Monday, 7 January 2019

Dry Toast and Cider in Owl Wood



Dry toast, warm cider, a song, and a jolly good beating with a stick were on the menu last night. 

For the apple trees.

Tradition dictates that the oldest apple tree should be wassailed on 6th January, to ensure a good crop in the following autumn.      We wassailed five of our apple trees - the oldest one, two young apple trees in another part of the garden, both young and not doing especially well, plus two newly discovered apple trees in Owl Wood. 

They are about 40 years old, but had been completely overtaken by all the other trees, so much so that they barely got any light, yet somehow they managed to survive, they just didn't look like apple trees, and nor did they bear enough fruit to be noticed. 

The year before last we had to have some trees, which had become unsafe, taken down.        It seemed drastic action at the time, but the positive impact on Owl Wood has been wonderful.

Access to the sunlight and energy, for the first time in many years,  gave these two apple trees and several others, the chance to produce some very nice fruit.         I decided they both merited a bit of extra help after all their years of struggle.

At the last moment we decided to include a crab apple tree which has endured a similar struggle ...so that made six!

Stretching a point, perhaps?

I felt sorry for them all!      They were all given a piece of soaked toast, a hefty sprinkling of warm cider, a bit of a beating with a stick, and were then serenaded with the wassail song.    I hope they enjoyed it.

The neighbours think we are barking mad, and so we are!







The garage is really coming on now, the back of the roof has been completed, so has the front.






It has been a bit of a slog, but it is getting there.  Whether or not our daughter and son-in-law ever actually park their cars inside is another matter!

I have noticed that they keep calling it a barn, rather than a garage...












Three bays, two for them, one for us, plus a log store on either side. 













The local schools went back today, so childcare duties have begun again. 


Here is our oldest grandson waiting for the school bus.    He used to enjoy throwing/catching/juggling beanbags about while we waited.     It seems that he has caught the reading bug, at last!

His younger sister stuck with our game of catch the bean bag, enjoying the extra attention.







26 comments:

  1. Neighbors think your mad?... lol... say it ain't so! How awesome that you have a ceremony to pay respect for the blessed apple tree. I think it is wonderful, and I will need to learn about it when we get the fruit trees planted on the ridge. Nobody around up there to declare me mad, although my other half has declared that very thing for quite awhile now. How terrific is it that your grands spend time with you every day. I am very happy for you! The garage is going to be an outstanding addition for you all.

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    1. We live right next door to my daughter and family - they are all used to my funny ways these days! When she saw what I was doing, she simply raised an eyebrow and shook her head slowly - but I note she didn't ask me to do their apple trees, so we shall see who gets the better crop this year. Good luck with the planting, sounds like you have some hard work ahead of you, but just keep thinking about bountiful harvests.

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  2. I didn't have cider or apple juice so will do it on old 12th night on the 17th.
    I used to whack the walnut tree - which was supposed to make it produce more - but rarely enough for us and squirrels.

    Round here it would be called a cart shed!Although there wouldn't be a cart in sight

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    1. I was quite a cheapskate - a £1 special offer bottle between them! It was a large bottle but not one you would necessarily want to drink, I hope they didn't object.

      Funnily enough, our kitchen was the original cart shed to the farm house!

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  3. I wonder if wassailing is good for pear trees? I have an old girl that could use a bit of help, although I know someone would call the police if they saw me walloping my tree. I will have to look up the history of this. It does sound mad, ergo I am all for it!

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    1. Give it a go, you never know - although I would use perry instead of cider! It may be madness, a tad eccentric, but it is harmless. It is also quite fun.

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  4. I smiled at your wassailing, hopefully it will work its magic. It would be nice if there was a tree locally to give some attention to. Happy New Year.

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    1. Welcome back - and Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful time away, though I imagine you must have been happy to finally get home again after your long journey.

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  5. Wonderful to keep old traditions!!!!!!!! Yesssss!!!!

    Mmmmm, "barn" sounds too much like "storage area," doesn't it? ,-)

    Caught the reading bug! Wonderful, when it happens.

    And all the things done, to Owl Wood... They are paying off.

    ✨✨✨✨

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    1. That is my worry, wow!
      Yes, this last couple of months he has read at least half a dozen books. His mother has done a brilliant job in finding things which capture his interest, he particularly likes apocalyptic themes, but does enjoy other well chosen books. His mum is a bookworm, so she enjoys the challenge of finding suitable books.

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  6. You’ll have to record the trees harvest this year and compare! x

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    1. Definitely! Most of the Bramley's end up as pies and crumbles, so my husband is hoping for a truly bumper harvest.

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  7. What a joy to see a boy with his nose in a book!
    One year we had to take down the cottonwood before it owned the septic system. We exposed a spindly maple it had overshadowed for twenty five years. How that maple made itself at home and grew faster than Topsy.

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    1. Patience rewarded, I feel happy for the maple tree. I hope the poor spindly apple trees will do the same, they have lived too long in the shadows. I don't particularly want their fruit but I would love to see them flourish and grow, enjoy their freedom.

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  8. Love the vase of flowers - my brother has just been wassailing in France http://magnonsmeanderings.blogspot.com/2019/01/twelfth-night-epiphany-jan-6th.html

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    1. My daughter bought me the flowers, a 'thank you' for all the extra childcare I did through the holidays.
      I always read Cro's posts, Susan. I got to know him when I used my original blog, about 8 years ago. I rarely comment there though, I find some of his best chums just a little bit...abrasive. I like a quiet life!!

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  9. Rosie with Cider Elaine? I love the old traditions. An interesting experiment would be to next year apply ‘artisan’ cider as opposed to park bench, brown paper bag cider and closely monitor the difference of the two harvests?

    The garage looks magnificent, is it oak?

    LX

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    1. You are right, of course. I just grabbed a cheap bottle from the petrol station near my son's house. I hope the trees won't judge me too harshly for that one!

      The wood comes from some managed woodland about four or five miles away from here. Not oak, I think that would have bankrupted us.

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  10. Mmmm the two apple trees in my garden could do with a bit of coaxing. The birds love the trees but I can't take to the most times rotten fruit. We did have a plum tree but that gave up the ghost. The trees now are just for show!

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    1. It's a shame about the fruit, Valerie, but at least you get to enjoy the beauty of the blossom and the birds and insects enjoy the rest. It would be a dull old world without trees!

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  11. What can it hurt? I think it would have been fun to do no matter what. And how fortuitous that taking down those dying trees has given new life to old apple trees. Good to see the grandson with nose in book!

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    1. I think his mother deserves a gold star for working so hard to find him the key to the magic kingdom of 'Reading for Pleasure' - it seems so much more difficult with boys, for some reason.

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  12. That is a fascinating tradition; one that I would like to partake in. :) Any reason to spend time in Owl Wood. Our wood-lot was at one time all apple trees but that was many moons ago now and they are all gone. Now it is maples mostly.
    Lucky you to have the grands so close.

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    1. Owl Wood apples - a delight and a feast for the birds and squirrels, I hope. Though of course we may sample the occasional one. So many years we walked past those little trees without even noticing them. I hope they enjoy their days in the sunshine! Happy New Year Deb!

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  13. Never knew thats what was wassailing was, should have done my trees, must remember next year

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  14. I hope you do Bill, if nothing else it is fun and you could end up with a bumper crop of apples - which could be a surprise, especially if your trees are pears or plums...

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Lovely to hear from you!