My daughter and I ventured to Ireland for a little over a week. We met up with my sister and our Uncle who travelled from the East Coast. My Uncle Paul did a lot of genealogical research about the Irish side of our family, so part of the plan was to find some of the family haunts. We stayed in Cork and ventured out all over Southern and Southwestern Ireland. It was beautiful. Both my daughter and I commented on how much of the countryside reminded us a lot of our own Big Island home although a bit colder. It was a wonderful trip and I’m especially fortunate to have had the opportunity to share that with my daughter. She was the best travel companion, she never worried when we were lost, I actually think she kind of liked that part trying to figure out where we were, and she was always up for anything we did. We had a great time.
Irish countryside (on our drive to the Cliffs of Moher)
Now, I’m back home. The jet lag thing really whipped me upon my return. It’s been rainy and overcast most of the time I’ve been back, which has given me the respite I needed to get my body back on this time zone.
Today, I grabbed my camera and went to check on what’s happening in the farm. My husband has been busy planting new taro starts. The pineapple are getting bigger. We have quite a few oranges and mountains apples ripe for the picking. I can see lychee starting to sprout on our trees! Our clove tree is full of flowers, as is one of our allspice trees. AND, best of all the geese didn’t chase me today. Okay, I had a stick with me, but I didn’t have to use it!
We have two allspice trees on our property. Both were planted before we bought the place. Although they both flower only one has progressed to the point that gives us the berries for the spice. The trees don’t even flower at the same time. They look exactly the same, so maybe they’re a different variety hence the difference we’re seeing in production.
Allspice is the dried unripe berries from the plant. You pick the berries when they’re green and sun dry them. They dry very quickly in our dry house. They turn a kind of rust/brown color when they’re ready, and are about the size of a peppercorn. You can dry them in an oven or a dehydrator, both of which I have tried but the result just isn’t the same as sun drying. It loses a lot of its potency and never gets the color it should have.
The English gave this spice the name allspice because they thought it tasted like a combination of cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg. This spice is used all over the world in the Caribbean, Europe, and the Middle East. Here many people use it for baking and desserts, but this spice is so versatile, you’re losing out if you’re not trying it in other things like stews, marinades, and meat dishes. We sometimes grind it with our coffee beans before making a pot – it just gives it a little extra something.
I think the tree itself is one of the most beautiful trees we have. I especially like the bark. As you can see from the picture above, there are tons of flowers. This is the tree that hasn’t been producing berries. There are so many flowers on it this year, I’m hoping we get some. You can see some tiny berries forming below.
Here are some other pictures from happenings on the farm:
Mountain apple blossom
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