Life in Austria
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A Fall Harvest of…Kiwi?

One of the best aspects of living in the countryside is the abundance of fruits and vegetables grown in our very own backyard, thanks to Schwiegermom’s green thumb and loving attention. You name it, she’s growing it—leeks, lettuce, carrots, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, celery as well as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, grapes, plus plenty of herbs and a whole lot more.

Some plants, on the other hand, received less attention as was the curious case of the fuzzy kiwi vines that crawled up our cherry tree. You might be as bewildered as I am, and understandably so. Apparently kiwis thrive in a temperate climate and, with the help of shade and a sturdy trellis, they yield plenty of fruit after a few years. So goes the romantic story of our cherry tree and the kiwi vine.

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A few weekends ago, Juergen and his father spent an afternoon trimming the cherry tree of its scraggly branches, bringing down a whole bunch of kiwis in the process. Kiwi vines can get pretty gnarly without proper pruning, and because they were neglected for a long time, untangling them from the cherry tree turned out to be a lot of work.

I, however, couldn’t wait to play with the kiwis. They were just too cute. I wanted to use them in a tart or pie but they were a bit too small, and by the time I’d peeled them, they’d lost their shape. So we ended up popping them in our mouths like large sour grapes. I guess my dessert will have to wait another three years until the next harvest. I’m thinking kiwi-cherry pie…



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