Pork and Apple
I feel I have failed my apple trees this year. Everyone it seems had a poor crop. We have a tree with three varieties on it, which the lady at the nursery didn't really want to sell "because they are troublesome", but that's not been an issue. The Cox branches didnt bear much this year, but despite the general dearth, the golden delicious seemed to be relatively quite a bumper crop.
And I did pick some. They were a bit scabby, and this is my least favourite variety, so I ate a few, but I am afraid they mostly sat in the conservatory, unloved, going wrinkled. Many more fell from the tree, and lay where I could see them from the house, challenging my ineptitude. Last year, we made cider, and chutney, and I took apples to work every day for months. What went wrong ?
I did console myself because quite a few showed signs of pecking, enjoyed by the birds through the harshest days of the winter. The blackbirds in particular seem to relish them, and they keep going on an individual apple until it is quite a hollowed out shell. The slugs enjoy them too, part of natural decomposition, though there is too great an abundance of them.
But now, with the first warmth of spring sunshine, and before the blossom starts to form, it is really time to clear the ground.
My friend Dominic keeps a pair of pigs in his garden, or rather he fattens up pigs over the winter, this being his third brood. On Christmas day, when we were round for drinks, admiring his 'boisterous boys' from the safety of the house, I mentioned my crop. The pigs go for slaughter in a couple of weeks, so today was the day to take them an apple treat.
It feels more worthwhile than just composting, and maybe a late appley diet will enhance the flavour of the pork. Last year's tasted good, and they only got the cider pressings from me !