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Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

the apple of my eye

You may not know this about me, but one of my dearest desires in life is to have my very own orchard. I want to grow heritage apple trees and spend autumn afternoons crunching through crisp leaves on my own land. So today I took the first step. I did not buy land (not made of money, you know), nor did I buy an apple tree. No. I went to the Clyde Valley Orchards’ Fruit Day and talked to people about apples.

Awesome, right?

Well, it was. There were stalls and stalls of people selling their own goods, farmers’ market style, and also informative areas about types of apples, etc. There were also many different baked goods which I avoided because they weren’t going to be better than anything I could make at home. So.

It was really interesting and fun. Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful. I got some great information about which breeds grow best where and how to tend the trees to make them grow healthy and strong. All of this information and I don’t have any land to grow anything on! And before you say I have a nice back garden let me remind you that I live in a swamp where we can’t even keep our flowers alive!

I did my best not to spend any money and I nearly succeeded. All I bought was a teeny tiny jar of jam. It was a gorgeous stall and I was drawn in immediately. There were so many bizarre but delicious varieties that I had trouble choosing. The seller lectured me on one particular variety of berry which is a hybrid and complained at length about how the Americans were claiming credit for creating this specific hybrid and how it’s typical for “those Americans” to take credit for everything before she realised I’m American. It was beyond saving, though, so she just apologised emphatically and we had a good laugh about it in the end.

There was also a group of folks pressing apples to make hard cider with, which was interesting to watch. I kept thinking they couldn’t possibly press them any further and it kept on going and going. There is a LOT of juice in an apple! I think they had a deal where if you brought your own apples they would press them for you, which is pretty darn cool. I didn’t have any apples with me, though, because I don’t have any apples full stop.

There are a few more of these events coming up in the next couple of weeks and I am looking forward to going to as many as possible. I am in search of an orchard where I can pick my own, to tide me over until I have an orchard of my own.

If you happen to know anyone in our area who is giving away large tracts of arable land please let me know. 🙂

xo
A

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galloway forest in the fall

I’m just going to let these speak for themselves:

 

It was glorious.

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Galloway Forest

I’m so pleased.  Very pleased.

Why, you ask?  Well,  on Monday I sent an e-mail to the Forestry Commission asking about leaves.  Laugh, if you will, but I am serious.  I asked whether their leaves had started changing yet – I didn’t want to miss them in all their glory and I am planning to take an afternoon off work to photograph the trees in Galloway Forest Park.

I was unsure whether I would recieve a response or not, but receive one I certainly did.  I was highly impressed the next day when I got a lovely e-mail from one of their staff:

” I have spoken to a couple of my colleagues and they say that the leaves are just starting to turn but are not in their full glory yet.  The area around Kirroughtree Visitors Centre and the Bruntis Trail is starting to go but many other areas are still quite green.  I have mentioned to [L. H.] who does our blog and she will mention the colours in future postings.  However, she does ony do this about once a week.  If you could tell me which area you are intending to visit and if you want to e-mail us again I will try to keep you posted and hopefully you can get here before the trees are bare!”

How kind, how informative, how helpful.  I have yet to respond to this e-mail but I can assure you that it will be a glowing and effusive e-mail applauding them.

Then their blog post.  I am not going to copy the whole thing, but please go to their website to read it.  Below is an excerpt:

Galloway Forest Park

“Whilst the full [throes] of Autumn hasn’t quite happened in this wood yet, the warm light from the late afternoon sun filters through the trees and provides anticipation and a subtle glimpse of great things to come.”

So I am very pleased.  I was expecting a sentence or two quickly letting me know the status of the leaves, if I received any response at all, but the staff of the Forestry Commission have gone above and beyond in this instance helping me out more than I ever hoped they would.

Perhaps I am not the only person to enquire about the autumn leaves, I am sure with such a large park and such beautiful landscapes many others like myself are planning trips to the park this fall, however to have a response so tailored to my enquiry totally blew me away.

Thank you Forestry Commission for making me even more excited about the prospects of autumn.  Thank you for taking me seriously and thank you for taking the time to respond so kindly.

The rest of you, watch this space because you can be sure there will be photos posted in the next few weeks chronicling the autumnal glory and vicious beauty of a forest in full seasonal change.

xo

A

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an apology

I feel the need to apologize to Scotland.

I am sorry I said all those terrible things about your season of fall.  If every day is as lovely as today I’ll have to take them back completely. 

It’s warm, sunny and clear with a cool breeze carrying the smell of dry-leaf fires. From my window at work I can see the sun glinting off the ocean and the Isle of Arran hulking proud in the distance.  The farmers’ fields are impossibly green, spotted with sheep and interspersed with the crew-cut honey brown of the recent harvest.

If only the leaves would cooperate and change color majestically this year, I would be set.

Except I am still pining for an orchard to pick my own apples…but you can’t always have everything you ask for.

So, thank you for proving me wrong.

xo

A

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fall.

It’s officially autumn which is my favourite season of the year. Don’t get me wrong, there are things about winter that I love and there are certainly things about spring and summer that I love as well, but nothing compares to the leaf-crunching, crisp air, hot chocolate and a good book, smell of distant smoke, perfect weather for baking loveliness of autumn.

And, boy, am I ever excited!

One thing, though, autumn here is just not as good as autumn in Ohio. The leaves on the tress change colours differently (it seems to happen overnight here…) and the air is more damp than crisp (read: constant rain). There aren’t (as far as I can find) any orchards nearby where I can go apple-picking. There are no choose-your-own pumpkin patches. No haunted houses. No trick-or-treating (unless you’re under the age of 7). I can’t find any non-alcoholic apple cider and there’s no anticipation of deep winter with feet and feet of snow. Not to mention their screaming lack of THANKSGIVING.

But I have resolved to make the most of it.

Attempt number one was my baking of Smitten Kitchen’s Jewish Apple Cake whish has to be my favorite First Thing To Bake in Fall. This would have worked wonderfully, I had visions of myself seated on the stairs of our deck drinking hot coffee and enjoying this cake in the mist of a chilly Sunday morning, however this was not to be. Why? Because after the cake was in the oven for nearly 3 hours and still liquid I had to admit to myself that the oven just isn’t working. So. Until we figure out what is wrong with our new oven I’m afraid my enjoyment of fall has been thwarted.

There will be no delicious apple cake, no dense and sticky gingerbread, no Christmas Morning Muffins fresh and hot from the oven. The way of tackling this problem is three fold. First I am going to ask my In-Laws if I can bake cake at their house (understanding I’ll surrender half shares in all baked goods), second I am going to plead with my husband to figure out how to fix our oven (thermostat? auto-shut off? who knows!) and if we can’t get it fixed I am going to beg my sister and brother in-laws (hi Alan!) to give us their old oven when they get their new oven installed during their kitchen renovation. Although the broken oven in our kitchen right now is the result of one such charitable donation and I’m wondering if it’s just a bad idea to begin with.

So, to take my mind off the broken oven and the startling lack of sweet cinnamon and apple smelling kitchen, S and I are redecorating our lounge. This is an ongoing task which is sapping my will to live. First the wallpaper had to come down which took forever, then we had to wash the wallpaper residue off the walls, which took forever. Since then we have painted two coats of white paint over the (lovely, ha) teal blue paint which had been hiding beneath the wallpaper (and I thought it couldn’t get worse than peach!). Now all that remains is gloss paint on the woodwork (loads of it!) and two coats of our chosen color on the walls.

We’ve been taking our time with this task so as not to wear ourselves out, however now we have a deadline in the form of S’s flat-screen television purchase which will be delivered a week from tomorrow. A race to finish the lounge so we can hang a television on our wall. Apparently it’s 3.8cm wide which is, apparently, amazing.

So this weekend will be spent not baking, but painting. My trip down to Galloway Forest Park will have to wait another week, although the leaves are still green so there’s no point in going until they start to change. I just hope they don’t do their spectacular changing colour in one evening and then falling off the trees in one fell swoop all over the course of 24 hours trick (see the Whomping Willow in Harry Potter 3), like they usually do. Because if I miss the leaves falling off their trees I might just cry until spring time.

Do yourselves a favor, though, and bake that apple cake.  It’s delicious and the perfect treat to have ready when returning into the house after raking a metric tonne of leaves off the lawn in the backyard.  And go to an orchard and pick-your-own apples to make it with.

Happy Fall.

xo

A

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