A personal diary about life in a country town, Bungendore NSW Australia

  3 January 2004

Left: red and white currants, top: Half the sour cherries waiting for jam, below: beautiful close-up currants - there's more pics, heaps.
"Life is just a bowl of ...Allbran, you wake up every morning and it's there"

Those are the opening lines of the final song from the Small Faces 1968 album "Ogdens Nut Gone Flake". It's an album still played at my place, it's on vinyl, and the original circular die-cut cover is now in a few pieces but it's a pop classic with profound lyrics like the one above.

Ok, not profound - it's a pop album after all, with a clever twist on the expected bowl of cherries but almost certainly, as one reviewer said, the only reference to 'Allbran' in a pop song. I toyed with opening this entry with a line from a song by Michelle Shocked. On her CD "Arkansas Traveller" there is a song called 'Strawberry Jam' that she recorded with Doc Watson. It's really about making your own music instead of always leaving it to professionals, just as making home made jam is better. Which is where this is all leading.

The sour cherries were ripe, on Boxing Day I picked two buckets in the hot sun (and you can't stick your head into a tree with a hat on) and daughter Aurore, visiting for the holidays, helped my pip the sticky sour mound of fruit. They're ready for the only jam I've made that we ever run out of. I wrote about it last year in a Diary entry here (scroll down to the bottom of that page). Just rereading that made me realize that it's a 'Christmas time fruit' give or take a couple of weeks. Making jam in the heat of summer sucks, so I've frozen the pitted fruit and I'll tackle it when it's cool.

I'm always aware of the huge quantities of sugar that jam making requires (I've even tried using honey but you need huge amounts of that as well.) Sugar is cheaper and in this case, the sourness of the cherries cuts through all that sugar. If I had to choose one variety of jam for my winter toast, I'd pick the sour cherry.

The fruit in the big photo are red and white currants. There were not enough of them to do much more than eat them fresh, this is the first year they've cropped and the bushes are young. They're sour too and the pips are big inside but they are so pretty to look at I didn't really care about having enough of them to cook. I just spent some time taking photos of the handfuls I picked. The translucent glow of light through them from the bottom of the closed kitchen blind blocking a hot afternoon sun, prompted me to do the same the next day. There's a strong sense in those photographs (at least to me), of how amazingly beautiful 'nature' is and I know how lucky I am to be here with space for a garden.

I'll stop now before I get soppy. I can't help it, after all it's country Life and I wake up every morning and it's there.

The small sour cherry tree must have liked the wet spring and hot December, there was lots of perfect (the birds and bugs don't like them much) ripe fruit.

Also round and almost perfect 60s psychedelic R&B pop. There's more of the cover art here. I used this album in the first editorial I wrote for MM magazine.

  Fred Harden 2003 <thinktag> After a few days, these entries are added to the Archive Menu

Bungendore Country Diary by Fred Harden