Sloe Gin Time Again

Close up of sloes, gin and sugar in a kilner jar

It all started with a malfunctioning clutch, a breakdown truck and a disused railway line. When my car was towed away out of sight, I decided to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine and walk home along the old railway line.

And that’s when I saw them – the blackthorn bushes either side of the track, dripping with sloes. Ripe and plump and ready to pick. A bumper harvest of blue-black, powdery drupes, just waiting there patiently, ready for their turn in the gin-bottling limelight.

The next day, I was back and ready for a spot of foraging. Rule number 1 for foraging: make sure you know what you are picking! Rule number 2 – leave behind enough for wildlife and...

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Season of Muddy Dog and Mellow Fruitfulness

The Weatherstaff PlantingPlanner blog - sloes in the hedgerow

It was a glorious autumn morning, the sun streaming low across the harvested field, the dog charging off to chase crows and investigate rabbit smells.

The dog is Marnie, our inquisitive, excitable, two year old Golden Retriever. One of the great advantages of working from home is being able to stride across the fields with her, before starting on the day’s work.

We clambered over a stile and into the next field. More accurately, I clambered over the stile. Marnie doesn’t do stiles. She adopts her bewildered “But you surely can’t expect me to jump over that?” expression, then goes off to scout out an alternative route.

The heavy rain of the previous night and the recently ploughed field were...

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