Sour cherries, many, many sour cherries…,
stoned on site and bottled by evening:
Just days after our “Ode to Summer” came the first of the autumn storms, and the Kaiser was down:
Of the variety “Kaiser Wilhelm”, a chance discovery on an estate in Germany in 1864 and named after the German Kaiser Wilhelm 1, this was one of our three “Kaiser Wilhems” and one of the most prominent trees in our orchard.
A prevailing feature in our orchard landscape whatever the season:
He was also one of our high performance trees – 360 kg of apples in any given year was the norm, as was the case this year in what was to be his last harvest, and despite his age:
A variety known for its longevity, we estimate that our fallen Kaiser was heading for a hundred years old when the Beaufort 10, 11 and 12 gales on the evening of 23 September 2018 proved too much, and down he went:
The changed view with the fallen Kaiser will take some getting used to and for now he lies in peace where he fell, letting himself be explored by young hands and feet clambering over his now fallen heights: the future running its young hands over his otherwise lofty leaves and lichens.
A part of the circle of life he will remain, as his wood goes on to house and feed the myriad of other little beings that lived alongside him in the orchard.
And yes, you can get very attached to a tree 🙂
“IN ANCIENT AGRICULTURAL SOCIETIES, EGGS PROVIDED A VITAL SOURCE OF NUTRITION. BY MID-MARCH, FOOD STORES FROM THE PREVIOUS YEAR WOULD HAVE BEEN RUNNING LOW. THE FIRST EGGS OF THE YEAR, LAID BY DOMESTICATED FOWL OR FORAGED FROM THE NESTS OF WILD BIRDS, ADDED MUCH-NEEDED NUTRIENTS TO PEOPLES’ DIET. …”” read more
How to colour your own Easter eggs using natural colourants and motifs: read on
One of the most charming Easter traditions here in Franconia: decorating the wells and fountains with brighly coloured Easter Eggs … read more
Last autumn I made a note of the following winter words of wisdom:
The sheep were eating fresh nettles all summer even though there was plenty of grass & other greenery available. The shepherd says: means its going to be a hard winter.
Other country folk are saying that there are more hazel catkins out than is usual for the autumn: means its going to be a hard winter.
I revisted this winter forecast as the calender moved into winter proper :
Casting a look back at this post from the autumn when country lore was telling us that a hard winter was ahead: no sign of it yet but then we are only a few weeks into winter so far!
The calender now moves into spring and so, how did it look, our winter?
Some (very) stormy gales, a week or so of sustained ice, day and night, but very little snow – not even enough for a snowman this year :
So no, the nettles and the catkins were not signs of a hard winter this time round.
And will hopefully not be the sign of a hard spring as this is the critical season in the orchard: the trees are awakening from their winter slumber as the warmth and the light make themselves felt. Buds and blossoms become more apparent and, once the blossoms open, the last thing we need is frost, not by day and not by night.
Frozen blossoms are dead blossoms and then the (non-)harvest is a dead loss!
This March has had many bright and sunny days so far and my German country almanac tells me:
Ist März schön und hell, kommt viel Obst auf alle Fäll’.
If March is sunny and bright, there will be plenty of fruit alright.
… If it is followed by a frost-free April!
What a fine finale to the Festival of Winter we enjoyed yesterday, 6th January, all in one bike ride back from the wintry orchard:
All quiet in the orchard at this time of the year (but Hermann the German is sharpening up his specialist tree pruning saw for the winter pruning due to start any weekend now…) so we (mainly me and sometimes Mini-Kraut) have been busy in the kitchen creating some more exhibits for our gingerbread gallery.
This year’s main creation has to remain a secret for the time being until this year’s Christmas Guests of Honour have been able to peruse and applaud it live, but we have been busy baking building components for lucky recipients in the neighbourhood, complete with building instructions, in German:
Here are a few flashbacks to past creations where we have gained all this skill and experience 🙂