Sunday, October 10, 2010

All is safely gathered in

It's the time of year when squirrels are hoarding nuts, when jays are burying acorns, and when I gather up the harvest. There's something instinctive about hoarding food before the harsh winter arrives. It sits deep in the psyche.

I have a book by Victor Osborne, called 'Digger's Diary', about a year in the life of an allotment-holder. Osborne frequently refers to his ‘Inner Saxon Peasant' or ISP. The Inner Saxon Peasant is the one which burst forth when I see the potatoes being ravaged by blight, when the pigeons take out the tops of the newly planted cabbages, when the carrot root fly reduces the carrot harvest to a 3D maze of holes. We’re lucky to be in the position of having our allotment as a hobby. We won’t starve if the caterpillars eat our kale. But the Inner Saxon Peasant fears the beasts that eat its produce.

And so it is good to appease the Inner Saxon Peasant and lay down a good store. Despite the wet summer here, it wasn’t warm enough for blight to strike, so this year, thankfully, I wasn’t digging up putrid potato tubers. We do have some wireworm damage but I’m not sure how extensive it is.

The ISP is particularly pleased with my attempts at preserving. I’ve made jam before but never so extensively, and I’ve supplemented the jam with mincemeat, fruit cordial and chutney.

IMG_6939 But the real success which means that my ISP is happy to move towards the long days of winter is the food that stores itself. The pumpkins and squashes have been making a bid to take over the whole allotment site over the past couple of months, but they have provided us with food in handy hard cases. The ‘Crown Prince’ squashes should last until early spring.

IMG_7117

IMG_7136 Comforting autumn and winter food. My Inner Saxon Peasant approves.

16 comments:

chaiselongue said...

What beautiful pumpkins and squashes (I'm not sure of the difference) - are those really all yours? The Inner Saxon Peasant won't go hungry this winter, anyway!

Arabella Sock said...

A lovely display! I hope you realise that it is entirely the fault of people like you pimping their preserves that I have spent the last hours puckering my fingers peeling shallots for confiture! At least now I know I am appeasing my inner Saxon!

Belinda said...

Inner Saxon peasant - I know that feeling so well, and now I have a name for it! Might have to get the book.Belinda x

Liz said...

Wow, you have been busy growing plenty of food!

Mmmm I have a sudden urge to eat lots of soup...

HappyMouffetard said...

Hi Chaiselongue, yes - pumpkins all round this winter. It may stretch my imagination on recipes... I'm not sure of the difference, either. I work on the assumption that a pumpkin is orange and a squash isn't. I'm sure there's more to it than that, though.

Arabella, I currently have a pile of shallots that I haven't done anything with as I can't face peeling them. You're brave. Can you come and peel mine?

Belinds - thanks for visiting. The book is an easy read, but the ISP really stuck in my mind.

Liz, yes - 101 recipes for pumpkin soup will be a future blog entry, I think!

The Gentleman Administrator said...

Wow! What a bounty of squashes. My attempts have always ended in failure and I eat quite a lot of them most of the year round. Must try harder.

Love the idea of Inner Saxon Peasant.. he he.

Meredehuit ♥ said...

Such a bounteous harvest... now don't you feel good?

Joanne said...

Hi HM What a great harvest you have and thank you for popping by and enquiring aftyer me.

I seem to have been so sucked in to what is going on with Lyme these days and busy doing my Looking at Lyme Disease blog that I just can't keep up with garden blogs although I have the occassional peep when i pass them on my Dashboard.

As to the garden I am slowly catching up but not with the garden blog.

One day I will get back to garden blogging when the world sees sense and starts listening to the research and patients stop falling through the cracks of our medical systems who are being mislead by the archache guidelines.

elizabethm said...

Fantastic squash. We have the best so far here this year but not on that scale. I love the Crown Prince. I also love the idea of the ISP. Mine is very near the surface up here.

Kate said...

I'm impressed that you make chutney. I'll bet it's quite yummy. You're definitely earning your Saxon stripes. :)

Plant Mad Nige said...

Now that is impressive - such tumble of cucurbits, not to mention all the other stuff - and glorious pictures. Not sure the anglo saxons would have known what to make of such New World things as pumpkins, but I know what you mean.

I was saddened to hear, on BBC Radio 4's Farming Today, the man who has 500 acres - yes, 500 - of pumpkins explaining that most of them were just carved into Jack 'O Lanterns, rather than used for food. That's well wrong, isn't it?
Nigel

Juliet said...

Mmmm .... I don't think I have an urge to hoard, but I'm certainly getting hungry - not sure whether that's my ISP or your pictures though :)

Are you not celebrating LAPCPADPOUB day this year?!

Janet/Plantaliscious said...

Glorious pics of glorious squash, I'm jealous - I grow in pots. Tried butternut in large pots. They took over the patio. And thank you for reminding me that I need to get on with the mincemeat...

HappyMouffetard said...

Thanks for all your comments - the ISP is obviously experienced by many people!

Juliet - I'm not sure I wouldn't be thrown off the internet if I organised another LAPCPADPOUB day!

HappyMouffetard said...
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Anna said...

What a treasure trove of pumpkins and squashes HM ~ I am glad that you have gathered them safely in as the temperature is definitely plummeting. Want to know the secret of your success. I will never look on the initials ISP in the same light again :)