Blue skies, orange persimmons

Blue skies, orange persimmons

The Kaki fruits, or Japanese persimmons (Bot. Diospyros Kaki) are ripe now, ready for jam-making, and the colours are a refreshing change over the last two grey, soaking weeks. The immature fruit is quite astringent and bitter but the tannin levels are reduced as the fruit matures and it has its best flavor when allowed to rest and soften after harvest. It has a delicious soft jelly-like consistency, and is best eaten with a...
Rain has stopped!

Rain has stopped!

After ten days and 300+ mm of rain, the sun came out today. We went for a walk around to see what the olives looked like and found they had absorbed masses of water, some looking like small plums. Not a big help when we’re trying to produce oil. Some were literally bursting with water, their skins split open (see photo), especially where there had been fly strike – where the ‘mouche’ or olive fruit fly – dacus oleae or bactrocera oleae – had made a hole to lay her eggs. The fruit is also suffering a browning inside the olives, or bruising, because of the high water content in competition with the oil. The pressure of water uptake has ruptured the cells inside the flesh of the fruit, from the nut out, and this has already produced a ‘moisi’ or mouldy smell noticeable walking along the lines of trees and which would give the same unpleasant taste in the oil. All really bad...
The Hunt Strikes Back!

The Hunt Strikes Back!

Finally, the local hunt succeeded in shooting the enormous boar which has been causing us so much trouble: rootling up trees, pulling down restanque walls to search for bulbs, and uprooting plants. We’ve had twelve trees uprooted this autumn, which is heart-breaking to see. Wild pigs do it by mistake. What happens is this: the trees are watered in the summer, beetles lay eggs in the damp soil, especially in rotting bits of wood, and by autumn the larvae are a nice, tasty morsel, the size of a fat finger… yum yum! The boar rootles around in the earth and the bigger pigs push and tear at the roots which small trees can’t withstand. Then, as the tree comes up, it’s a case of, “Oops, sorry, a slip of my nose, yer honour!” He was a big male boar of 134 kgs, almost a record for the village, certainly for decades, and much rosé was consumed in celebration. The man who shot the boar, in the photo, is a local fireman. The other photos show the same beast a couple of years ago, coming up to drink at one of our drinking troughs, which we put out to stop the boars eating our watering system pipes.         So far this season, the village hunt has shot 46 wild pigs… and still there is damage being caused. Those with a faint heart, don’t worry, these animals double their population in a summer, which is why the cull is so...

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