Village life at its best.
It must have been about five in the afternoon when I decided to set out to go and visit an elderly lady down the road, or rather lane. Her age is indescribable as it could be in the 60's as well as in the 70's. In the days of yesteryear she is what would be called a spinster. But maybe spinsters do live a longer life as they don't have to be at the beck and call of a husband....
Now and again I do visit her and we have a great chat together. In summer and autumn it takes place in her garden. Winter sees us sitting in her kitchen. Oh, she loves and lives for her garden. Winters spent sitting inside are torturous for her. She has a huge garden and she mostly tends to it herself ( the back garden or what should be termed the back 9, gets mowed by her cousin who has one of those luxurious mobile lawn-mobiles ).
She has a nicely sized vegetable garden, complete with carrots, potatoes, celeriac, onions and so much more. That in itself is a full time occupation. In her garden everything is neat and tidy. In our village, most of the older generation still heat with a wood oven which means a lot of physical work.( Maybe that's why us youngsters tend to have the easier heating options! ) As small as she is, she cuts, or rather axes her own firewood for the winter. It is all neatly stacked in her yard. If you have ever hacked a piece of wood into pieces, you will know how strong one needs to be. Wood to last through winter means a lot of swinging that axe!
When I went to her house yesterday, she was chatting with a neighbour and the conversation hovered around the pesky snails that were eating their way around most gardens. Somehow we came to the conclusion that it might be nature's way to restore a balance of sorts. Regardless of why, most of the vegetable gardeners have chosen to forgo planting lettuce.
As we were walking to the back of her garden ( which she still mows with an ordinary lawn mower. I put a link below ) I spotted a whole row of red currant bushes. Bushes just bursting with a vibrant red colour and heaving with the weight of an abundance of red currants.
" Oh, you must make the most divine jam with those? "but it turns out that she doesn't like red currants and as none of her friends or family care to pick them, usually the birds do.
Ooh, I spotted an opportunity and grabbed it with both hands. When I asked her if I could pick them, she was only to pleased to have someone make use of them. After she fetched a plastic bag for me, I set to work but all the while we had a great conversation about this and that. At one point a big grey cloud decided to empty a rain shower on top of us. She kindly rushed in to fetch an umbrella for me despite my assurances that it didn't worry me. Our house is a mere 500 meters up the road.
While she was inside looking for an umbrella, my fabulous husband ( a.k.a. Schatzi ) phoned to ask whether he should fire up the chariot to come and fetch me. Spotting an opportunity to get a fellow red currant picker on board, I said yes. Wouldn't you know it, it took him only a minute to arrive!!!
Men are notorious for waiting in cars for their wives, so I waved & gestured for him to come into the garden. He did and met this nice lady. When I showed him her back garden and the nice red currant bushes, he was hooked and picking. Seeing her garden has given Schatzi and I some new ideas and hopefully we will put them into practice soon.
Today we will make this red currant jam. The fruit is rather tart, but I can just imagine eating a spoonful of it with a piece of brie whilst sipping a nice glass of Eisenberg Blaufränkisch...