We are sinking into the season of the apple, there are windfalls on the ground and we have come along way from the promise of fruit to the promise of a bumper harvest. We have come along way since we first took possession of this part of our orchard. Four years later and are getting strong crops from large trees.
Not even our windfalls at this time of year are left, we pick them up and take them indoors, these are destined to find a home with the winberries we have foraged from a location nearby. In fact whilst we were foraging we came across a family from Bournemouth, a sister and brother (accompanied by their spouses and children) had lived in this hamlet back in the 1970s and they were on a nostalgic trip to their childhood home. They were amazed at the winberries, the trees and the hedges that dot our hillside. Back in 1979 there were no trees, just an old rusting car parked in our neighbour's garden that fascinated them and a steep and fast trip by sledge in winter all downhill to their house. Even the back lane was more of a road than it is now, now it is overgrown, a great habitat for animals, birds and ramblers. They even knew the old lady who once lived in our house, she'd been their housekeeper, they remembered her mother who lived with her too but couldn't recall her husband. They remembered through rose-tinted glasses and told us of winters were the snow came up to the tops of their lounge windows, how they dug themselves out and how school was a distant memory in winter. We discussed how winter wasn't that bad here anymore, we have been snowed in but it hasn't happened to us every winter, 2010-2013 were bad but since then we have had some snow but nothing that required us to go to the shops on a sledge or to send up flares.
We taught them about winberries in return for their stories of our hamlet in the 1970s, the people who'd lived there, and the things they did, the places they worked. Names and jobs long gone. They loved winberries, thanked us for sharing them and teaching them something new, we loved their stories, and if they ever come across this, we'd like to say, thank you. Since we moved here, the history of this house seems to come and find us.
They were stunned that we grew our own food, they couldn't do it in the 1970s. Their dad told them that they were above the tree line but our orchard flabbergasted them. We have apples, just short of eighty of them for harvesting later in the season. Sadly, they arrived too early to taste some of them. We pointed out there were gaps in the orchard, now the trees are larger we can plant in more apples, maybe a cherry or another plum, or maybe even some pears. They could only dream of that in 1979 when they left for the warmth of the seaside. In 2011, we had that dream too, we made it a reality with some careful planning and planting of hedges.