Thursday, 28 January 2016

apricot time

There is something centring about fruit trees. We planted an apricot tree in our Brunswick house many years ago. There was a ritual and a rhythm in keeping with each season. In Autumn I watched as yellow, brown and dry the leaves carpeted the ground. In winter we pruned aggressively and in spring pink and white cotton candy buds bejewelled bare limbs. Vibrant green leaves accompanied an explosion of budding fruit. Pink and white petals gave way to small green parcels of promise. Small and green became large and yellow and then it was a competition between birds, ants and humans, all coveting that prized ripe fruit. Summer is harvest time, a week or two of intense picking and eating and stewing and jam making.

I have missed my tree these past few years while we have been roaming and 'home' is a rented apartment in one state or another. This year my sister shared her tree with me. I arrived back from Melbourne to a text from her telling me it was 'time'. The tree was laden and time was short, already the birds had feasted and the fruit had begun to fall. Teddy, her labrador, left a regurgitated mess on her kitchen floor which included 14 apricot stones. True to form he is also feasting on what falls to the ground.

This morning I arrived early for my task, rain was forecast and the thought of all that fruit ruined was unimaginable. Grey skies, parched ground, space and trees and green living things, clean air, a rooster crowing a new day, a wooden ladder and a green ice-cream container, a hopeful labrador and woolly spectators, a very enjoyable way to start the day and a mountain of fruit a bonus.

The afternoon was spent in my mothers kitchen - we turned 7 kilos of apricots into a multitude of jars of jam and another 3 kilos into stewed fruit. It is very satisfying to see an abundance of produce, that comes from your garden, that you made yourself and that will feed your family. And as we cleaned and cut and cooked the rain poured down accompanied by thunder and lightening...

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