Preserving fruit & the Blessing of the Cottage

One of the enjoyable pursuits over summer is the bottling of fresh fruit, using the great Australian institution of Fowler’s Vacola method and associated equipment. While I have not been successful at growing fruit trees at Nyroca Camp, there are ample supplies of a great variety of high quality fruits from Cynthia and Errol Letton’s orchard at Coomunga. Apricots are the first to be done of course, with plums, peaches and pears to follow. And one doesn’t have to be a master craftsman to achieve a good result. However it’s the careful packing of the fruit in the jars which is the most technical – and sadly I always have an inch or two of liquid at the bottom of the jar, when the fruit has settled – which would disqualify me from first prize at the Cummins Show! But to have a year-long supply of preserved fruit in the larder adds to one’s quest for sustainable living, and maintaining a quiet and happy life in a rusticated setting.

It is important for an institution such as Nyroca – which serves the community not only for social functions, but also for overnight campers and ‘grey nomad’ travellers and the like – to call upon every available source of support. To that end a little ceremony was recently held at the camp whereby the Rev Brian Bascombe blessed the Nyroca Cottage – ‘and all those who reside in it’. Mounted on the front of the cottage is a quote attributed to Pastor Clamor Schurmann one of Port Lincoln’s pioneer Lutheran ministers, (who did great work with the local Aboriginal people, and made a significant impact on the early development of the town). He made the following observation when referring to Port Lincoln: ‘A pleasant and attractive place of residence for a lover of Nature’s beauty and rural tranquility’ and to that end the Rev Bascombe unveiled the plaque carrying Schurmann’s beautiful quote – but this time attributing it to Nyroca.

During spring of course, there is an opportunity for hens to do what comes naturally to them, but I’ve had a couple of failures unfortunately, but the other day there was a great surprise – a proud Plymouth Rock materialised from nowhere, with a clutch of 15 day old chickens. She had obviously been sitting on eggs under a bush or shrub, and the great mystery of life developing beneath her in its own wonderful way.


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