A nice quiet morning... watched Countryfile as usual and did assorted emaily things.
Soon after 1pm I got myself on my bike and heading over to see Barry Potter and his orchard... he's right on the other side of town but I bombed along and arrived in just under 30 minutes very hot and sweaty, but not late!
Quite a few others turned up, all local and all interested in apples, orchards or cider making... or all three! Barry's garden on Knapton Lane, like many other areas just on the outskirts of York (including our garden) is on the site of an old orchard... planted at least 100 years ago, and with many of the old trees still standing and fruiting.
Barry has got quite a big garden with at least 6 large apple trees, and he's carefully pruned them and kept them in good shape. We learned a little about different sorts of pruning and what it does for the tree, and management such as tying long shoots down to horizontal to get fruiting buds to grow. He showed us how he keeps his harvest and his grafting experiments. There were three sorts of graft he's succeeded with... bud grafts where just a tiny bud and bit of bark is transplanted, a stick graft where two twigs of a similar size are put together, and a rather wonderful experiment where he'd grafted many twigs onto a large existing tree, onto the trunk and into cut ends of large branches... amazing! He also showed us a pear he's grafted onto hawthorn stock and explained about the various rootstocks available and the different vigour they confer to the scion, or bit grafted onto it. I was transfixed... I'd love to have a go at grafting and may do next summer. But this winter I have to prune all my apples!
Then we moved to Jane and Tony's garden... on first look it's just an ordinary semi but behind is a large 'market garden' which has taken over much of the interior of the block, and they have loads of greenhouses and beds, all very productive. My Vigo fruit press and apple crusher had been installed into one of the greenhouses with a display of apples, all named, and some delicious apple cake, apple and tea bread, apple pie and apple flapjack. A group of us set to and chopped the apples for juicing in two and popped them into the crusher, which when held down by two or more people, can be operated by another person rotating the wheel and toothed rollers. Soon the press was full of pulp and I got the boards on top and the screw-threaded ratchet thingy going round, gradually increasing the pressure and squeezing out over a gallon and a half of juice.
I left before it got dark as I wanted to see how the crop of sweet chestnuts was getting on outside Manor School. There were some down, but it's just a bit early and this year they are a bit smaller than in previous years. Still managed to collect about a kilo of them... good for a nutloaf. Came home via Museum Gardens where I was too early to see the illuminations but I may pop down later after tea, if I feel like it...
And I did... after 10 I made myself go and see the artworks in Museum Gardens... and I'm so glad I did. See Ross Ashton's website for an idea of what it was like. The piece was about 15 minutes long and was a trip through some of the collection of objects and artifacts in the Yorkshire Museum, from fossils to tapestries, masks to stuffed animals, plus images of DNA and magic numbers like Pi, lightning, computer code, books, and LOADS more... all set to music, strange sounds and poetry. Two screens were used, the front of the Yorkshire Museum and the ruins of St Mary's Abbey. I do wish I'd been able to persuade my children to come and see it.