Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Days are drawing in.

Autumn, a gentler word than Fall, is well-advanced and on this gloomy evening it was dark by seven. At the end of the month when Summer Time goes it will be dark before six. The rate of change of dusk and dawn then slows down to a minimum at the solstice.

It puzzled me why the earliest dusk was before the solstice and the latest dawn after it. One would have expected them to have been virtually the same. The reason is that the Equation of Time, the difference beween actual sun time, that is to say Apparent Solar Time and Mean Time is changing more rapidly han the change in the length of day. There is something to dowith Refraction too but we shall pass over that.

My little apple tree which I rescued from the shrubbery where it had long been struggling to survive has rerwarded me by twelve apples. Here it is in blossom last April:

And here it is with twelve apples - one not visible:

It is said to be a Charles Ross, a variant on Coxes Orange Pippin a popular variet which ripens only after long-keeping. The Charles Ross is supposed toripen ealry but mine are still not ripe, though edible - I have just eaten one. I shall pick the remainder and store them carefully until they appear a little softer. When the Coxes is ripe the seeds rasttle when the fruit is shaken. I had four apples last year, twelve this year - 48 next year?

There is something very satisfying about growing something to eat. It is seldom economic of course. To grind one'sone flour with a quern - look that one up - and make bread hoping thatg wild yeast will make the dough rise must be rewarding if laborious.

I was given a bag of Quinces, not a common fruit. I quote:

"Although grown mainly for their flowers, ornamental quinces can produce attractive, apple-shaped edible fruit that persists throughout autumn.

The fruit of the common quince, Cydonia oblonga, has by far the best flavour. It can be trained as an open-centred bush on a short stem and once the framework is established, needs minimal pruning. It needs regular feeding and mulching with a well-rotted compost or manure every spring.

The fragrant fruits, which resemble hard, lumpy pears, can't be eaten raw but are valued in preserves and for baking. The most common variety is C. oblonga 'Vranja', whose pear-shaped fruits are ready for picking when they turn from green to gold in late autumn."

I have made Quince Cheese a thick jam or jelly recommended to be eaten with cheese. That was tedious but moderately creative.

More of life in Broadmayne and London later.

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