That time of year again

Every year some friends generously allow us to go and collect apples from the old trees behind their house. The trees are tall and there’s always fun and games with a long pole to knock the apples off – they are simply too high up to pick by hand. Every year I completely forget to take photographs, and 2021 is no exception. Anyway, the apples end up a little bumped, but since they are cookers and I process them quite quickly, this is not a problem. The upshot is that every year in late September or October, I end up with a big tub full of apples and several days of work to convert them into a product that will be useable through the coming year. This seasonI have decided that the majority will be stewed and bottled, plus some used for sweet hot chilli sauce. Some years I make lots of juice, but we haven’t been drinking it much lately, so that is not my current priority. Of course, the abundance means that there is lots of opportunity for apple cakes, crumbles and pies, and today we indulged and had them with waffles and cream for brunch.

This old-fashioned approach to storing the the glut and not having to rely on what’s in the shops at any given time of year feels very much like rebellion – a quiet protest against the food system that most of us find ourselves unavoidably bound to. I love the seasonality of harvesting food; I love making use of local produce and exploring inventive ways to preserve it and value it; I love a cupboard full of sealed jars, squirrelled away for use during less productive seasons; and I love the kindness of those who share their bounty freely.

My Kind of People

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The Masterpiece in all its glory (picture: Alan Charlton)

When I first started blogging, I wasn’t really sure where it would lead or what to expect. I was originally inspired by Hedvig Murray, a permaculture practitioner I met on a course about seven years ago. I thought that I would share information relating to my Diploma in Applied Permaculture Design and maybe keep in touch with other like-minded people. Well, I did that… and we made a blanket known as “The Masterpiece” to represent my permaculture diploma (thanks to all those of you who contributed all those years ago – I’m still sitting on it every day as I work and blog). I think I’ll put together the story of the blanket in a post soon because so many of you weren’t around for it… and I also want to include the story as a chapter in one of my planned books.

Anyway, I finished my diploma, but by that time the blog had become a record of all sorts of stuff that I do and a place where I had met and made friends with amazing, talented, enthusiastic people from around the world. And this is really what I hadn’t expected – that my blog would become one aspect of a community; that I would follow other blogs; that I would write to, Skype and even meet fellow bloggers face-to-face. That we would send each other gifts, that we would swap our creations, that we would share ideas and give support, and that we would feel part of a safe and caring ‘space’ were all totally unexpected outcomes.

The time and effort invested in blogging is always worthwhile. At one point I thought that I might have to give up replying to comments, but what’s the fun in that? The comments and responses make a blog the dynamic and responsive space that it is – if I just wanted to tell you stuff I’d write a book or set up an ordinary web site. Both have their place, but they serve different purposes. And so, the blog carries on and people continue to be immensely kind.

Not long ago I gained a new reader, Patricia. She came to the blog via a personal recommendation… actually someone who I know through permaculture and who was there when I did my diploma presentation with the blanket. I hope that she’s going to write a guest blog post soon and stimulate some discussion but in the mean time we’ve communicated by email and via the blog. Anyway, the other day I mentioned that I thought I’d get myself a new notebook and make a start on writing one of those books I have in mind. Immediately Patricia said she had just the thing and today I received this:

With this explanation:IMGP4864Oh, I’m so touched. What a wonderful gift – what wonderful history. Thank you, Patricia, I hope that one day we can meet up and talk fabric and yarn ans sustainability over tea and cake.

So, that sums up my experience of blogging – you really are my kind* of people – thank you all for being here.

-oOo-

* According to the OED, ‘kind’ has several meanings, including:

A natural quality, property, or characteristic; a distinctive feature of a person or thing

and

A class, sort, or type of people or things

and

the people with whom a specific individual has a great deal in common

and, my favourite

Having or showing a benevolent, friendly, or warm-hearted nature or disposition; ready to assist, or show consideration for, others; sympathetic, obliging, considerate.

 

 

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