Saturday, August 31, 2013

Medlars Newburgh North Fife

In keeping with the revival  of viable orchards in Newburgh North Fife a Medlar tree was planted.

The medlar was already being cultivated about three thousand years ago in the Caspian Sea region of northern Iran. It was introduced to Greece around 700 BC, and to Rome about 200 BC. It was an important fruit plant during Roman and medieval times. By the 17th and 18th century, however, it had been superseded by other fruits, and is little cultivated today. M. germanica pomes are one of the few fruits that become edible in winter, making it an important tree for gardeners who wish to have fruit available all year round. M. germanica plants can be grafted on to the rootstock of another species, for example the pear, quince, or hawthorn, to improve their performance in different soils.

Mespilus germanica fruits are hard, acidic, and high in bitter tannins. They become edible after being softened, 'bletted', by frost, or naturally in storage given sufficient time. Once softening begins the skin rapidly takes a wrinkled texture and turns dark brown, and the inside reduces to the consistency and flavour reminiscent of apple sauce. This process can confuse those new to medlars, as a softened fruit looks as if it has spoiled.

Medlar, ( Mespilus germanica ) Variety  " Nottingham"

A most famous reference to medlars, often bowdlerized until modern editions accepted it, appears in Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, when Mercutio laughs at Romeo's unrequited love for his mistress Rosaline (II, 1, 34-38):

        Now will he sit under a medlar tree,
        And wish his mistress were that kind of fruit
        As maids call medlars, when they laugh alone.
        O Romeo, that she were, O that she were
        An open-arse and thou a pop'rin pear!

In the 16th and 17th centuries, medlars were bawdily called "open-arses" because of the shape of the fruits, inspiring boisterous or humorously indecent puns in many Elizabethan and Jacobean plays.

Take them as they come, I suppose.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Blackberries Plums Newburgh North Fife

Yesterday in a Newburgh High Street garden it became obvious that this years Fruit sale will be of excellent quality and quantity if the profusion of this wee patch is anything to go by. A veritable temperate zone  garden of Eden.

This garden, part of the historic Newburgh Orchard is a little unkempt, what a wonderful outcome, brambles have grown up the plum trees displaying flowers earlier and now festooning fronds of delicious fruit. Such richness.

Boughs made pendulous with the weight of fruit making it easier to gather. A gatherers heaven.

Above is the garden bramble and below roadside, not so lush but just as tasty.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The River Tay August 27th 2013

Above The River Tay at Flisk North Fife. In the space of 5 minutes this was the sky. ever changing and quite spectacular. I was lured out by the sudden changing light. Moments in time captured, all impermanent of course.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The River Tay August 24th

The River Tay at Black Earnside.

Ah yes The River Tay.

                               The Silvery Tay
                               No longer,
                               More golden today.

Eat your heart out William

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Free Vegetables Newburgh North Fife

On a plot of land outside the Laing Museum that was once grass and another opposite on Hill Road altruistic persons have cultivated those plots, planting a wonderful variety of vegetables for the community to harvest as needs be for free.

Growing are lettuce, beetroot, cabbage, chard, kale. runner beans and sweetcorn interspersed with protective flowers.

A fabulous display and worth emulating in any town anywhere. On learning one could help oneself I benefited from a few leaves of the kale, chard, roots of beet and two corn on the cob.
A fantastic gesture that I hope catches on everywhere. It makes for a much better communities and world.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Newburgh Community Orchard North Fife

Entrance to the Orchard is located next to the car park adjacent to the school at the East end of Newburgh.

Newburgh Orchard Group (NOG)
its aims and history:

Until as late as 1960s, people living along the High Street sold fruit at their door.
Customers travelled annually at harvest time to buy a supply of plumbs, apples and pears for jam making and preserving for winter. This tradition was almost lost until NOG was founded in 2002.

The aim of NOG is to preserve, maintain and develop Newburgh's heritage as historic fruit growing area. This Community Orchard planted by NOG in 2004 is a resourse for school lessons. Used also for demonstrations of pruning, training and grafting fruit trees.
THe fruit in the Orchard can be picked by local people for their own use.

NOG activities include:

    Annual street fruit market.
    Jam making.
    Pruning/Grafting Workshops.
    Tree Survey.
    Heritage fruit and variety preservation.
    Apple pressing and juicing.

Newburgh continues to attract visitors to buy and enjoy the fruit and fruit produce.

Well worth a visit at harvest time.

 Variety, Discovery, one of my favourites. 

Plumbs, still green but a healthy crop.


Looks like a brilliant year, 


Friday, August 09, 2013

Herring Gulls North Fife

Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus)Here on this hill at BlackEarnside near Newburgh yesterday, many occupying a perch which seem to be favoured spots. The field often visited by flocks of other birds at different times of the year. Crows, Pinkfoot Geese, Starlings, always this field, there must be something about it that I can't fathom.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Tayview 7th August 2013

Tayview August 7th. Each day as I drive the road to and from Newburgh I'm presented with views such as this. There is a lay-by where one can park and enjoy and many people do.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Oats North Fife

Oats, of the cereal crops grown in north fife, oats form the smallest percentage. This field to my eye looked of excellent quality, we've had weeks of good sunshine to ripen the grains. Already spring sown barley is being harvested and the straw baled. There's nothing quite like sowing oats.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Tayview July 31st

Tayview July 31st. Low water exposing sand banks on this glorious sunny day, millpond calm. I particularly like the shimmering light surrounding Mugdrum Island and Islets, the rich coloured quickly ripening barley in the foreground and what you can't see, the wonderful warmth from the sun.

These waters once provided rich pickings in wild salmon and sea trout, no longer netted, the rights having been bought by fly fishing interests up stream where huge sums are charged to fly fish. Often the salmon are returned, the angler having enjoyed the adrenalin rush of fighting a wild creature. I can see little point in causing such distress for pleasure. It takes all sorts.
The river abounds in Sparling, Eels and immature Cod, flatfish, all of which are no longer harvested. As an omnivorous being I miss the bounty the river could provide. I enjoy to look at it though. Today quite tranquil.