Saturday, December 17, 2011
Cherries are an early Christmas present in the antipodes - their colour is a cheer - their sweetness something between a fruit and a perfume. Our Stella is only five years old - we have had it in the ground for three. Even the first year after a dry Spring we had cherries. Just a handful. Mark harvested that first fruit on his knees.
This year the rains have come after an absence of ten or more years. Some children have be born into this testy climate, never knowing until now a Spring downpour or Summer storm. And Winter rain? Winter what? No-one has carried umbrellas for years. No-one owns a raincoat anymore. We had a collie dog who looked a her first rain with utter amazement. Good rains have meant plump, rosy fruit and plenty. We netted the trees and still the birds got some. It is their due and hey, we are happy to share. My friend Jan looked at our little orchard - the trees each neatly under nets and called them ghost trees. To me they are upside-down skirts. To the dogs they are curious and require peeing on.
In this corner of the country cherries are the season's first stone fruit. They flag the early days of advent and the end of exams. Nothing says Summer quite like sitting on the verandah, spitting cherry pits and idling away an afternoon.