Harvest Time

It seems that fall is sneaking up on us. The nights are fresh and there’s a hint of dew on the ground in the mornings. The mountain ash berries are ripening, ready for desperate robins who come back down from berry-filled hills after the harvest, looking for anything left to eat. 004

Walnuts tell us it’s fall, as they near full size. They’ll leave an awful mess of walnut stain when the outer shell breaks open to reveal the brown nut inside. Wear gloves when you pick them or you’ll have stained fingers worse than the heaviest smoker ever had.

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This apple must be the one Eve offered to Adam. It’s the sweetest and juiciest of apples, the Gravenstein.008

Smaller than the Italian prune plum are the damsons. They’re sweet and tarty, perfect for eating or making jam.

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Then there are the yellow plums (which actually still look quite greenish when they’re ripe). They are really juicy, they don’t keep long, and are best eaten right away or made into jam.  017

The red Anjou pear is delicious and looks great with the peel still on when sliced onto a dessert.016

The Wilmuta apple is a cross between Jonagold and Gravenstein. It ripens in October and keeps well. Sweet and juicy, it’s a perfect late season apple.

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And what is this weird-looking thing? Mini squashes on a shrub? It’s quince. The shrub has beautiful red-orange blooms in the spring and then bears this fruit about the size of crab apples. When they’re yellow the quinces are ripe. I don’t recommend trying to eat them but they make a good jam of the marmalade style.

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Let’s hear it for the old standby – MacIntosh apples. What’s not to like?
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The hazelnuts are nearly ripe too. I’ve learned not to get too excited about the first ones that fall off the tree when those fall winds start to blow. Usually they are the duds, so don’t waste you time husking and drying them. Later, there will still be plenty of good ones. If you’re not too impatient and don’t mind risking losing them to steller’s jays and raccoons, you can pick the nuts up without the husks which come off more easily as the nuts dry. 021

And of course there’s nature adding to my planted efforts, providing blackberries for free. It’s a huge crop this year. 023 I really would like some help with all this harvesting and so far I’ve had one volunteer. Ruby is doing her best to brave the prickles. Tells you how good these blackberries are!026

25 thoughts on “Harvest Time

  1. Fall? Are you kidding me? Let me just wander over to my current conditions…. Yep. 94F, with a heat index of 106F. Everything is dead in the gardens, the sparrows are panting, and even the traffic on the freeways isn’t bad. Your world looks wonderful, but it’s going to take a couple of months for us to get there!

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    • I know, I know. Last week I was complaining about the heat and dryness. Well, it’s still dry, even though we’ve had a few spits of rain, but the cloud cover and suddenly cooler temps had me looking around and noticing a few leaves turning colour already. I love summer, but this year, fall almost feels like a welcome relief.

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    • Yes, all in my yard. That’s why I’m whining about all the work of harvesting it. 😉 It’s great to eat the fruit when it first ripens but after that, it’s a lot of work. But I’d rather have the trees than not, so it’s not a “true” whining.”

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  2. From the red berries (I think are inedible) to the very delicious blackberries with Ruby trying to nibble on one: I loved all the photos in between, Anneli. The pears and plums would be something I would really enjoy since I usually don’t buy many even while in season. I see “quince” in poems and in alphabet books for children but never really knew how they looked or tasted. Thanks for this tour around your natural wonders, Anneli. Hope you have a marvelous season of fruits and nuts, along with a great weekend, too. 🙂

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  3. Yes, you truly do have a Garden of Eden. Your photos are amazing. I cringed, though, when you said that fall is sneaking up on us. Noooooooooooooo! I want to shout. (Actually, I did shout it, by myself.) Enjoy all the fruits surrounding you – I love how your dog does!

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    • I know. I feel that way too about fall. It’s such a sad time. The end of everything that lives and grows, but this year has been so hot and dry, it’s a relief to get some rain (just a bit – we don’t need fall storms yet).

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