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Making Chutneys, Leaves & Listen to your doctor!

Making Chutneys

The house has that wonderful vinegary, spicy smell at the moment. We were given a sack of  Kent cooking apples by a friend and Val’s moved into preserving mode. She made some apple crumbles, one for us and one for a present to our neighbours who are forever popping in with cakes for a cuppa.

After a scout through the cupboards and the recipe books she came up with a chutney recipe. If it tastes as good as it smells now, it’ll be a winner. You’re never sure until they’ve had a few months to mature. It’s similar to this apple chutney recipe

Her next creations were an apple and ginger jelly and an apple and rosemary jelly. The apple and ginger would have been as this apple jelly recipe but she couldn’t find a cinnamon stick.

We’ve still apples left and they’ll store a while, so I’m looking forward to more seasonal treats like this classic baked stuffed apple recipe.


The leaves are starting to fall, can’t really believe it. Slowly browning on the trees and each day a few more blowing around. Wouldn’t mind so much if we’d had a good summer, but whatever I may wish, autumn is starting.

The drain at the back blocked and the first I knew was water coming in the back door when it was raining. It had overflowed the drain and filled the bit at the back. Took about half an hour of messing about with rods and a grabber to fish them out and with a gurgle the water vanished away.

We’ve quite a few trees around the house and this is just the start, so I bought a leaf blower. Some years ago, I was in Norway and my friend there had a lot of leaves to clear. He reckoned it only took months for the leaves to turn to leafmould as his vacuum not only sucked them up but chopped them as well.

So I went for the Einhell Petrol Powered Garden Vacuum / Leaf Blower from MowDirect. It’s on offer at £129.95 (£70.00 off!) and comes with free delivery, a free patio vacuum accessory and 2 year guarantee. They’re more expensive than electric machines, but electric isn’t practical for here.

It shreds the leaves down to a tenth of the original size so you’re not emptying the bag every five minutes and they’ll rot down a lot faster to turn into leafmould. There’s a shoulder strap as well, so that takes the weight making it easy to control. The engine starts easily and I’ve got to say I’m really happy with it, apart from the effect on my knee of which more later.

I’ll fix up a proper leaf mould bin with some posts and wire but for now I just put them in a rubbish sack. In fact, if you’ve only a small amount of leaves, leaving them in a black sack is fine and they’ll rot down.

Listen to your doctor!

After half an hour or so, the area around the house was clear of leaves but my knee was starting to gripe. I didn’t feel as if I was doing anything strenuous but thought it best to stop.

Now the doctor was very clear about not putting weight on the knee until it was all better but it’s driving me mad being stuck inside. Hence a little gentle walking around with the leaf vacuum.

Anyway, I awoke at 3.00am this morning with the pain from the knee. Kept trying to go back to sleep but gave up at 6.00 am and took some painkillers before going back to bed. I was half of a mind to get up as the dawn was lovely but I really don’t function on 3 hours sleep anymore.

I’m not sure I like this getting older lark, but it beats the alternative.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
8 comments on “Making Chutneys, Leaves & Listen to your doctor!
  1. Dave Walton says:

    It’s fatal to use strimmers or blowers with unhappy knee joints. It is not the walking, it’s the twisting that you inevitably do because of the machines weight as you swing it around.
    Go find a brush…..

  2. Bill Cross says:

    Hi John: We get a huge amount of leaves from an old copper beech, half a dozen apple trees and a maple in the front garden that leaves a red carpet on the front lawn and beds. Can’t burn them any more. A clean air ordinance. We could sack them up and haul them to the municipal compost yard but that would set anyones knees off! Last year we made a long twenty foot chicken playpen under the Kiwi fruit and
    I wheel barrowed all the leaves to the back end of this long enclosed space. The chickens loved it and over the winter and spring turned that 20+ barrow loads of leaves into great leaf mulch. Tossed through a screen to capture twigs and such detritus it was a super mulch for perennials and around the blue berries. Kept the three hens happy for hours.

    take care of that knee! Get some good physio and do what you are told. I bet your wife has said this too.

    Cheers from a sunburt west coast that just today gave us the first rain in over thirty days. Back to picking apples tomorrow and a bit of lorette pruning.



  3. Jeanette Jones says:

    Hi John,

    Happy first anniversary!

    I purchased the Einhell Petrol Powered Garden Vacuum / Leaf Blower following your mention of it and tried it out today, but have to say I couldn’t see that it reduced the size of the leaves by a tenth, they came out the same as they went in. Did you find that it made a lot of difference?



  4. Kenneth Eckersley says:

    I to took your advise and bought the Garden Vacuum however I have found that a) the bag has torn twice and needed repairing b) when using the shoulder strap it is too easy to knock the choke which turns the machine off and c)the machine blocks at the point the bag joins the machine all to easily .

    • John says:

      @Kenneth Eckersley: Well I can only speak as I find. I’ve not torn the bag (what are you doing??) and not managed to knock the choke either. And I’ve not had a blockage except when the bag was full.

      I’ve been and am really pleased with it. We’ve had a lot of leaves which block the drains and this has saved me a lot of work – only problem being the effect on my bad knee of using the machine.

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