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.


16 Comments Add yours

  1. Lisa says:

    Oh, you are so very lucky! Do your apples store well?

    1. kate says:

      Well, unfortunately they don’t store brilliantly – which is why I really need another freezer. Maybe a dehydrator? Now there’s a thought…

  2. It has been a good fruit year all round this year hasn’t it. Most of my apples ended up on the ground after the winds, but even after giving bucketloads away there are still gazillions – I think the wasps and birds are going to have a field day.

    1. kate says:

      Amazing — first the Great Plum Glut and now this. I had thought of putting a couple of boxes on the roadside with a sign saying ‘help yourselves’ but it’s been too wet (mind you, last year one of my neighbours went for the two-wheelbarrows-on-the-roadside approach and they didn’t all go, so I’m not sure there’d be enough of a demand)…

  3. Yep, you definitely need another apple tree 😉 Glad no personal injury ensued from the apple harvesting, and I’m sure the random strangers that you have foisting bags of apples on to will recover from being accosted eventually… I envy you the restorative walk on the beach even more than the apple trees. Nothing beats wild weather on the beach. Provided the sand doesn’t blow straight in your eyes. Did you find anything good?

    1. kate says:

      All I found on the beach were a rubber glove, a child’s trainer and – wait for it – an apple. Strangely, I didn’t pick any of them up, and I was by myself so there was no one to report the mad woman laughing like an eejit. Beachcombing is so much better in theory than reality…

  4. Dobby says:

    Now, I happen to be going to see Karen on Saturday, and I refuse to buy apples in the supermarket (unless English), so …. if you fancy a walk down the hill with some apples ……

  5. Chortle – actually I think a dehydrator is a brilliant idea – as I believe there are all sorts of things that it can be used for. And of course you can make your apple cake – which was very yummy and went well at the open garden, not a crumb was left – although looking at your crop, if you baked a donzen cakes it would not make a dent in your apple mountain.
    The wind and the light has been extremely odd hasn’t it.

    1. kate says:

      Unfortunately apple cake takes three apples; I need the three-hundred apple version. But some are coming your way… lock the doors!

  6. I can empathise re the apples – I usually take at least a couple of large plastic trugs of apples to work and offer (force) them onto unsuspecting colleagues – though after 4 years of this they are getting wise to my ploy and this year have asked if the apples could come in the form of pies, jams, chutneys etc. So I’m going armed with apples and printed recipe suggestions, do you think I’ll get away with it?

    How fantastic to be able to have a walk along a beach to recooperate; now that I do envy!

    1. kate says:

      That’s a really good idea – go for it! Unfortunately I’m self-employed so my apple-foisting chances are limited, but the postie had better move quickly this morning…

      (I remember an episode of Frazier when he had to try and get rid of Eddie’s puppies – well, Eddie’d not given birth to them, obviously. The word got round the radio station and people were running away from him and his box of dogs making signs of the cross. At least apples don’t piddle everywhere, and your colleagues should look on the bright side.)

  7. Elizabethm says:

    Yay! We are not the only ones drowning in apples!

    1. kate says:

      I’ve got an image of something like those kid’s play areas with all the coloured balls in a huge pen, with five-year-olds diving in… well, in my case they’d come with extra earwigs…

      (And some of yours must be Howgate Wonders…)

      1. yes, ours are Howgate Wonders and they are fab. We pick them in wheelbarrowsful, none of your flimsy carrier bag stuff! They store until about April so that’s all good. The more trying thing is the amount of apples produced by the other trees, not as good, but can’t bring myself not to use them. I think I need an apple press and to go into cider production. Might need to let Ian finish the kitchen before I broach this. I think he might be feeling a little overfaced already.

        1. kate says:

          OK, maybe I don’t need a Howgate Wonder!

          A friend of mine went down the apple press route and her cider has been wonderful (and ever so slightly strong, ahem, giggle, slur, fall over). I’m wondering about investing in a juicer, and freezing the juice. What am I saying? That would mean the purchase of another freezer…

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