Feeding oneself and family becomes a lifelong rhythm – and without too much thought, the practicalities of Spring are attended to – planning, clearing, cleaning, sowing. Each year regardless of all the variables in nature, climate and humans, I am amazed how much one can continue to produce and enjoy in the garden, despite all that life throws our way.

Frugality is an enjoyable and inherent part of growing food – who wants to waste anything after so much care has been given? What to grow to provide nourishment throughout the year also becomes second nature as you learn to attune to your own garden place. As you can imagine, Tommy and I enjoy our apples, and when we moved from Capparoe to Feakle, the first thing we did was to plant an orchard. Occasionally frugality supersedes wisdom and a lot of our apple trees, planted 17 years ago, were not our favorite and cherished varieties, they were ones left over at Seed Savers that weren’t doing so well. Always curious about how to coax fruit plants into production and not wanting to recycle these trees, we planted a good number of them on our new piece of land.

Almost all of these were self rooters and some not really too tasty. But this winter, the freezer left with only a few bags of these ‘second rate’ apple slices – creativity kicked in. During the recent snow fall, our cooking gas froze and we turned to the little slow cooker at the back of the cupboard. Rough apples, skin and all, and a bit of sweetener went into the pot and after a few hours a sweet smell filled the kitchen. Ah but inside still rough watery looking apples, so deciding to try another route (don’t throw them out!) we blended it all and suddenly what had looked distinctly unappetising became almost caramelised and sweet – so delicious!

So if you too have planted an apple tree and been a bit disappointed by the fruit – slice and freeze for the end of winter – slow cook without the addition of anything except to sweeten to taste, blend and feel the gratitude of yet another delight from the garden and bless ones good fortune of being able to share in natures bounty, however it presents itself!