The last Slack my Girdles in East Charleton

Discussion in 'Nature' started by grebeman, Apr 18, 2011.

  1. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    Well I'm spuffing (it's an old west country tradition, I've said something, now you prove me wrong :smile:), they may not be the variety Slack my Girdle, but come on, it got your attention and it is the name of an old Devon cider apple variety. I've just asked my 90 year old neighbour (actually 90 today), born and breed here, my cottage was his fathers workshop where he built farm carts, stairs and coffins, but he doesn't know which variety they are. My local farmer has a very old book full of illustrations but you'd need to see the apples to identify them

    These are the last three trees in the little valley behind my cottage, it used to be a proper orchard at one time, they are laden with blossom, if it all sets and we get rain soon there will be a bumper harvest this year.

    All shots Panasonic G1 with 45mm, f/2.8 Leica DG Macro-Elmarit

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    Barrie
     
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  2. RichardP

    RichardP SC Regular

    33
    Oct 13, 2010
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  3. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Oh Barrie, they are laden and beautiful! Is that a dove or a Mockingbird who is admiring the view in your third? Is this remaining orchard steps from your cottage? Apple blossoms are glorious. We have a crabapple tree in our yard...and when the flowers bloom it looks as though it has been decorated by a confectioner. I do hope you end up with a bumper crop of delicious apples!
     
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  4. andrewh973

    andrewh973 SC Regular

    132
    Mar 13, 2011
    NYC metro are
    I hope the harvest proves fruitful.

    When I was growing up, we had apples, cherries, pears, and plums. Albeit, a little unkept, the trees yielded enough for our family, and some to give away to friends. The blossoms they produced in the beginning of the season were just lovely.

    The images -- and story -- above (especially the top two) are first-rate; what a setting! I hope it's not against the grain, here, to suggest recording the state of this tree in large format; beautiful scene.

    Best,

    Andrew
     
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  5. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
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  6. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    Hi BBW,

    It's a pigeon that is sitting on the power line and taking in the view. This former orchard, known as big orchard according to my neighbour is a parcel of land attached to another neighbours property. It's 1 minutes walk from my back gate to the gate giving access to it off the lane. That house changed hands last year and the orchard was available as a separate lot. I expressed interest in it but finally the people who bought the house also bought the orchard. I had been hoping to get what would have become my own private nature reserve. There's a gentleman who comes over from another village and collects the apples to make cider, we will hopefully get some cider in return (N.B. in the UK cider is an alcoholic drink made from FERMENTED apple juice). Hopefully the new owners will treat it much as it has been. I would have tried to replicate an old hay meadow regime in there with a cut of the grass in late July and some light grazing in the autumn.

    Barrie

    Barrie
     
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  7. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Barrie, thank you for sharing the backstory to your photographs. Glad to know my first reaction of "dove" was pretty close, i.e., pigeon.

    I, too, hope the new owners will continue to allow the apple trees share their wealth with the community and that the gate will remain unlocked. I know I sound like a Greek chorus with my repetitions of longing for the closeness of natural beauty. I need to get out and up to some real country soon for a "fix".

    Barrie, I hope you'll keep us apprised visually with the seasonal changes of this one minute's walk from your cottage. You could make a great series, I think.
     
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  8. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    The Apples are ready for harvest

    Well there are cider apples for the taking here, although perhaps not as many as I had thought, certainly on the first tree, given the volume of blossom back in the spring. Obviously at least 2 different varieties, the first tree being very yellow and the second with much more red in it.

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    Both taken today with a Panasonic G1 and a 35mm Voigtlander Color-Skopar f/2.5 lens

    Barrie
     
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  9. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Barrie, I'm so glad that you've followed up on this wonderfully titled thread with the harvest time bounty! What sort of delicious desserts do you make with these apples, or are they just so good that you eat them right off the tree. I love a good crunchy apple - that and the cool crisp days of fall are what make this season one of my favorites.
     
  10. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    BB,

    hehe, the chances are these apples are bitter, maybe very much so. They are specifically for making cider, a somewhat potent alcoholic beverage with this part of the UK having a strong tradition in brewing cider. For my part I do tend to favour a slightly sweeter cider, so there were a lot of varieties ranging from bitter to sweet, maybe some of the older inhabitants could eat the sweeter ones off the tree, but that was not the intended purpose of growing these guys.

    If these aren't harvested and become windfalls the birds won't discriminate, sweet or sour.

    Barrie
     
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  11. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
    Real Name:
    BB
    Sounds good to me, Barrie.:drinks: I think that way back when I visited your country (I was 14 at the time:eek:) that I probably tasted that cider...and if memory serves me, I preferred, then, orange squash and beer.:wink:

    Promise to show us a nice glass before you drink it. I'd love to be sitting in that pub with you...and checking out my new digs...and I bet dogs are allowed in the pub, too. Believe it or not I met my husband at a pub/bar/gin mill (no longer in existence) that allowed dogs...and, of course, I brought mine. This was highly unusual for our neck of the woods and probably against the health department rules.:rolleyes: But I digress. Back to the cider apples!
     
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  12. bilzmale

    bilzmale Super Moderator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member Subscribing Member

    Jul 17, 2010
    Perth, Western Australia
    Real Name:
    Bill Shinnick
    Thanks for the update Barrie.
     
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  13. cool

    Great to see the tree from blossom to apple.
     
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  14. grebeman

    grebeman Old Codgers Group S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Real Name:
    Barrie
    Put to the taste test

    This morning I was able to get up close to these trees.

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    There have already been some windfalls, anyone gathering these apples for cider would happily use these, however if they don't get taken for cider they will serve the winter thrushes well.

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    Despite being cider apples I was advised that these red ones are good to eat, and so it proved, firm white flesh, just on the sweet side of neutral, a little dry but a good eat.

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    I steered clear of these, they are rather more bitter and dry.

    Panasonic G1 with 45mm, f/2.8 Leica DG Macro-Elmarit

    Barrie
     
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  15. BBW

    BBW Administrator Emeritus S.C. Charter Member

    Jul 7, 2010
    betwixt and between
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    Barrie, I thought of you the other night as I had my first taste of hard cider! I can't remember the name of the brand...certainly not home made as I drank some from my friend's birthday glass at a restaurant but I did like it very much indeed.:drinks:

    You had wonderful morning light for these pictures - and I feel as though I was standing right there with you, too!
     
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