Thursday, 28 August 2008

Mr.Grieves and the tree of happiness

Where we live ,on a little lane of 6 properties tucked between two houses and bordered by the park, it used to be orchards. The Worcestershire area is famed for its fruit, used mainly to make Cider.

When we first moved here there were several very old apple trees scattered between the gardens that unfortunately have since been cut down. Our old gnarled tree is one of only two that remain, full of mistletoe and loved by the blackbirds.

Ours will never be chopped down whilst I'm still living here!

Every year without fail, it produces hundreds of beautiful ,rosy tinted sweet apples. I've been told by a lady who's lived here for more than 40 years, that they are a 'James Grieve' variety, a Victorian apple first developed in Scotland.

My old truck is parked beneath the tree and every now and again you hear a thud of an apple dropping onto its roof....sounds like it's time to climb the tree then!!

hmmm...3 men in the house and guess who gets the job of chief apple collector...yep.. me!

why are the best ones always at the very top?
The neighbours must think I'm mad,balancing on top of an old truck,one leg in the tree, one on the roof, collecting apples with a basket and a camera! ..the hills ..the hills...I can see the hills! .....(well, one of them anyway!)

Five basket-loads later and we have only picked about a quarter of them...I'll leave lots for the birds and bugs. The rest of them get shared out amongst our neighbours.

...totally organic and not a mark on them!

oh goody,I think we shall be having apple crumble for tea.Yummy!..I had better get peeling and anyone?

Talking of trees...

Emily, and her amazing cakes blog called ''sugar & meringue'', has tagged me with her 'tree of happiness award'..thanks Emily, I could do with thinking about some happy stuff at the mo.. so here are the six things that make up my tree of happiness :

1.Chickens...I absolutely love chickens..we had a very long garden in the house I grew up in and they lived right at the bottom next to the vegetable patch. When I was little I used to carry them around and bring them in the house, dress them in dolls clothes and basically annoy the hell out of them! but I have been obsessed with poultry ever since and can bore the pants of anyone who needs any 'chicken info'!

(me and Dick-p)

2.My best buddy...known affectionately as Dick P. I don't know anyone who shares the exact same stupid sense of humor as me..or someone who uses the words 'poo' or 'pants' as much as me.I met her on the first day of art college and knew immediately that we would be friends forever, infact I think of her as my fourth sister now. We have had such a laugh in the last 20 odd years and I just wish we lived nearer to each other.

(photo borrowed from google)
3.The North...I really love Northumberland and Cumbria, such a beautiful,rugged place..featuring the two things on my 'have to live near' list..water and hills. I even love the unpredictable weather they get there..this leads me to my next happy thing..
(photo borrowed from google)

4. Geordies...I love this accent and every Geordie (a natve inhabitant of Newcastle-upon -Tyne) I've ever met has been so friendly. I once got marooned on a train with a whole bunch of Geordie red-coats coming back from their summer stint in a Cornish holiday about hilarious. Hah way man.

5.Books...I love reading about the Tudors, the last book I read was based on fact and charted the history of Lady Jane Grey..a sad and tragic tale, I couldn't put it down and was reading it in my pyjamas at 2 in the afternoon with tears running down my face! (silly tart!) I also love vintage children's books and 'housey' books...I would much rather be reading than watching TV.

(photo borrowed from google)

6.Cake...I would be a caketarian if I could..who ever decided that a simple mix of sugar,butter,eggs and flour would make the most delectable food of all time needs to be given the highest accolade of all time..well in the cake world anyway...Cake! I LOVE quite apt that this happiness tag came from a cake lady herself.

I've also been given this award recently from Segsa Carol and Deb..thanks you guys, you're so kind! I will pass it on at some point, it seems to be awards-a-gogo at the moment, so I will leave it for a bit if you don't mind ( I'm so lazy aren't I ..sorry!!)


  1. Oh I do enjoy your posts ~ a bloomin' good read. You've covered just about everything that I love too. Apples, hills, water, cake,chickens, tudors etc. etc.

    I watched that Jimmy programme recently and he had travelled to a bloke who is trying to save old varieties of apples ~ is James Grieves rare? ~ 'cus this bloke would want to know if it is!
    My chickens are moulting at the mo ~ what a sorry sight they are too and not an egg for ages too!
    Sorry to ramble x

  2. What a lovely list, I enjoy finding out more about the people behind the blog. I love cake too and the Geordie accent, could learn to love chickens and hope to own some one day!

  3. I would so love an apple tree.

    Your tree is wonderful....what a shame most of the other trees have gone....

    Do they store well?

    Do you put a sticky band around the trunk to stop the mothy thingys crawling up?

  4. We have to park in the most inconvenient ways this time of year - the Bramley's falling in the night set off the car alarms!
    I love that you love cake - but for me it has to have loads of icing too...the rich gooey buttery kind! t.x

  5. Oh, those apples look absolutely delicious! I think it was worth climbing to the top!
    One of my favourite things or places is Cumbria too! I lived near Keswick for nearly three years whilst travelling the world and loved every minute of it and fell in love with a geordie man!!! I still come out with the little sayings he used to say to me "Hah way man" and the most affectionate one "you silly moo!" I wonder what he is doing now....I came home without him.
    I hope all is well with you Sairer, Kathryn.

  6. Nice looking apples. I wouldn't be too upset about having to pick them yourself because you know for a job to be done correctly a woman better do it ;)

  7. Morning....was just reading your latest blog....such a sweet picture of you and your friend!! are you dancing or skipping?? You look as tho you are about to jive! i do Lindy hop....we began about 6 wks ago......its been good fun!
    Well skipping or dancing you both look full of life!!!

    have a good day!!!! xxx

  8. hi Mel..we are actually doing an 'Irish jig at double speed' :0) I would love to be able to lindy hop or jive but have two left feet!

    (it's actually quite an old photo of us!)

  9. I think we were separated at birth!! Chickens, books, cake, the north...what else do you need? (well, I could think of a couple of things)
    I have an old apple tree in the garden, no idea about the variety but always provides plenty of fruit and windfalls for the birds...including the 'fowl' one. Have some crumble for favourite pud! x

  10. Caketrian - now that sounds like a really good idea.

  11. Lovely basket of apples they look delicious!

  12. Oh I bet the neighbours enjoyed watching you perched on the tree... Isn't it funny how the view gets nicer the higher you go? Makes you feel like building a tree house or something.

  13. what a cute blog you have. I love the home pictures. And I too have a big orange kitty. Mines name is Pickle Chips. All he does is sleep on my front porch. Have a super weekend. Wendy

  14. What a delicious post! I'm off blackberrying this weekend, hoping to make a crumble with them and some of mum and dad's apples. We don't have a tree in our garden but lots of neighbours do and they're laden with fruit, all this rain must have done some good. Fantastic list too, they all made me smile. Have a lovely weekend and hope Basil is making a good recovery.
    Stephx - who has her eye on some Pekin bantams for her little garden but isn't brave enough to ask the dh yet!

  15. Beautiful apples they look so delicious!!!!!.
    Don't worry if you don't have time to pass on the award, I only pass them on if I have time!! ,I wont be offended in any way .
    I love your blog and your writing style so friendly .
    Have a good weekend love from sesga xx

  16. Your own apple tree...
    ... How lovely!
    Debbie Moss

  17. I'd like some apple crumble please, to eat while I catch up with the blogs today! I enjoyed ready about the things that make you happy.


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  19. Your apples look absolutely perfect. James Grieve are a handy variety as I think they are suitable as both cookers and eaters? We too are awash with apples here, I just wish they didn't all come at once. Now where did I put that peeler...!
    Hen x

  20. those apples look scrummy hun :) I am looking into getting a couple of fruit trees too xxx

  21. Love it...poo, pants and all!
    I wish I had Hens..I will oneday and when I do I will turn to you for advise.
    I adore Cumbria, I have not been to Northumberland is on my list!
    Carol x

  22. I would love an old apple tree in our garden. We planted one a year ago and it does give us quite a lot of fruit but it'll be a long time before it'll be strong enough for climbing.
    I with you on the caketarian idea. Lets start a new fad!
    Julia xx

  23. I loved viewing all your pictures.
    Thanks for sharing.

  24. I found your blog while blog trawling today. Opposite seasons for us here in NZ but your apples bought back fond memories of our years in the UK, especially when we lived in Harrogate. Autumn being one of my favourite times of the year, and spring and summer and even sometimes winter! I am Taurean and a Rooster too and I make lavender hearts.We are moving soon to a rural property where we can have chickens - I would love to have rescue ones.

  25. Where do you get your "stanley" dogs from...i'm really wanting one....but i can't find one anywhere!!!

  26. Thanks for your lovely comment on my blog..Ditto....
    I do however believe that you actually DO lead the life I hanker after.... Black lab, hens, home full of lovliness...I even spotted the traditional red telephone when reading down your blog!!! You see, you're at least half way there!!!
    We too have an old, old apple tree covered in Mistletoe, although the apples aren't that great. Lovely all the same.
    Jane. x

  27. Hello!
    Another wet day here!!!! so annoying...was looking forward to scooting ariund the charity shops in Didsbury..ggrr!
    Oh well!

    I will keep you posted on the job thingy....all being well i hope i get it!

    I'm not good with having my picture took, i'm either having a "fat" day or i'm pulling a silly face! or something else!
    Olly is always trying to take pic' of my pet hates is the camara phone...cos at anytime ppl can take a piccie.......catch you out.....with mad hair or while eating a huge piece of cake......

    :>) xxxxxx

  28. I have an abundance of apples too. I've been making crumbles and freezing them for winter puds.
    I agree with all your favourite things, especially cake with is my absolute favourite too.

  29. vonnie says what a lovely blog yet again ,i have an allotment at the back of our thirtys house which also has an apple tree and guess what i have to collect them to ,thanks for the super reads you give us and sharing so much by the way the pictures are a treat to many thanks from a chester fan and keep up the good work


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