The grapes are actually very ripe and extremely sweet – not the least bit sour although most of them were way out of my reach.
I got some bunches down ‘by hook or by crook’ – a very apt phrase in the context.
Maybe next year I’ll try to direct the vine a little lower through the branches of the apple tree.
This prolific apple tree makes an attractive background to our double-headed lantern.
It’s a show rather than eat tree because its apples aren’t at all nice (and we have plenty that are).
In fact it’s rather hazardous because the fallen apples turn up everywhere and skid under the feet like ball bearings.
The cold, wet weather may have meant there’s no blossom at all on some of the apple trees, but it didn’t hamper this clematis.
The photo is of the inside of the balustrade, where the fronds have pushed through like a tidal wave.
It’s difficult to imagine where any more blossoms might be fitted in!
The perfume, which is extremely heady, practically knocks you out when you go near.
The flowers remind me of the little white plastic crosses which Chokri has been using to space tiles with.
Tantalus was tortured by having fruit that forever eluded his grasp. This was rather my experience with the apple tree in the photo.
I took a tarpaulin there today to lay over the brambles in front of the tree and protect myself from the prickles. It worked reasonably well, but what I hadn’t realised was that the tree grows on the edge of a steep bank masked by those brambles.
As I edged forward, it was as if the tree receded in front of me. I only managed to pick 5 apples before I had to reconsider my approach.
The bank drops into a deep, damp hollow surrounded by brambles and wild clematis but otherwise relatively clear.
What I did was knock the apples I could reach with my stick down into the hollow, then slither down there and pick them up.
When I got back to the house I tried one. They’re hard, juicy and full of flavour – really good apples. It’s such a shame that all these old trees have gone to rack and ruin with canker and invading weeds.
These branches belong to one of the two trees I call the Magic Apple Trees.
When we first viewed the house before buying it, they were bearing golden apples in the middle of a sea of greenery and they made a deep impression on me.
Unfortunately part of the magic is that the apples are almost completely inaccessible. The trees grow on the edge of raised ground and most of the fruit is on branches over the void.
Yesterday, poking up as far as I could, I managed to reach a cluster of 3 apples with my ‘fruit hook’, a curve of very stiff wire on the end of a bamboo pole.
The first apple landed against brambles half way down the slope and Joules went for it. (Not to fetch it, but to eat it himself; luckily he obeys me when I shout at him to stop.)
The second sliced itself partly open on a rock and skipped a great distance into a clump of grass.
The third rolled until it hit a tree trunk and was seized by Kepler.
Kepler knew, as he always does, that he had a great prize so there was no way I was going to get it. I found it later on the gravel in front of the house.
These are delicious apples and the wild boars polish them off if they fall on their own. I could wish, though, that the challenge were not quite so great in order to obtain the riches …
The photo shows the corner of the orchard furthest away from the house and the drive, where there are two apple trees next door to each other.
The weather has been so wet of late that I doubt if much of the apple blossom has been pollinated.
The rain has been excellent for the grass, though.
The grass in the orchard is quite different to the grass in the olive grove beyond it, even though we never sowed any grass seed after planting the fruit trees but just let it repopulate by itself. It’s much softer, lusher and fast-growing.
It’s perfect if you want to flop down in it for a picnic or a snooze at this time of year, but (along with its weeds) it rapidly gets to head height if you don’t strim it.
I’ll be having the delightful job of strimming it quite soon. In fact the sooner the better, because if everything gets too high, it’s twice the labour.