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How to make an apple pie

pie11 Your dear old Aunty realizes that this might sound a bit silly, but there are people in the world who have never made an apple pie and who dearly would like the experience of making one. And at this time of the year (at least in cooler parts of the world), the availability of apples is pretty much at its height. (more…)

We’ve always done it this way… or not.

This year has been the Year of the Pudgy Squirrels, but it has also been the Year of the Bunny. Oh, do we have bunnies. And they are extremely fast on their little furry feets, too. I set out kohlrabi, cauliflower and broccoli plants and snip, snip. (more…)

If You’re Putting This Off, Do it Now: Pruning Apple Trees

This winter and spring have been nuts everywhere. Here in Upstate New York, we’ve had the driest and warmest winter that I can remember. Considering we had horrific hurricanes and flooding last August and September, It really makes your head swim (so to speak).

Which makes doing anything in the garden according to some sort of calendar a wee bit weird. Ordinarily, the DH would have gone out to prune the apple tree in January (which, even under the best of circumstances, is an onerous task – it’s cold and your hands freeze up). This year, he kept putting it off until I saw a note from one of our local U-pick apple orchards that they were out pruning in March. Now, between the ‘not what it says in the book’ thing and “It’s awfully warm out there…” thing, he was dubious to say the least, but since a) we had to get the apple tree cleaned up (that is, open up the middle by clearing out all the sprouts) and b) There were a lot of those ‘growing straight up in the air and if you leave them, they will get bowed down with apples, ice, snow and break off’ sorts of things, we decided we’d take an hour and get at it. Since the buds on the tree had not swelled or opened, we figured we’d be in good shape to do this. (more…)

Apples of my eye

We tend to take apples pretty much for granted here in the US. We grow a lot of apples here and except for the deep deep South and the southwest, we’ve pretty much got apples covered. And we have our own mythology in terms of the spread of apples in the US – John Chapman, America’s “Johnny Appleseed” (who was literally a legend in his own time) spread nurseries of an apple from Massachusetts called the “Rambo” which probably was brought here from Sweden. Rambo is an ok apple – general purpose, really (which is what would have made it popular in the 18th and 19th century since if you could only afford one apple tree next to your house, you wanted it to be hardy and something you could use to make everything from cider (Colonial America’s #1 drink) to sauce to dried to pies. Which is what Rambo was good for. Not a great shipping apple mind you but when America ate it’s apples, it was not going down to the Safeway(tm) to buy them.

But people have never been able to let well enough alone with apples. (more…)

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