Sep 16 2015
When I think England in the fall, I definitely think apples. Not just apples, but apples are somewhere in the mix. I’m not sure what else is in that mix…rain, pies, wool, um? Imagine my surprise when on our way to Oxford, we stopped at a mini grocery in the autoroute “services” (rest stop) and found only New Zealand and South African apples on sale, and the same, curious situation prevailing at our local Marks and Spencer supermarket. Does England not have its own apples? From whence does that tradition of hard cider come, then? Apples had to be in season…they were already in Switzerland and France.
And, curiously, in our “garden” (backyard), the first thing to greet me was a half-eaten apple on our back steps. Who has been throwing half-eaten apples into our garden before we had a chance to move in, anyway? I don’t want to live in a place where people toss half-eaten apples into my yard!
But THEN! THEN! We found an apple tree in our garden. It is tiny, just Seth’s height, but has at least 5 apples, a couple gnawed like the one on our steps. It has a tag that says it is a Jonagold tree. Undamaged, ripe apples are crisp and fresh, and from our own backyard!!! This is magical. What a greeting. How appropriate for Rosh Hashanah.
Then I remembered that at one house viewing back in July, the current owners told us that they had two apples trees in the garden, one for cooking and one for eating. And so far, everyone (sample size = small) who has a garden seems to have their own apple tree, sometimes more than one, and they trade apples with one another and cook them into applesauce and apple crumbles and apple pies and have special long-handled applepickers they share with neighbors to reach the high ones and altogether eat tons and tons of apples, so local they didn’t have to travel through the supermarket or even the farmers’ market. I asked one local what she does to tend her apple trees–“nothing,” she answered. Well. Um, why again do Americans love to plant ornamental fruit trees, lacking in fruit? This is so much better!!!
Our garden also has some brambly blackberries, a nice tree with a baby doll stuck high in its branches (can apple pickers pick dolls out of trees, too???), a little tree covered with something that might be crabapples and I don’t know if we can eat/cook them, and a shed. In-between, there is high grass that will soon need mowing (…um, how do we do this?). The fence is sealed and high, keeping Ruben in, and nosy neighbors out. Except, of course, that from the windows upstairs, it is quite easy to peer directly into all of our neighbors’ gardens. Can’t wait to spy on all the professors’ children and apple-picking habits and see them spying back. It would be nice to have a suke back here.
Now, our 5 apples are awesome but are going to only last a few days. I better make friends with some neighbors who have more apples than they can eat, and soon!
Oh, and now we have Internet. I just had to test it out, you see.