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Apple Picking in the Autumn Sun

On one of Autumns most glorious sunny days, when the colours on the trees were indefinable from the apples we planned to harvest, we gathered extended family and prepared for a fun filled day of apple picking.



We inherited a lot when we bought the farm, including three well established apple trees. A cooker, a spartan and one sweet and delicious unknown in name but grown from a pip by the house sellers mother.

Last year we'd barely been in the house five minutes before they all seemed to be in a soggy mush below the tree - such a waste - and so this year we were determined to make good of this fortuitous bounty and so a date for apple pressing was booked and loomed distant until it suddenly was upon us and we had to rally the troops to get the apples in.


Parents and in-laws were bribed with the offer of early doors at the pub and a curry, and we literally had to drag a reluctant 16 year old boy from his pit on the first day of half term so perhaps not so rose tinted as I first intoned, but safe to say once everyone had been given a job, there developed a convivial sense of industry and occasion as the romantic notion of picking ones own apples invites.


Apple picking is many things, but romantic it is not. It is back breaking repetitive work, you clear the windfall whilst sustaining soggy knees because there's only so long any reasonably fit person can be expected to squat and think aha now we can stand and pick only to have an avalanche fall from the tree as soon as you touch a branch. So you return to the ground and the pervading smell of rank cider to pick through what you thought you'd just picked through with a resigned sigh. Whilst on all fours, a gust of wind, or mischievous teenage boy would shake the tree and the unsuspecting would gain a concussion worthy conk on the noggin from further falling apples. But this in itself provided the mirth required to see us through and with the help of a children's replica samurai wielded to reach the higher branches we managed to collect 5 groaning wheelbarrow and trolleys full of fruit that Lee had been ferrying to the courtyard for 'processing' ... in truth I think we could have managed the same again but after two hours I think all our spirits required a cup of tea and a sit down. Which is just as well because for those of us at the trees had failed to comprehend how onerous (read slow) the washing, sorting and boxing process was going up top.


Over a fortifying lunch of tuna sandwiches, and Aldi's finest crisps and dips - no expense spared for the workers - we discussed the pitfalls of apple picking and where perhaps a glance at a YouTube video might have indeed served us well in terms of preparation and organisation, and agreed with much enthusiasm - as befits plans made far in advance -, that next year we would be armed and dangerous and ready to harvest apples like a pro! We shall see....

Photo note: This is a very poor photo by a stylists standards and probably shouldn't grace these pages. And I very nearly attempted to arrange the table but then I thought na, this is real life and real life doesn't look like a photo shoot - or at least not in our home.



Learning perhaps a little something from our lunchtime confabulations, our happy(?) band of workers got savvy: larger cleaning buckets were sourced; roles were assigned and stations were established - it was almost musical in it's choreographed performance and without need for whistle we finally assembled ourselves around the patio furniture and the human conveyor belt of apple cleanse, dry, QC1, QC2 (quality control) and boxing waltz began.

I, personally, was like a machine! I'd quite grown bored of my role as QC1 and figured that the quicker I sorted the quicker we might actually get down to the real business of the day which was early doors at the pub.... until mother on QC2 gave me slapped wrist for sub par performance. But in the afternoon sun, with good conversation and merriment the process came to an end and boxes were stored and we all repaired to the house for gin and tonics eschewing the shower which had conveniently, as these things are want to do in an old house, packed in that morning.



And so with that I bid you adieu to focus on this weeks Friday Flowers and ordering some goodies for the festive season! Happy Half Term!

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