off, I'll give the tree a prune and it can rest again. This much fruit is hard for me to get through as fresh fruit so I'll be preserving it to enjoy throughout the year. So far I've just done some apple chips as they're my favourite snack but I'll also be stewing some and freezing in cubes to quickly thaw and enjoy and I'll also can some to use in cooking.
More harvests from the garden include my borlotti, frost and ukrainian beans. All dried beans that I'm busy shelling and storing away in the pantry. These are just great in minestrone soup or for use in my baked bean recipe which is delicious with eggs in the mornings. The tomato harvest continues and this week I've managed to get lots of jars of soup into the pantry along with more salsa, and sauces. Tomato is a very versatile crop to grow but it does present plenty of time consuming work during Autumn.
Another harvest I'm working on is the final honey harvest. I did grab a few frames back in January from my two bigger hives but nows the time to grab the rest and start thinking about the winter shut down. If I start now then I can get these hives set up beautifully for winter with plenty of stores in the right places to get them comfortably through the cooler months. I'm still really getting my head around all of this process with winter prep being the most challenging time. I just don't want to let these girls down!!
An exciting discovery this week was a new batch of ducklings hatched by Ash out by the dam. These little dudes are muscovy ducklings and are very cute. Eight hatched and are all going well. Duckling watching does take up a bit of time, but hey, it's just gotta be done :)
There are heaps of ducks right now. Along with all my muscovy and khaki campbells are the local wood ducks. I counted around 50 by the dam one day and now they are making their way up to the back yard. I startled this lot when attempting to take a photo but they quickly got to safety down on the water. The dam really has created lots of habitat for not only my birds but loads of local birds also. I've had grebes, a black swan, a pelican, blue herons, plovers, yellow tailed black cockatoos in addition to the wood ducks, all enjoying the water.
The wood ducks especially are beneficial for the pasture, as they wander through the grass finding treats to eat, they are also dropping their manure and adding wonderful fertility to the paddock. Thanks guys!!
With the shortening days I'm up moving the electric fences often as the sun pops up. It's a really magical time of day with each sunrise being just a little different to the next. Like duckling watching, sunrise watching also takes some time, but thats ok - whats the rush - right??
Hope you all have a great week. Looks like I've got plenty more preserving ahead of me once all my observing is done.