November 2012


McMurdoston’s three apple trees have borne fruit in enormous quantity. After a great deal of research we think we have an Epicure, a Lord Derby and a White Melrose, although we’re still unsure as to whether one of them is a Charles Ross… the previous owners left an enigmatic list but sadly didn’t draw a map with the co-ordinates of each tree!!!

I’m now doing battle with the enormous glut. I have made apple cakes, pies and crumbles, I’ve frozen apple puree, I’ve made apple jams (spiced is popular with the guests), apple jellies (with rosemary/rowan/bramble), I’ve baked several of Steve’s trout with apple and put apple into any dish  I think I can get away with its presence. The birds are struggling to come to terms with the colourful pile under their feeder. I have asked a friend to lend me his book on making wine and now feel an investment in the equipment will make this time next year much more interesting… In addition I’m trying out the ancient ‘press’ in one of the steadings and have stored some of all three varieties in there, hoping one won’t  go mouldy and ruin the lot.


I went for a walk up the hill this evening and came back down through what we call the ‘orchard’ to lean on the wall and look for barn owls (none spotted tonight, but lots of bats). I picked an apple (?Epicure) on the way and I can honestly say it was one of the most delicious I’ve ever eaten.

Two different types of lavender are still flowering at McMurdoston, as are poppies and hollyhocks. Large flocks of chattering fieldfares are appearing and noisy skeins of geese continue to fly in.