Sloely does it

© Spirits Beacon Wait til they’ve gorn black before tweeking from stems

Up in North London where slugs have had a bonza year but the voles seem few and far between, it’s been a mixed nosebag, too, for the early risers. Too late for Haylage, Hay’s been lumped rather than baled for some reason and mounds lounge carelessly for anyone to settle into for a read in the rising sun.*

Unlike Elderflowers whose pollen benefits from a full day’s sun before picking, elderberries, redcurrants and cherries are most succulent after a drench by dew and before the sun has winked, warming their fruity boughs.

A complete washout for Blackberries; have you noticed? Ush. No bramble jelly this year alas. However … and this is the point … sloes are having something of prodigal return to favour. Previous couple of years were somewhat lean. But, but, but: suddenly great fat blackthorn berries burst out in the joy of last week’s Indian Summer.

With so much gristle on our plates with narry a crust to mask the grinding nature of getting through the next six months, it is really heartening to be reminded that so long as we can just hang in there, there’s hope for better. We can and will get through the testing times ahead. Sloes can do it: so can we.

* But this morning was the start of what is going to be a long, long … long haul to careless, cheerful Spring 2022. Dank and howling, crackling leaves dropped by age, crispend by warmth are soggy markers, reminding one that if we are to persist through and vanquish what lies ahead, compassion is going to be a strong weapon in the armoury of endurance. Remember: each thing gives birth to itself. Kindness builds muscles for kindness.

Sloe to catch on


Image                                                                       Frosties. They’re great

Sloes fruited early this year, mebbie in virtue of a soggy-ish summer? Blackthorn berries plumped themselves by mid-September perhaps sensing first frosts would come too late for creating a Warmer in time for Midnight Mass returners?

[You know suggestions for making sloe gin involve notions of waiting for the first frost before picking and pricking?  Course you do.]            Well now, thems were the days before temperatures began their inexorable rise. A last Saturday in November dawns on the first hard frost I’ve seen which, had purists stuck to the recipe, would leave insufficient time for the sloes to transform the Gin into gorgeously fruitful liquor.

It’s bound to be a different story beyond the Capital but still, it does seem late and points to something, drattedly, beyond capture.

How does the animal world accommodate the radical changes the human world causes? How do animals comprehend interference with their networks – whales getting lost, birds displacing themselves, jellyfish sunning themselves in Ireland? For a catalogue of cases of animals confused by radio/satellite technology, refer to your newspaper/radio/device-thing.

It not possible to confuse a thing which lacks the equipment to be confused.

The inter-connectedness of creation mandates acting with respectful, compassionate responsibility in what we produce, use and its disposal. Why is that so difficult to grasp? If we can’t stretch our minds to understand Life is consciousness and consciousness is sentient, then we don’t deserve Earth’s bounteous fruits.