Thursday, 4 August 2011

Orchards’ End

The old apple tree in the back garden finally succumbed to the ravages of time whilst I was away in Scotland. I came back to find it had demolished the roses, but missed the greenhouse.

Sad to think that it had stood there for nigh on 150 years.

It was planted by my great grandfather as part of a substantial orchard at the back of the farmhouse. This tree was the last of that orchard. The poor old thing had seen off two World Wars, as well as the selling off of the farm. Unfortunately it couldn't see off the rot that set in its' heartwood. I feel sad that such a majestic old tree has gone. I am going to plant another tomorrow – it seems only right.

The wood is far too precious to burn for heat, although having said that apple wood makes a pretty good fire – marvellous smoke. And there is the key; lots of the wood will be used for hot and cold smoking. Some will go up to my friend Andy Richardson in Fife, where I hope it will see some salmon or maybe a sea trout. Some of the bigger bits I hope to get turned into bowls. Something to remind us of the end of a legacy.

Then there are the apples – not fully ripe unfortunately, but ripe enough to make chutney and ideal for cider. Maybe we can drink it from the wooden bowls?


  1. I am always sad to see an old tree come down . . . but how lucky are you to know it's story . .

  2. That is a loss indeed, but the bowls [and spoons] will be a sweet way to honour its memory

  3. Might need bit of help with the carving - I will be in touch, as I'm sure you've tried your hand at this Sten