All my attempts to brave the heat, by drinking every possible liquid that would help to cool, proved futile. I have never seen a summer this hot and I am continuously going through bouts of head ache almost every day and there's not the slightest desire to cook or bake. A small vacation in the lake forest of Tamilnadu surely did help to refresh from the sweltering heat. A holiday destination frequented since my childhood is no new place to me.
Spent most of my time gazing at the tall jamun tree with its juicy fruits, right in front of the house, as it attracted a lot of birds and squirrels. It was bird watching time and it's no easy job. Some were very close posing beautifully for the camera, especially the melodious singing of the Robins was such a delight to hear.
A branch that fell off, heavy with its fruits due to a sudden lash of rain, attracted us humans, as we sat down to collect the wild jamuns that tasted sweet and luscious. By the end of few hours, looking at the two large vessels full, we decided to stop gathering and a splash of purple shade on our mouths bore clear evidence of the excess consumption.
Gathering about 5 - 6 kg of jamun my mother and I began making preparations straightaway to make jamun jam. After washing the fruits well in salt water, I started mashing the fruits with both my hands until it became juicy and the flesh came apart from the seeds, which was then strained to get fresh and thick jamun juice, which makes a wonderful drink as a juice. It takes a bit of a time and a lot of muscle work to extract the juice manually, but the extracted juice will taste absolutely delicious.
Since we had in excess, we continued with the jam making by putting it on heat, added sugar and spices to taste and some lemon juice, cooked for about an hour until it was done. The entire house smelled of jamun jam and my hands were stained dark that remained so for the next 3-4 days, as if they were bruised very badly! The following day we woke up to a beautiful breakfast of bread, butter and jamun jam. Since jamun has the tendency to dry our tongue, the jam is best eaten with butter or whipped cream. ( I cannot give the exact measurements, because I went about adding the ingredients according to taste)
Our unplanned morning walks that took us to unexplored regions, treading on the mountain paths, through the silent and scary coffee estates, through the shaded silver oak forest, was quite long that we would reach back home after three hours of walking covering up to 5-6 kms a day, but never once we regretted walking that long, thanks to the weather.
When I came across this ice cream man, on the mountain road, I was excited to find out if he had the famous paal ice and semiya ice and he did. The ice creams that once rocked the lives of many youngsters that which seemed to have become extinct, surely ignited the excitement in me, but soon it was lost, as the semiya ice tasted nothing but saccharine, while the paal ice tasted just fair.
I make sure to visit the sunday market (vaara sandhai), everytime I am there and did not miss this year too. All though sunday markets are meant to sell local produce, the scenario has changed a lot here now because there's a large percentage of packaged goods sold compared to the local produce. Country lentils ( naatu payir, like karamani) that I used to buy from here were missing this time, but still I was happy to grab some palm sugar which is extremely delicious.
Karupatti, vellum, Sillu karupatti
Karupatti, vellum, Sillu karupatti
Tobacco leaves - Pugaiyilai
Naatu Thakkali - Country tomato
A few snapshots during my morning walks and pictures of the flora from our garden as well as from the hills are shared here and most of them in the page Third Eye.
'Declare' the friendly bird from a nearby resort
Caught him sitting majestically on an uphill, during one of my morning walks
This pretty reptile almost made me jump out of the car!
Kaatu Myna - Hill Myna, a frequent visitor to the jamun tree