Potential

Leaves

Ask anyone who knows us. We don’t rush into things.

We study the situation. We agonize over the details. We talk out the possibilities, mentally try out a series of “what-ifs”, watch the wind, wait for the stars to align.

Stakes

We think of alternatives that delay further decisions. We come up with Plan A, then re-evaluate in favor of Plan B, then C…

Sure, we’ve been known to make impulse decisions. You only have to look at our overflowing book shelves and CD collection to realize that.

Arrival

But some things take a long time to develop, and the longer you wait to start them, the longer you wait to enjoy them. Things like cheese, and cider, that need to develop flavor slowly, over months and sometimes years. Or a perennial bed. Or the asparagus bed that I still haven’t planted (being too worried all these years about choosing the wrong location, so never choosing any location).

Golden Russet

Two birthdays ago, I bought M an orchard. Rather, a potential mini orchard of four apple trees and two pear trees. I figured we’d waited long enough, and after we lost our favorite Golden Russet tree to Hurricane Irene, it seemed a sign to plant a new one, and a few others while we were at it.

Planting

Golden Russet, golden dog

We should have bought those trees years ago. We should have planted them the summer after we moved the house. Imagine how big those trees would be now? Not full-grown, by any means, but…bearing fruit.

That which we should have done we did not do.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t do it now.

Liberty

We had those trees planted a couple weeks ago. The nursery where I bought them was kind enough to let them stay there until we were ready for them. Then they came with shovels and strong arms and fertilizer and mulch, and they planted.

Seckel Pear

Cox's Orange Pippin

The beautiful part of having made a decision, having finally taken an action, is that you get the satisfaction of waiting and watching the gradual outcome: the soft layer of white mold developing day by day on the camembert; the regular, reassuring “burping” of the cider as it ferments; the tender branches of the baby trees spreading out, and the first buds appearing next year.

Cold day for planting

Of course, we’re on the brink of winter now, and the saplings have lost most of the few leaves they had a couple weeks ago. But I like to imagine below the surface, their roots stretching out comfortably for the first time in their own plot of land, feeling at home and settling in for the long haul, waiting on spring.

Hard freeze on the Golden Russet

The fruits of our Labor Day

One thing leads to another.

A friend’s daughter reads Orangette, where she recently saw a recipe for blueberry-oat scones. She made the scones for my friend. My friend sent me the recipe.

How could I resist?

Blueberry scones

Thinking about the blueberry scones made me think about things I could slather on them before shoving them into my mouth.

The abundance of the beautiful peaches at the farm stand coinciding with the recent publication of a recipe on Smitten Kitchen made my decision obvious: peach butter.

Peach-Vanilla Butter

Meanwhile, I was ruminating on ways to use four perfect, orange, duck egg yolks that were left over after making H an egg-white omelet.

Lemon Curd - Duck egg yolks

Still thinking about spreadable things that go with scones, I came across a recipe for lemon curd, which I’d never made before.

Lemon Curd

Isn’t that a puddle of sunshine for a rainy day?

Peach-Vanilla Butter and Lemon Curd - canned

I was worried that I’d have extra lemons and have to figure out a way to use those, but that didn’t happen.

What we did have, though, was an excess of rain. And rain. And rain.

Enough to finally topple our antique Golden Russet apple tree, laden this year with one of the fullest crops of apples we’ve seen it bear in our 17 years here.

What's left of the Golden Russet tree

In the scheme of things, compared to the farms, barns, houses, roads, and bridges lost and damaged in Vermont in the past week, a tree is not a big thing. Still, we will miss our old friend and the apples it produced, perfect for cider making and unmatchable for pies.

We went out in the drizzle and gathered a bag of apples, nearly ripe and ready.

Golden Russet apples

We’ll make a pie.