"She refused to be bored, chiefly because she wasn't boring." Zelda Fitzgerald

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gettin' Saucy In My Kitchen

We have the very first applesauce, from our very own apple tree. I have been waiting for this day for a really long time. All these sunlit apples came off that one overgrown, neglected tree that leans over the hedge between our house and the neighbors. In fact, this was only one round of the windfalls from our tree, I have another bucket-full downstairs that I need to start processing this afternoon. I am glad we happened to have this five gallon bucket around, I'm not sure what we would have put the apples in otherwise, laundry baskets?

I need to do more reading on rehabilitating old, forgotten apple trees and learn more about how to bring the tree into it's full glory again, full of great fruiting possibility. Even though it is only August, all the apples are done on our tree. I am not sure if it is because we just have an early fruiting variety or if the tree was stressed and dropped its fruit too soon. We didn't end up "picking" anything...as every single fruit fell off the tree. I hope to do some research this winter to learn what that means, maybe identify our apples (they are a nice yellow variety and obviously on the earlier side), and figure out what the next pruning steps will be in shaping the tree. I think this year we'll make some bigger cuts.

I was encouraged to hear the neighbors tell me, as I picked up apples on their lawn that they have never seen apples this large from the tree. I could also clearly tell, both when the tree blossomed and when the fruit developed where I had pruned. The pruned areas were flush with healthy growth and produced more and larger fruit than the other parts of the tree. It's really encouraging to know that an old heritage tree like this can be encouraged and tended and begin a new life.
And all winter while I collect books on old apple trees and draw pruning diagrams, and sharpen my tools I can eat apple sauce, small bowls, with tiny spoons...sipping the cinnamon tinted happiness that can only come from raising your own fruit. Ah, the good life!

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