Saturday, 14 November 2009

Rain (almost) Stops Play

The final cider apple harvest of the season very nearly didn't happen this weekend. Friday arrived along with severe weather warnings, and a mild dose of 'Sore Throat & Sniffles'. I'm not very good at being ill, particularly when there's work to be done, so Karen and myself retreated to the Red Lion for restorative pints of Welland Valley Mild round the cosy log fire. Nice, but not getting the cider made.

I must say, we've been very lucky with the weather this year (and our health for that matter). It was only a matter of time before a proper bit of Autumn weather came along and put the dampers on things. I'm sure a time will come when the whole cidermaking season will be nothing more than a freezing, windy, washout. Proper hard work...

A break in the weather on Sunday meant an unfeasibly early 6am start to get to the orchard for daybreak, and what a day. It was as if the Autumn had been rolled back again for one last warm(ish), sunny day. I really love the peacefulness of the orchard at this time of year, with most of the trees now bare of fruit and leaves, and nothing but Woodpeckers, Buzzards and the occasional sleepy Wasp for company. It's been very hard work harvesting the fruit this year, but I'm going to miss being in this orchard when the season finally comes to an end.

Meanwhile. there's an awful lot of Vilberie cider apples to harvest, plus a few Bramleys and some mystery yellow apples which will hopefully add a bit of balancing sharpness to the blend. There are five Vilberie trees in the orchard, I managed to harvest two of them, leaving a fair bit to do next Friday when I plan to make the final visit of the year to this beautiful corner of rural Worcestershire (weather permitting!). John kindly loaned me the use of his old Land Rover, saving me the job of lugging 30+ sacks of apples down to the car through a wet and muddy orchard, and whatever happens now, there's apples to be pressed, and fermenters to be filled next weekend.

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