Thursday, 24 August 2017

Harvest



Our days this week have been filled with fresh produce and flowers and our feet have barely touched the ground. We've been out and about; walking, picking blackberries, visiting gardens and farms, picking our own fruit and vegetables. The kitchen is in overdrive as I turn elderberries, blackberries and windfall apples into hedgerow and bramble jelly. Crumbles are made as fast as I can pick the apples and blackberries. Last night we ate fresh corn on the cob, picked that very morning by Angus and Bella in a field. I have a kilo of Victoria plums in a bowl, some ready to be baked into a cake and some gently stewed with sugar and spices into a compote to eat with vanilla ice cream.

I love this time of year. The leaves are starting to fade and yellow in places but the air is still warm and the fields and hedgerows are full of so much life and colour. This is when I start to really get back into cooking, into baking and preserving, and I can see that I'm already beginning the gradual retreat from time in the garden into time in the kitchen again.

Making bramble jelly is one of my seasonal rituals, something I really look forward to doing at this time of year. It heralds the gradual ending of summer for me like nothing else. When I first started making preserves, I experimented with so many different fruits and flavour combinations, trying different things, building my confidence and skills. But I've narrowed it down to three I make: bramble jelly in late August, some kind of chutney in October (for Christmas) and marmalade in January, when the Seville oranges are in the shops. These jamming sessions punctuate my year and I look forward to them, set time aside for them.

Yesterday we visited a wonderful Pick Your Own farm only fifteen minutes away, I can't believe I've never been there before. It has a farm shop and cafe, and field after field of fruit and veg to pick. I thought Bella and Angus might be bored but they absolutely loved it. All of it, seriously, I had to stop them picking everything there. And I discovered the wonder that is a Pick Your Own cutting garden; a large patch of dahlias, cosmos, cornflowers and sunflowers, and you cut as much as you like and pay by weight. One huge bunch of glorious dahlias cost me £1.22. I'm already planning when I can go back.

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On a separate note, I've been thinking about cameras a lot lately, about how I use mine in my life and here on this blog. It's pretty central to most of the things I do. I adore taking photographs and take far too many, every day, of anything and everything. I always - religiously - used to take my big DSLR out with me everywhere I went and used the photos I took on that camera here on my blog. The camera on my phone was always for Instagram and family photos and I just didn't think they were good enough quality to publish here. 

But, increasingly, I'm leaving my heavy "proper" camera at home and just using my phone for most photos taken out and about. Partly it's the weight of the DSLR, but mainly it's because the camera on my phone is really quite good. It was my sole basis for choosing the phone I did, in fact, a Samsung Galaxy. Five years ago, when I started blogging, you could really see the difference in quality between DSLR and a phone camera, but now I am struggling to tell the difference. I still use my DSLR for any photos taken around the house and garden at home, but I'm not ashamed of my phone photos any more. All the photos taken above at the Pick You Own Farm (except the two of me which were taken by my friend Rachel on her phone) were taken with my phone. I've edited them a very little, mainly just cropping, levelling horizons and a little tinkering with light or colour, but I think they hold their own. What do you think, can you discern much of a difference in quality?

18 comments:

  1. How lovely to have a place where you can pick fruit and flowers. They just don't do that in the desert, that I'm aware of. I think it's nice to have a jam-making routine in the year. Mine is based more on what's cheap at the store, which isn't nearly as nice. As for camera vs. phone photos, I do see some difference, like in the wider angle we get with camera photography, and sometimes the light acts different, sort of giving halos around objects, but in general, I think it works fine.

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  2. Like you, I have observed the difference between phone and "proper" cameras become nearly insignificant over the past years. O.K.'s phone takes better photos than my digital camera does! And as for the pictures on your blog - honestly, I just look at them and really like what I see anyway, no matter whether there are a few pixels more or less to the millimeter :-)

    Dahlias are so beautiful, aren't they! I love this time of year, too. The evening light at around 8:00 pm (in my area) is my absolute favourite. At no other time does it look so golden, so lovely.

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  3. The quality of the photos looks great to me. What a wonderful place that PYO is! How lovely to have such places you can visit.

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  4. I remember when DSLR came in and it was poor compared to SLR with film, now apart from retro point makers and enthusiasts people just use digital. To be honest if you are good I do not think you can tell the difference, my phone shots are terrible but I just point and shoot. Yours on the other hand are fine. Large true of over ripe toms going into production today...very exciting as we have only been in Somerset for two years and this is the first time I have got the greenhouse to really sing.

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  5. For true read trug, auto text is the cause of much bad language.

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  6. Absolutely love the picture of Bella in all of the flowers. I think it is really sweet, frame it. Its lovely!

    I would love to see the cake you make with the plums...! I have a tree of them.

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  7. How fabulous to be among so many gorgeous flowers and you've captured the occasion beautifully. It's a wonderful time of the year.
    I smiled at your blackberry photograph as I took one very similar myself just the other day for a blog post.
    BlackBerry jelly reminds me of when my mum used to make it using an upside down piano stool to strain it! It used to make the house smell amazing. X

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  8. the pictures are very good, I have been at a loss to know which camera to buy and searching for a good one, maybe I should be looking at phones!

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  9. Those Dahlias are wonderful Gillian.
    I use my phone for Instagram and my compact for blogging. I think my phone takes better photos but I love being able to zoom in with my compact. That's the only advantage I can think of.
    I really ought to have a go at bramble jelly as I love it.
    Jacquie x

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  10. Pick Your Own is a wonderful thing isn't it. Lovely photos. I feel lost without my DSLR, but I know what you mean about the weight. Lots of tomatoes in the garden here waiting to be turned into pasta sauce and frozen. A busy time in the kitchen. CJ xx

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  11. I no longer have a camera and like you, I have a Samsung Galaxy ecause pf the camera. So easy to use and edit that I find myself using it almost as a visual notebook. Love bramble/hedgerow jelly too. Lovely day out with the children showing them how tp choose food straight from where it has been grown. Catriona

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  12. Great cooking sessions with yummy results by the look of above and a PYO that also has flowers, now that is something. We've very few PYO here in Oz or farm shops for that matter. Your photos are always good, either phone or DSLR & I understand about the weight issue & still use my little Kodak camera when out & about too. I only have an old Samsung flip top mobile, which definitely doesn't take good photos. Have a lovely weekend & take care.

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  13. Wow, that PYO looks fantastic! All those flowers. I'd be in heaven. It's a lovely time of year, isn't it? Raspberry jam-making here and we're still clinging on to summer for a little while longer as it's so sunny and warm. All your photos look great, whether from phone or camera. I sometimes use the photos from my old iPhone but they're not fabulous quality so I try to use my camera for blog photos. All the photos on my IG are from my phone, though. These days, I think it's more about style and content than actual pixel quality – most phones are so similar to cameras. S x

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  14. Wow pick your own flowers, never seen places like that before. In my parents flower shop - many years ago back in Hants - they had a flower area. Dahlias and Chrysanthemum grew and we'd cut them fresh at customers request.
    Your photos all look lovely. Cathy x

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  15. Great pics Gillian. On the camera note, my phone camera has gradually surpassed the pixel grade of my digital camera and since loosing my hard drive last year along with my photo editing package I now mostly use my phone.

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