Saturday, February 27, 2010


Autumn is fast approaching, and around here autumn means apples! Its the start of the apple harvest, and this year seems to be a good year! Our tree (a very old tree - probably at least 50 years old) has born a great crop of HUGE apples. The birds have been eating them, and the wind has knocked many down (food for the chickens and I've been making chutney), but there are many there, still ripening.

Apples are one of the great harvests in the cool temperate zones. You can store them as they are (usually wrapped in newspaper in a box in a cool place) if they are un damaged (not windfalls), make chutney, apple sauce, apple butter, bottle them, dry them, juice them and make cider. I am planning on doing a bit of all of these!!!

The other great thing about apples is that there are so many wild trees on the side of the road (in country areas, especially along roads that were once busy, but are no longer used much), probably grown from discarded cores or spread by birds. I have taken note of the different fruit trees growing wild in our area and so far I have found - apples, pears, chestnuts, cherry plums (various varieties), peaches and loquat. I always keep my eyes open for edibles when we are out.

Nearby there is a heritage apple nursery, and this year I want to head there and buy some more apple trees. Not the run of the mill varieties, but some of the old and no longer common varieties, and I want a Cox's Orange Pippin (I did plant one a couple of years ago, but alas, my 'patented method for hardening off trees' did not suit this tree and it kindly died on me...)!

Aside from being (almost literally) showered in apples right now, things have been relatively quiet around here. We have been working at getting our winter firewood in (pretty much done), and have started on a bit more fencing. The nights are getting cooler, and the sun is dropping in the sky. The equinox is in less than 4 weeks, and then it will start to get both cold and dark. We noticed that up here in the hills the sun sits lower in the sky in winter. It will be the real test of our solar power system - how it will cope with the low sun angle and the gloomy misty winter days of the hills. Wont be long and we will find out!!!

I will leave you with a photo of the kids. Happy, healthy and active little rascals.

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