I discovered bushes and bushes (or are they trees?) of sloes the other day when I took Chewie, our standard sized dachshund, for a walk. Normally Pumpjack is the designated walker. It helps keep things routine orientated for our Chewie, as that is his preferred method. He likes walks at almost the exact same time each day. (We truly wonder if he is able to read clocks.) And he likes his walks in a certain order so he can follow his, or other dogs, trails and see what every one has been up to.
For various reasons, every now and then, we switch it up and I take Chewie out. Ultimately he is happy to simply be going for a walk. He would go out every 5 minutes if he had the choice. When it is he and I, I can tell by his looks that I am not taking him the way he is used to. On the bonus side, there are all those new smells. On the minus side, I have a habit of fitting in other chores: post office, shops, foraging… .
With Pumpjack’s Mum visiting, I had the opportunity to walk Chewie more often than normal. This worked out perfectly for me as it is blackberry season and the hedges are laden with fruit. Earlier this week, in search of new blackberry areas we walked yet a different way. There is a beautiful ‘promenade’ path that runs through our village, and right below our property. In fact it is this easy access to a wooded path on our doorstep which was a major factor in choosing our new home.
We did a loop up through the village and down the path. Almost as soon as we were on the path I saw these little plum like fruits. I didn’t recognise them at first, but had a good guess that they were sloes. The trees arched over the path, dangling these dark blue fruits (think large blueberry) above my head. As I already had 2 containers with me for berry picking, I simply used one to collect the sloes until I had a full container.
Three donkeys in the field by the path came to say hello and reach out for their share as well. If I seemed to be putting more than my share in my container, a little head butt soon put me right.
The sloes are now washed, dried and put into the freezer, ready for when I am ready to make sloe gin. Or maybe sloe whiskey, jam or sorbet. Or maybe all of them. And it must definitely be my turn to take Chewie for a walk again, containers in hand.