Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The paidal marg to Mukteshwar

It is where I go for the ATM, for the post office, for chicken and veg.
And it is an extremely pretty road. From where we live now, there and back is an easy six km walk. From Chatola, we need to add a steep climb of another km or so.

This is where the path starts - a right turn from the handpump.

And this  is what it  looks like, more or less. Part of it is paved like the photo below, part if  it is a series of steps formed by tree roots.

The views are lovely- this is the sun shining through maple

And this is a massive rhododendron tree

Coming out of the forest is a bit of a shock , but  still pretty

On to the tarred road, a left turn, and another 3/4th of a km to the church..and I can stop here, or go on to buy veggies.
I am lucky to have such a pretty walk- I need to do it more often

Friday, May 3, 2013

Preserving Padam, or the wild Himalayan Cherry

I am miserly enough that I cannot let fruit spoil on the trees. And the sour cherries (Padam, as they are known locally) were definitely spoiling. They are bitter-sour enough that even the birds are not too fond of them, let alone the humans. And so Shona and I have taken it upon ourselves to harvest and use as many of the cherries as possible.

I don't have very good luck with preserving things though; my pickles invariably mould. Freezing is an option, and I know Mian is clamouring for frozen sour cherries. But we had tried that last time with mulberries. The day we found two mulberry trees in Chatola, Shona and I gorged ourselves. The next day though, my wifely instincts took over. While I still let Shona-Bhaloo eat all the mulberries that fell on the ground, I carefully picked over, cleaned, and froze the 'good' ones. After a week of patience and self-restraint, I collected two cups full. And then the electricity went out for 3 straight days. The mulberries turned to slime and my enthusiasm for freezing died.

This time, I am relying on old, appropriate-technology methods. I came across 'Bachelor's Jam' which seems to be a very laid-back process which relies on the principle that everything is better with sugar and alcohol added. Clearly,  it was tailored for me. It's been 3 days of collecting and pitting. There's no rum or brandy in the house, so I am using whisky. But fruit, sugar, alcohol- just how wrong can it be?  And now I have a jam-jar full.

The paper clip in front of the jar? That's my cherry-pitting tool.