We came home to find that all the Valencia oranges had been picked. In one clean swoop, the thieves did not only take a complete crop of Valencias, but also a year’s work of feeding and caring; and the ‘sweet-orange’ and ‘three-fruit’ marmalade for this year. After investigating the weakness in the security, we discovered that the agile thieves had entered over conduit-pipes housing the electrical supply cables which cross over the canal.
The solution will be to wrap barbed wire around the conduits, although I do not like the idea because of the unfitting visual impact it will have. The thought of all the precious organic orange peels lying somewhere next to a road is like barbed-wire for my soul. I decided I would rather have the barbed-wire around the conduit-pipes than in my soul, in future.
The early morning was shrouded in mist and the promise of a beautiful day was just beyond the grey. It was the perfect day to finish the last major task of winter, that of composting the garden. While Fungai was carefully spreading the compost in the rosarium to avoid damaging the new growth, I decided to shape the Valencia tree.
As if to make up for its loss of fruit, the whole tree was covered with new growth. After shaping the tree and cutting out the snail damage, I felt better about the tree and the barbed-wire thoughts were replaced by the promise of a new season.
All the daffodils are now open and their sunny yellow faces lifted my spirits. All the peach trees and the almond tree are covered in blossoms and the whole orchard is coming alive. Everywhere there are signs of new growth; from the French tarragon on the ground, to the elderflower above the rosemary.
I sliced the naartjie (tangerine) peel into neat strips, and decided to dry them on the loft in the old fashioned way instead of in the oven. The bright orange-coloured strips are just one more thing to look forward too when preparing summer meals with real traditional Cape ingredients. Maybe next year there will be enough naartjies to make our own Van der Hum liqueur.
The last harvest of peas provided us with the ingredients for a summery salad for lunch on a balmy afternoon.
A slice of traditional milk tart with tea helped dispel lingering negative thoughts of loss while happiness was restored with each bite of the perfectly flaky-crust and soft sweet centre.