Quite why I should want another apple tree is beyond me. It’s not as though I don’t have apples. With thanks to Andrew Marvell, it’s not so much ‘stumbling on melons, as I pass…’ as ‘sliding on windfalls, I land on my ass.’ Ahem. Sorry. Its the fumes.
I decided to strip the apple trees, especially as they were in the process of stripping themselves as the remnants of hurricane Katia came barrelling in over the bay, and despite the fact that my two freezers are both full (they’ll empty soon enough). Windy, or what? And while it wasn’t actually raining, there was a weird light and a low haze; it was only later that I realised what it was. Sand and very fine spray. Exactly the right weather to get out the stepladder and go wall-rambling.
Given the slope, it’s just as well that the stone wall is broad enough to stand on. Apart from the middle tree, which is a Cox, I have no idea what my elderly apples are. This top one is a cooker or a sharp eater when very ripe, but the birds usually beat me to the ripest. The bottom one has a hint of russet, and usually produces about six apples. But they’re good. This year, it’s had a fit of the vapours and produced loads. The top tree has done well as usual, but the birds have had most of the good apples from the Cox. I was a bit disappointed initally, but now I’m relieved.
It’s impossible to set the step ladder safely without thumping it into the ground, but P is always up for mountaineering, plastic bag in hand.
Me, I’m a wimp. I pick the ones I can reach without the need for safety ropes and crampons. Initially, P started collecting them in a trug, but it was filling up in no time so we moved on to rather less photogenic supermarket carrier bag. And I had to keep going back to the house for more. And more. They piled up in the garden,
and they piled up in the house,
where I did Triage Stage 2 (Stage 1 was done on the wall – anything too manky was either left for the birds to finish or thrown over the wall into the wildy bit and left for the animals), and redirected a bagfull which had sneaked through Stage 1 to the compost bins.
Several of my friends have expressed an interest in having a few apples, and that’s enough for me to translate ‘a few’ into ‘a whole carrier bag’. So I’ve sorted them into keepers and those for relatively immediate use, and bagged a lot of the latter up, and have just started doling them out. Even the vaguest of suggestions is enough. B just came to read my electricity meter, for instance – clambered over the apples to get through the room to the meter, innocently said ‘oh, you have got a lot of apples’ – and left with some. It’s safest to say nothing, really. Just pretend they’re not there.
I think we were very lucky. The winds got worse, and the weather deteriorated, and by the time I’d given up work for the day and gone for a restorative walk on the beach to see what I could find to beachcomb in the storm – if anything – the sand was darkening the sky.
And when I got back, most of the apples we left were either down or even more damaged. Now I just need to give away a few more.