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12 Jan 2011 - 1:44 PM  UPDATED 6 Sep 2013 - 9:31 AM

Christmas. A whole leg of gammon (cured pork), poached with bay leaf and mace, then roasted in hay. Home-kill chooks. Rich, roasted eggplant with a concentrated tomato sauce. Incredible biscuits. Cherry trifle.

It did get hot for a couple of days, enough to get the pigs seeking a wallow. Enough to nearly melt the customers at Salamanca. Enough to get to the beach. But it’s raining again, now – though, in comparison with those poor folk in Queensland, this is drizzle. Welcome drizzle that is nourishing the grass in the paddocks. And there is grass in the paddocks. That could be thanks to consistent spring rain and the new bush block, and maybe my efforts in isolating and organically fertilising parcels of land.

The barn is full of hay. I’ve bought a new cow from a local dairyman. Another Jersey, though smaller in stature and paler in colour [than Maggie], I’ve called her Priscilla. She’s less flighty than Maggie, more used to being handled, perhaps, but just as bossy. She’s in calf, we believe, so there’s no milk at the moment, but there is the promise of some in a few months. Meanwhile, the orphaned calf, Bobby, is still being bucket fed. When calves suckle, they bash their mother’s udder with their nose to help let the milk down. When Bobby has been fed, and he wants more (he always wants more), he will aim at parts of your body with his head and give you a whack. It’s not the first day he’s almost taken me down. Sometimes from the back with a nuzzle to the back of the knee. Occasionally, with a well placed shot to the crotch. And if that doesn’t work, he trots in front of you as you walk around doing chores and trips you up. It’s all part of his natural instinct and urge to bond with us as we feed him. He’s fun and feisty and is loving the company Priscilla brings, but we are more like his mother come mealtimes.

Finally got on top of the weeds in the vegetable garden. Have had my first ever handful of raspberries grown in my own patch. There have been strawberries, too, and alpine strawberries where every fourth one tastes incredible. Wish I knew how to get them all to get that sherbety zing and fantastic aroma.

It’s cherry season. And Mary’s cherries from just up the road rate as good as any I’ve had. My hands look like a faith healer’s as I pit them for my son, and the road up to the house must be getting lined with stones as I spit them out the car window. Cherries astound me. They’ve defied so many attempts to get them to grow over a longer season, so there’s still this excited wait until the local signs go out for farm-gate sales. Then this joyous edible celebration of summer; we know the cherries will only last a month or a little more. It’s eating with the season, which supermarkets have had us try to forget, with everything available all year and fruit flown in from everywhere.

I read an interesting quote the other day where a farmer said that the fresh fruit and vegetable market was all about shelf-life and appearances. Perhaps he’s talking about the stuff he sells, not the stuff he’d like to eat.

Tasting a cherry that has travelled only as far as I carry it, on the day it was picked, is something else entirely.