Monday, November 21, 2011

Cordially invited!

Frothy masses of creamy white florets on the elder in the garden got Ms Tagalong musing nostalgically and reminiscing. Warm, balmy evenings sat outside in the deepening twilight sipping elderflower cordial and thinkging of that endless summer! Of course it might not have been quite like that. Not too many balmy evenings in Old Blighty really and Ms Tagalong only ever made elderflower cordial once. But,undeterred, she looked in her old recipe file and sure enough found a recipe which a friend's mother had given her.

Ms Glamourpuss and Ms Tagalong harvested some frothy blooms this weekend. Actually Ms Tagalong is not sure why Ms Mova was so keen on the elder. Possibly she was hoping for a good show of elderberries to make some elderberry wine; perhaps the cordial will curtail her plans somewhat.

But, following the recipe and proportionally changing the ingredients, a whole litre bottle of elderflower cordial is now in the fridge awaiting fellow gardeners' approval at our next get together. Served chilled with a twist of lemon or lime it really will be refreshing on one of those dog day afternoons we seem to have had recently.

1.5 kg granulated sugar
1 litre water
15 elderflower heads
2 lemons
2 limes (I used all lemons)
2 teaspoons of tartaric acid (I used cream of tartar)

Put sugar and water in a large saucepan and dissolve sugar.
Bring the liquid to the boil
Drop in the flower heads and bring back to the boil
Put the fruit slices in a bowl with the tartaric acid and pour on the syrup and flowers.
Stir well, cover loosely and steep for 24 hours.

This will keep for 2-3 months or longer if refrigerated.

Talk about cordially uninvited, this evening Ms Tagalong was inspecting the alarming proliferation of yellow and black ladybirds on the zucchini. Ms Renovator joined her and together they collected some in a jar. "We don't want them to eat all the eggplant like those other ones did last year," said Ms Renovator and Ms Tagalong tried vainly to feed them to the ladies. They looked curiously at them crawling over the jar lid but were not in a bit interested. Ms Tagalong vowed to look them up and see what organic methods there were of control. Ha! She will now have to go and let them out of the bottle onto the plants again.

The yellow spotted ladybird is actually a kind predator, feeding on fungus. Looking at the amount of powdery mildew on the zucchini this is actually their dinner, breakfast and lunch. So fellow waterers, just beware watering leaves in the evening and hopefully this will reduce thanks to the wonderful ministrations of both the adult and larva stage of this pretty ladybird. If however, you see one of those pale orange 26 or 28 spotted ones you will need no permission to squash it without ceremony. They will eat the plants and destroy our eggplants!

And if you think that no post is complete without a mention of the ladies, you would be right! This week Ms Mova was sent a link by a friend to a 'chook cam'. Mr Ideasman, somewhat cynically Ms Tagalong felt, said that this could be anywhere, the real chickens who produce the eggs are in a huge shed! Check it out and see what you think! Mmm maybe a webcam for our chicken coop?

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