Last trip and drop off

Just in time for Christmas I had received a Christmas card from the allotment committee. Along with an invoice for next year. I’ve not decided yet. It’s boxing day today, and I’ll decide in the New Year.

Tonight, it was dark and foggy on the way to the allotment. I had driven with my fog lights on most of the way, but it was patchy. The mist and fog had descended across all of the fields and the main house wasn’t visible from the path into the Abbey Gardens allotments.

Committee Xmas card

Strangely, inside the walled garden it was quite clear and you could see the stars above. Very clearly! Milky Way was easily visible, and there was a planet on the horizon…

I left the last of the gin and vodka bottles in the allotment shed. All wrapped up in Christmas paper. A bit of a Father Christmas drop. I hid a couple of bottles for Julie near her seating area. Then I had a quick look round.

My plot. My old plot was looking very neat. Someone had taken it on and had kept it neat. The rest of the allotments looked in good shape as well.

Elvis was nowhere to be seen but I didn’t have any tests at hand anyway. Hopefully the garden cat was somewhere warm. I turned on my torch to maximum brightness and let myself out of the allotment and drove home.

Tayberry and lemon gin

Saturday 21 August 2021 and it’s gin day at home. The gin has been steeping since Saturday 25 July 2021.

Here’s the Tayberry and lemon gin. It’s taken a few weeks to sit in the back of the garage, but now it’s really ready to go.

The recipe is,

– 2100 ml of dry gin
– 400 g sugar
– 400 g tayberries
– 2 lemon peels
– juice 1/2 a lemon
– 2 cloves

Put all of that into a jar, mix it up until all of the sugar is dissolved and then put it into a dark, cool place for about a month.

Strain it throughout muslin cloth and then bottle it up and label it.

That’s it, almost all of the tayberries from this year are done; the last of the tayberries from the freezer are now used up. Just one more to go: the vodka.

Dropping off the rhubarb gin

I’ll take a couple of photos inside the allotment garden on my trip tonight, because it’s usually nice this time in the evening on a sunny day. Although it’s only been sunny for the last part of the day it has rained quite well since this morning.

Entering the allotment garden

That means there has been time enough to “harvest” the gin in the garage today. A rainy Saturday morning is probably the best time to do this sort of thing. That was the plan!

Although today, this morning has been quite a busy few hours and more abnormal than normal. It comprised of two parts: (1) second vaccine appointment for the older one; (2) 10-day self-isolation notification for the younger one (what glee that was: no school for 2 weeks). That’s just for the first two people in the household.

For me it was quite a lot easier. I had to collect some lateral flow tests from the chemist, just to keep us going for the next few weeks. Then it was time to do the rhubarb gin.

The bottling process was really easy, it just meant sieving it through a muslin cloth and then bottling it up and labelling each bottle individually. I’d say that took about 30 minutes in total. Hardly effort at all.

Later on that evening I decided to make a special trip to drop some off at the allotment. I’d sample some of it earlier and it was pretty good. It’s a nice evening and it’s 8:15 at night on Saturday, the 10th of July.

Quiet in the allotment garden

The allotment was empty, although that was expected because it’s been quite a wet day. There was a couple of people there but they were on the far side and so I didn’t really speak to them. Everything seems to be growing really well: the courgettes are going, lavender is okay. So I turned my attention to the tayberries again.

I placed a strategic bottle of gin on my neighbour’s plot, along with a small box full of tayberries is that I picked. That’s it for the evening. Quite an easy trip again.

Rhubarb gin recipe

Easy one. Take 1 kg of rhubarb chopped up into 2 cm pieces. Then, take a litre of gin and pour it in. Mixing 250 g of sugar and then put a slice of ginger in. Mix it up, then store in a dark place for a month to 6 weeks.

Bottles of rhubarb gin

That’s it! That’s all it took to make some of the nicest gin I’ve tasted in awhile.

The last of the 2020 damson gin recipe

I’ve taken the last of the gin recipe out of the garage where it been since last year. Steeping away with the damsons at the back half of the garage in the dark.

I’ve just bottled it up into six small bottles, and I will take those to the allotment and pass them out. There are a few allotment holders who are new this year and didn’t get any from the Christmas run. I think they deserve a few bottles with the effort they have put in recently.

Six little bottles of damson gin

The recipe is the usual. Damson 50 g, golden caster sugar 250 g, gin 70 cl.
Mix up in a mason jar and leave it for six months!

Damson gin recipe

Over the weekend I bought some gin to go with the damsons that came off the wind battered tree at the allotment.

Damson gin in progress

Ingredients for each… 500g damsons; 250g golden caster sugar; 700 ml bottle(s) of gin.

Rinse the damsons and remove any leaves and stalks; pat then dry, and put them in a freezer bag; freeze overnight or until solid. When solid bash the bag of damsons with a rolling pin and then tip everything into 1.2 litre jar.

Freezing the damsons and then giving them a good whacking helps to release the damson juice. I didn’t stop at a couple of hits, but I bashed the frozen fruits up until they were all damaged in some way. Since I intend to filter the condition before I bottle them up, I didn’t see the need to get dainty with a toothpick and individually prick each damson.

They will stay in a cool dark cupboard until Christmas. So, about 4 months away.