It has been a beautiful day so I took advantage of the warm, dry October weather to to finally pick the apples from my tree. I only have the one now as the other gave up the ghost a few years ago. They both seemed pretty ancient when we bought the house twenty-odd years ago and the gnarled old survivor is leaning at a precarious angle, but somehow it carries on. Last year there was barely half a sack of apples and I thought this is the beginning of the end.apple-picking-at-eragny-sur-epte-1888
But today as I clambered up the trunk it was obvious that this year was going to be much more productive. I don’t use a ladder, partly because the tree is still strong enough to support me and partly to prove that I can still do it twenty-odd years after I first did. I can.
Once up there I am able to put a sack on a nearby shed roof and start to pi
ck away. The fruit at the very top was warm in my hand as I gently eased it from the tree. Devil’s coach-horses which have been happily living up there round the stalk of the apple run across my hand and down my sleeve as I continue to pick. I still find these pincer clad critters as menacing as I did as kid. But in spite of the wildlife, soon the sacks are filling nicely as I work from bough to bough.
My plan this year is to make cider. I have been thinking about this for a while and even bought a press a couple of years ago, where it has been gathering dust in the shed til now. But this year will be different. Oh yes.
I always tell people that I don’t get poetry, but then I realise that that is not really true. Every time I pick my apples I return to one of the poems I read at school and which has stuck with me ever since. So I just re-read Robert Frost’s “After Apple-Picking”. It was a bit disappointed that after my excitement at the prospect of my new venture in cider making I discover (or re-discover) that he consigns apples which fall to the floor to cider making “As of no worth”. Not that I am going to let that put me off. I (well strictly speaking my wife) just washed the cider press and a couple of demijohns we found in the garage. All we need now is – well actually it seems we need a whole load of other kit – but I’m not going to let that put me off this year. Honestly. In any case, sadly,
“…. I am done with apple picking now”.