to end up picking more apples than words, especially if I can’t talk my children into doing it for me. It’s not precisely what I think of as a thankless task, and certainly not in the same league as picking up the floor cloths which our dog Gypsy strews about the garden, and which will be carried back out again the very minute I’ve put them down to wipe muddy feet and paws. With apples at least you get to wait a year before repeating the process. And, of course, you end up with something to fill your crumbles and pastry and snack boxes; your belly.

Each autumn I relearn the same lessons: how to be patient and pick carefully so the apples won’t bruise; how to identify those with worm, which need to go into the pare-away basket; how to avoid the wasps, which love to cluster at the first sign of rot; how to appreciate the sour as well as the sweet and tender flesh; and how to stretch just a little further for that one perfect golden fruit, freckled with crimson, which hangs just beyond comfortable reach.

There is even a crabapple tree which is old and sturdy and resistant to disease, whose wild and wilful fruit add a delicious touch to the staid recipes printed in all the cookery books.

I’ve only begun on this season’s crop but am already looking forward with renewed energy and hunger to my notebooks. This year I believe I’ll add an apple to the clutter on my desk. Never underestimate the wisdom of fruit.


5 thoughts on “At this time of year I seem

  1. Maxine 18 years ago

    I’ve just read your post again, Lee. It is a lovely description, full of allegory.

  2. Anonymous 18 years ago

    I left a comment last night but blogger was playing up and ate it. It was about a crab apple tree I planted in my garden last year and how to tell when the apples are ripe…I am guessing now as they are falling off. And then, how do you make crab apple jelly once you’ve got your harvest (in my case, because the tree is so young, about 20 tiny apples in total.)

  3. Susan 18 years ago

    A very ‘appetizing’ entry, Lee! These little vignettes you occasionally post are a real joy to read.

  4. Lee 18 years ago

    Psst, Minx … so do words.

  5. Anonymous 18 years ago

    Last week we took the children to a pick-your-own farm.
    After this trip and a couple of days making pie, jam, crumble etc I think that they are just about getting the idea that apples do grow on trees!!