A lingering autumn has almost made up for the miserably damp summer we had. A high pressure, that would have brought perfect weather for haymaking in the summer but never blessed us then, settled over the UK in September and gave us calm days with misty mornings and hazy sunshine.

Sunrise and spider webs over Middle Field

Golden sunrise from the Patio table

It was time for the apple harvest. Situated about 160 metres above sea level and with high rainfall, Yewfield is very much on the edge of sensible orchard culture. The trees have to contend with cold springs at pollination time, wet summers that encourage fungal infections and a short growing season. The variety that does best with us is the cooking apple Keswick Codlin. The story goes that this was first discovered growing on a rubbish heap near Ulverston in 1790 and that a nurseryman from Keswick propagated and established it.

We make juice with our apples and freeze it in bottles to consume over the winter when the zingy, tart drink gives us a shot of much-needed vitamins. This year we were lucky enough to have help. Sarah, who also helped us set up this blog (thank you, Sarah!) came out of her office to have some fun.

Sarah with Keswick Codlin spectacles

Back in the kitchen we washed and cut the fruit, then crushed it and pressed the crushed pulp with our trusty apple press from Vigo. Christine and Andrea, who are usually to be found serving guests’ breakfasts or turning hospital corners in their rooms found a spare hour to help. We couldn’t have done it without the help from all three ladies, and a change from the office and the housekeeping was no doubt welcome to them. As we toasted the first fruits we tapped back in to the days when the harvest was a whole family or community affair.

Cheers from Christine, Sarah and Andrea

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