Saturday, 17 January 2015

Hoping for a better apple crop

12 days after Old Christmas Day ( before the calender changed around 500 years ago) at dusk, people used to go out to the orchards, especially in the West Country, Kent, Essex and Suffolk, to Wassail the Apple trees.

Old Apple tree
We wassail thee
And hope that you will bare
Hats full, Caps full
And a little heap under the stair

Some of a farm workers pay was in the form of cider so a good crop was vital. Wassail is a toast meaning good health and bread soaked in cider would be hung on the tree while this verse - or something similar - was said and the tree beaten with sticks ( seems a bit harsh but there are many rhymes associated with beating trees for a good crop. For instance " A dog, a woman and a Walnut tree, the more you beat them the better they be!")

I looked to see if there were any wassailing ceremonies happening in Suffolk and there's one over at Ringshall in Mid Suffolk, a bit too far away from us, so we shall just be out here in our own orchard.
 I don't think I shall be out there long as it's pretty  chilly today and we even had 10 seconds of snow.

First thing this morning we got the rest of the fruit bushes mulched with our compost, I still haven't pruned the gooseberries - but never mind. I shan't get concerned about jobs not done this early in the year. My first sowing of seeds has been a disaster, the propagator got accidentally turned off and I didn't notice for a couple of days. There are a few tomato seedlings  up but that's all. Plenty of time to sow more. I have problems getting up enthusiasm for gardening in January, though things for the poly-tunnels really do need starting this early.

The member of the Smallholders Society came and got two IBCs this morning, so with the two that sold at the auction yard on Monday they have earned us £116 this week. ( minus what Col paid for them of course) Very handy.

Thank you to everyone for comments yesterday. There are several new followers by Bloglovin' but it won't let me see who you are today. Welcome whoever you are! Bloglovin' is catching up to Google Friends. I like Google best because of the little pictures!

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