A cherry Sunday in Dobrzyn

July 21, 2014 • 6:49 am

I’ll try to post each day about the previous day’s activities here. Note, though, that “activities” consist largely of working and eating, with occasional walkies. That routine is now established in Dobrzyn, although a new element (the cherry harvest) began at 7 a.m. today (Monday; photos tomorrow). My book is undergoing editorial review, so I have a break, but of course it is filled with other work, including writing a science paper and reading a Ph.D. thesis.

But first, of course, it was necessary to reacquaint myself with Her Highness, as well as meet the new d*g.  First, the princess asleep in the bathroom (Click pictures to enlarge). Her rear paws need cleaning, but she took care of that later.


Cyrus is absolutely infatuated with Hili; he follows her around and stares at her constantly.  One would think she’d be creeped out by this behavior, but she doesn’t seem to mind. Perhaps, though, we should establish some sexual harassment rules!

Hili and Cyrus lick

After lunch, a walk was in order. Both animals went with us to the river:




Can you spot the cat?

Spot the cat

These trees are heavily laden with cherries, but they’re the exception this year. Nevertheless, there are well over 15 thousand kilos in the orchard. These are, of course, “sour” cherries, though they were quite pleasant to eat right off the tree.


We picked enough to make about 10 jars of jam: it takes about 1 kilo of cherries per jar:

Malgorzata picking

I tried my hand, though I was not as fast as the others (they have 16 years of experience!) I also plead exhaustion. Nevertheless, I did pick 3 kilos, one by one:

AC picking

9 kilos for jam:

9 kg

They all had to be pitted, which is quite efficient using these inexpensive cherry-pitters. Nevertheless, it took us an hour and I was covered with cherry juice at the end:


I helped, and oy, was it messy! Cherry juice flying everywhere, and some recalcitrant cherries that wouldn’t go through the pitter (photo by Andrzej):


The jam (pitted cherries + sugar) was cooked  in a large copper kettle for several hours last night. It was then left to rest, and is cooking again at this moment. It will be done later today. At the upper left you can see one of the cans of gourmet cat food that I brought Hili as a present.


A team of pickers arrived this morning, so tomorrow we’ll see how the pros do it. And. . . another cherry pie will be made today!

39 thoughts on “A cherry Sunday in Dobrzyn

  1. Homemade Cherry Jam and Pies!
    I am so jealous!

    When I was a little kid I wanted cherry pie instead of Birthday Cake

  2. Oh man, I was just gorging on cherries in the Columbia River Gorge. Lucky you!

    However, the best cherries I’ve ever eaten were in Provence. We had a heavily laden orchard less than 1 km from our gîtes. The timing was perfect as well. And they also sold cherry juice (heavenly) for only € 3 per 750ml bottle! (Excellent with vodka!)

  3. We’re curious about the cherry pitter (ours doesn’t work very well) — what is it called? Is this kind of pitter available in the US?

  4. Hili is not creeped out by Cyrus’s adulation, because cats are accustomed to being worshiped and adored. I think she is secretly (or openly) enjoying it. Cyrus seems like a good d*g. Have a nice trip!

  5. When I was young, we would make a similar pilgrimage to Albany, California, where Grandma lived; on the north side of the hill ran a creek with blackberries. Us kids probably picked as many berries as the adults, but we ate so many that the smaller baskets they gave us made perfect sense. Then, pie and jam….


  6. My parents have a sour cherry tree in their yard that was planted by a bird. Since it is a wild cherry, it doesn’t grow close to the ground & is really tall. The birds eat most of the high up cherries but there are a lot of cherries that come off it. I have a cutting from it that his growing in my yard but it hasn’t produced blossoms yet & we aren’t sure that it will because it was a sucker.

    Incidentally, my dad’s neighbour told him he “wouldn’t trust ‘tree cherries'”. I suppose he only trusts supermarket cherries.

    The way Cyrus is looking at Hili, I call “looming” to my dog. She does it when she wants something & looms over you just like that. She knows she isn’t allowed to do it as I tell her: “no looming”.

    1. What’s not to trust about cherries? They are either sour or sweet. Now mushrooms are a different matter. The whole liver can fail from one and that is the end of you.

      1. The neighbour is a dumb ass. He thinks they are poison somehow because probably when he was a kid, someone told him not to pick wild berries. So, he probably thinks that cherries should be left to the professionals. This is what urbanization has produced. It’s good for so many things like the transfer of new ideas, but it also isolates people from the natural world.

    2. Of course, it would be difficult for Cyrus not to loom over Hili. 😀

      (I do like the looming concept.)

    3. Also known as “vulching.” My bf has been known to do it when I’m cooking. Freddie-the-Pusser does it when one has not completely polished off one’s cereal milk.

  7. Any cherries left over, put them in a jar, fill jar with aguadiente, seal jar, leave for a year or two.

    Result; Heaven.

    (Aguadiente or Orujo is a spirt distilled from gape skins after being pressed for wine.)

    1. Is that the same process as grappa?

      This works very well with moonshine too. In the early stages the cherries are delicious and have picked up a nice zing from the shine, but the moonshine is still rather plain. Everybody wants the cherries, but you have to be careful! They will sneak up on you.

      In the later stages the moonshine has become heavenly. It picks up the color and flavor of the cherries. But the cherries lose much of their flavor and the texture becomes rubbery tough.

      1. darrelle: Yes same process. You are right about the cherries, I’ve seen some hilarious results from eating too many of them.

  8. We all know that the kitchen formula is Cherry^2 x Pie = surface of stomach lining, no more and no less.

    By the way, I can spot the cat but I don’t think I could spot the nightcat.

  9. Yum!

    Brings back memories of Germany. Right across the street from our house was a small cherry orchard (1-1/2 to 2 acres) that was very old and no longer worked. The trees were quite large and still very productive. No idea why it was no longer worked. The cherries were beautiful. When they were ripe we would climb up into the trees and eat cherries until we were nearly comatose.

    1. Hill hugging. Makes for pleasant thoughts of looking up at clouds with arms outstretched in the grass on a summer day.

  10. At the upper left you can see one of the cans of gourmet cat food that I brought Hili as a present.

    Gourmet cat food? Nose will be turned up.

  11. Ahh, the country life. It seems that lifestyle is going away in the US…perhaps in much of the world. Just like most people here have the childhood memories, but perhaps not many adult memories. Harvesting seasonal fruit/vegetables, all the prep work, then making pies, juice, canning, pickling: wonderful and enriching. A communion (no religious connotations here) with nature’s plenty. Thanks for the wonderful pictorial story of your day.

    I loved the one where Hili was leading the way…that’s usually a d*g’s job. We know who rules that roost!

    1. Agreed!
      Our grandkids are visiting us in rural eastern Ont. from suburban Calgary. Picking fresh strawberries and raspberries and making jam is one of their favourite summer memories. Plus they get to take a case or two back with them.

      1. What bothers me the most is the disconnect from the natural world. I wager that the majority of people in the developed world have never seen a truly dark sky and would be surprised to see the Milky Way.

  12. Wow. Cherries. wish I was there. Beautiful area as well. Saw the apron on you and Andrzej’s wife and noticed the horse drawings. Besides cats,I am fond of horses as well. What a neat apron. Enjoy the cherries.

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