Tag Archives: pears

T.i.c.k. t.o.c.k.

For the first time this year I have slipped in to the zone of a ‘Slow Watch’.

My stay here may only last 24 hours 😉 but I intend to luxuriate in every nano second of it :

doors wide open to gentle breeze, soft sun, and cicada song;

table full- laden with gifts from friends and garden;

Gifts of garden and friends

Gifts from garden and friends

the noisy, bustling,  tilted world  of recent weeks,




restrained, then replaced by sweet moments

Sweet bites

Sweet bites

of the rightful order of a steady, subtlety silent, tick by tock.

The Rightful Order

The Rightful Order

With thanks to Nath at Beautycalypse for introducing me to the reframing of time via the Slow Watch.



© silkannthreades


Take one box

Take one box Take one box

Take one box (take 2)Take one box (take 2)Take one box (take 3)Take one box (take 3)Take 4Take 4Take five Take 5-ishTake a key

Take another lookAnother lookPenultimatePenultimateFinal take? Final take?Boxes, chests, travelling trunks, cartons, suitcases……these containers for possessions, precious and plain, have been part of my family’s life and history for generations. They have traversed the world with us, and then some.  For as long as I can remember, boxes/trunks/chests have been as integral to my living spaces as the kitchen sink. Unlike the kitchen sink, I love them.

On 20th June, the UNHCR asked us, the people of the world, to consider, as part of World Refugee Day, what one thing we would take with us, if we had one minute to flee our homes. http://unhcr.org/1family/   The question is difficult to answer, and, of course, there is no, single correct answer.  I don’t know what one thing I would take. When we  fled our home after the big earthquake  in February 2011, I took my laptop, my mobile phone, my handbag, which happened to have cash, credit cards, passports and medications in it at the time, a bit of food, and a handful of clothing.  And the keys to the house.  ( I have heard it said that people fleeing will often take the keys to their house even though the house may have been lost; and/or  the owners have no idea when they will be returning ) As you can see that’s more than one thing!  But I had more than a minute to think about what to take 🙂   However, I will say that, out of all the things I took away with us that day, the one thing that turned out to be the most valuable  was  knowledge. The knowledge that boxes and belongings are non-essentials. When it really matters I know how to let them go.

© silkannthreades

What did I do with the medlars?

So, what did I do with the medlars? In my previous post on medlars, I left you with a hint of my intentions. Here is the hint, again, in this photo. Time for the next stepHere’s another hint; it involves a little time, plus pears, medlars, sugar, lemon, water, plate, spoon, pot, stove top, bowls, frying pan, a strainer, and absolutely no autumn leaves. Their purpose in the photo was decorative only.  So, yes, you guessed it. I made medlar pear jelly. Actually, more pear than medlar because I had 3 pears to brew, and only 2 medlars.

I chopped and chunked the fruit, skin and all; placed it in a small pot with a quarter of a lemon, skin and all; barely covered the fruit with water and, then, had a merry boil-up, till the fruit was soft. Next the contents of the pot were sieved through a cheese cloth . More shoved than sieved because I am not patient with jelly making and rarely do the proper thing, which is to let the fruit liquid seep very, very slowly through the cheese cloth into a container.

The end result was a lovely, pale amber extraction which made me think of mead, or honey wine. It didn’t taste like mead;  it did taste like soft, sweet pear juice, flavoured with a drop of medlar  essence and a squeeze of lemon.

The next stage was to take one cup of the juice, a quarter cup of lemon juice and one and a quarter cups of sugar and boil the mixture until it jellied ie until a small splodge of it set freely on a cold plate. I like to make jelly, or jam, in small quantities and in a small frying pan, as I find that I get a quicker set that way.  And here is the result; three small bowls of golden jelly, ever so firm and smooth and subtlely  pear-ish, spiced with the lightest touch of medlar. Would you like some? It is scrumptious on toast.

Don’t mind if I do! Jelly with Mead would be nice, thank you.

Footnote: Mead, like the medlar, has a long history. Mead has ancient origins throughout Africa, Asia and Europe and, most likely, pre-dates culitvation of the soil. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mead  Cats have  an ancient history too 🙂

© silkannthreades

Mothers, near and far…

To Mothers, near and far,
May you be loved and blessed, remembered and embraced,
And comforted, always.Mother's Day OfferingIn my posy ring, for you, I have placed lavender, heuchera, Mexican orange blossom and feijoa leaves, all freshly picked from my garden on this chilly autumn morning. The fruit baskets contain Taylor’s Gold Pears and Satsuma Mandarins ( not from my garden 🙂 )Posy Ring

The oldest exotic tree

Yesterday I poached pears and made a pear cake using pears from my neighbour’s tree. Pears without peach and plum

With my mouth and my mind very involved with pears, I decided that, today, I would visit the oldest exotic tree in Christchurch, and that tree happens to be a pear tree.

Here it is; the French Durondeau Pear tree planted in 1846.Durondeau Pear 1846

It was planted by the Deans brothers in their flourishing orchard in the grounds of Riccarton House. Only, at that time, there was no Riccarton House, just the Deans Cottage which was built in 1843.  The Deans supplied fruit and vegetables and young trees to the main body of settlers who arrived in 1850.

I find it hard to believe that the Durondeau is so old. Not only older than other exotic trees but older than most of our buildings.  To my eyes, it remains vigorous and strong.  Looking good

It still bears fruit.Pears in a pear tree I picked up one of the free fall pears.  I hope it will ripen. I am curious to know what it will taste like. Many of the other trees planted by the Deans, including John’s wife, Jane,  are still flourishing and are now notable and protected trees.Care for the Trees please

The story of John and Jane Deans is a lovely, but sad, one for Valentine’s Day. They met in Scotland prior to 1841 near Jane’s family home at Auchenflower. John came to New Zealand in 1842. Ten years later he returned to Scotland to marry Jane at  Riccarton, Ayrshire, Scotland. They left Scotland in October 1852 and arrived in Lyttelton, New Zealand, in February 1853. Jane gave birth to their only child in August 1853. Her husband John, died in June 1854.  Jane could have returned to Scotland but she stayed on, and with support from her family, continued to develop Riccarton house and farm and carry out her husband’s wishes for the preservation of Riccarton Bush. She was a remarkable woman. http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/1d6/deans-jane

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The appearance of pears

I came home this afternoon to find a bag of pears had appeared on my doorstep, courtesy of my good neighbours who have a pear tree, but don’t much care for pears. Not in their uncooked state, anyway. These are the first pears of the new season.First appearance of the Season

They look ,and are, slightly scruffy and diseased but their less than perfect appearance belies their delicious flavour, once they have been allowed to ripen and sweeten in storage.

Last year, my neighbours kept me well supplied with pears and I kept them busy tasting all my pear inspired baking and jam making. I think, maybe, just maybe, I managed to persuade them to grow a little fonder of pears.

Here’s a photo of my Upside Down Pear Cake from last season’s pears, alongside my neighbours’ first offering of this season’s pears.  Cake appears from Pears

© silkannthreades