It may seem very premature to be wishing folk a Happy New year but since we moved to Hungary and started living the good life the arbitrary celebration of the passing of a date in a calendar seems increasingly out of place! December 31st or January 1st for that matter represents just another day in the middle of winter, we have not been sitting around since August Bank Holiday awaiting our next statutory break from work, we have had our feet up for a couple of months and our plans for next year already pretty firm. We celebrate our own little New Year when the final crops are collected, we have planted up our Garlic for next year and the land is prepared for a new season, for us the passing of time has defniately become cyclical as opposed to linear. It is a truely magical way of life, not without its own challenges and frustrations but being a slave to mother nature is infinately more rewarding than being a slave to statutory holidays, overtime, an office desk and mobile phone!
Mother nature has been exceedingly kind to us this year and we experienced far fewer difficulties than we did the previous year when we lost most of our tomato and potato crops to blight. This year we managed to harvest in excess of 500kg of vegetables including some 200kg of tomatoes and 150kg of potatoes, now many would say what on earth do you do with 200kg of tomatoes? We on the other hand are keeping our fingers crossed that it is enough, it takes 4kg just to make 1.5litres of tomato ketchup which is an essential part of the morning egg buttie ritual not to mention a key ingredient in sweet and sour sauce! Freezer space is now at a premium and we are stuffed with frozen strawberries for a taste of summer in the depths of winter, lord knows how many litres of tomato pasatta and enough curry sauce to provide us with plenty of take away curries (well as close as we can get anyway) throughout the long cold months. The year has not been without disappointments, after a storming year in 2010 for all things capsicum this year has been terrible, none of the seeds in the polytunnel really took and by the time they did the growing season was over and our sweetcorn developed an ugly and ultimately fatal fungal disease, but other than that we will be eating from our own produce well into next years growing season.
It’s not just the vegetables that did well this year, our fruit harvest was also a bit of a stunner, we did not really take full advantage of our plums and cherries but the 70kg of Strawberries really went down a treat. Now with all this fruit we could easily consume our “five a day” but where would the fun be in that? We do regular exercise, get lots of fresh air and eat exceptionally well so, there can be no harm in producing the odd bit of plonk to cross over to the naughty side 😉 So we may have produced a little more than the odd drop but the Elderflower Champagne back in spring went down a storm and I am currently enjoying the happy accident that is Strawberry Champagne whilst Julie is supping some homebrew Scrumpy. Still to savour we have Cherry wine which will be good to go around Christmas which was fantastic a coulple of years ago and just to be a little traditionalist we also have a “few” litres of Red Grape Wine which should be drinkable around next March.
As the rest of the world eagerly awaits an appropriate time to celebrate new year I will raise a glass of strawberry champagne and wish you all a Happy New Year and I will get on with working out our next rotation of crops… Best get a move on though, I have only 4 months to get it finished 😉