Thursday, June 14, 2007


It is official. That's right, the rainy season has finally arrived. Basically what the rainy season means is that it rains on and off all day for a few weeks with nice warm patches in between - perfect weather for weeds, but not so great for getting washing dried!
While the rain is here I am trying to make lots of jam and generally tidy up around the place while making outings to the garden to collect the large number of zucchinis and tomatoes that are starting to appear. The cucumbers are also starting to take off so anyone in need of cucumbers please let me know!
The major effort in the kitchen at the moment is loquat jam.... Before I came to Japan I never even knew what a loquat was, but I am now becoming an expert. They are kind of like a watery apricot, but with skins that you can't eat. They also have at least 2 large stones in each one which means making a pot of loquat jam is not the fastest thing in the world! By the time I have skinned and stoned them all the amount of actual fruit is minimal, but it is worth it. This year I have made two kinds of jam with loquats - one mixed with dried apricots (my personal favorite) and this year I also made loquat jelly - even less return on the fruit, but no need to skin them.....
I guess I should have read a little more about loquats before I started out this year. The one main thing I learnt (first through practice and then confirmed by research) is that loquats stain your hands so you should wear gloves when processing them. I guess the stains will disappear eventually!

Today we had another nice surprise when we found yet another bee swarm under the bridge by our house. I don't think it is from one of our hives, but it was definately an easy one to take off! I think we are trying to find a different owner for this batch though as my husband has given up making hives for this year. I hope it is not a sign of more earthquakes to come......

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