size 8 in x 6 in 20cm x 15cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
There are more than 700 apples on the database of the apple key so it is quite surprising when, after answering seven or eight questions on the apple in hand, one variety is chosen by the keying process.
If the apple has an unusual shape in some way( inside or out) it keys out quite fast. The difficulty in using a key is in deciding whether the feature in question fits one answer or another. The apple key I am using allows you to drop questions that are hard to decide and this allows the identification to be made on points that are unambiguous.
I think one of the trees in the orchard is Calville Blanc d’Hiver, it certainly is a cooker and unlike the old English types has very narrow cavities for the pips, it also keeps its shape cooked; I tried a few slices boiled and they remained whole.
Neatly it is one of the parents of Ellison’s Orange or at least a very close relative of that parent. The parent mentioned in Joan Morgan’s book is not listed in the National Collection. I have drawn a little family tree for three eating apples I have been thinking about and however English we think they are they are very very French in their breeding.
Life at the moment is overshadowed by Maths and Physics and a battle of wills raging over the kitchen table between DIY Dad and No1son. DIY exclaims that something is so very very obvious and No1 son groans like an unhappy cow. DIY Dad has to be avoided at this point or he will catch hold of me and start telling me about quadratic equations and the curves produced and the blinding simplicity of it all as if I can do it all in my head! It’s possible to burn any amount of food while trying to give sufficient attention to avoid insulting a man on a mission. I can still do quadratics but only if I have my head down over a piece of paper with NO DISTRACTIONS, therefore I can no longer do quadratics.
I have gone back to the charcoal pencil for this sketch of some of our tomatoes. The heating process (day 135) has been successful in that they did not all succumb to blight as they ripened, however I think it has also made them a little softer than they would have been otherwise. We had some losses still but below 10% and I am certain that without treatment we were heading for 60% or more losses. There are some lovely angles and shapes in the stalks and sepals.
#141 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
Morning glory -
NFS size 6 in x 6 in 15cm x 15cm watercolour on heavy weight rag paper
I went back to look again at the trees in the community orchard to choose five significant trees to concentrate my efforts upon.
I starred five trees to look at. Today I tried to key out a knobbly looking green apple. It has the look of a Codlin or a Catshead and in fact it has the internal structure as well. I also worked on a pretty red eater which seemed to come out as either a Lady Hollendale (very obscure) or Ingrid Marie, I am inclined to the Ingrid Marie which is a Cox descendant which was used to breed Elstar. I begin to realise that apples are like thoroughbred horses they can all trace their lineage from a handful of famous forbears. Ribston’s Pippin begat Cox’s Pippin, which begat Ingrid Marie, which begat Elstar. Ribston’s pip which was grown into the tree was brought from France ( Cox’s Orange Pippin is really at least half French !! Its lucky the Mail doesn’t know about this, I can sense everlasting damage to patriotic pride would result)
On a different subject, there has been a beautiful full moon, I was waiting for some bad nights as last full moon some big moths got into the house and then as the moon shone on the window at night they bashed themselves against it trying to reach the light. Now, after I let them out, what did they do? I have to presume that they would continue flying towards the light source, the moon; as they got higher and higher at what point did they stop? Do they fly upwards until the cold air saps their energy? Does it do them any good? Hmm.
The tomatoes which came in from outside were beginning to show signs of blight. The recommendation in a magazine was to heat them to 40 degrees centigrade for twelve hours. I tried to do this in the dessicator. The temperature control was not perfect; however I have to report a partial success. Rather than seeing the healthy looking green tomatoes fill with blight just before they ripen, the tomatoes are mostly ripening. Where there is some blight development it has clearly been contained in patches and is not romping through the fruit. This gives one hope for the method.
My painting today is of the morning glory, it will not be for sale yet as it may have a taker already. The morning glory plants are now in full flower (they were sown very late). There are three colours and they are great every morning as long as the night has not been too cold. I have also found that the buds will open for several days if a stem is put in a vase.
#135 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog
size 6 in x 12 in 15cm x 30cm charcoal and wash on heavy weight rag paper
Today and for the last few days DIY dad has been playing musical chairs with the radiators downstairs, this is a rush job as soon we will need functioning radiators- we will have reached the equinox in the morning. First of all a new rad. appeared in the dining room, and then one disappeared in the downstairs loo, then another went in this room and its replacement which used to be in the dining room can’t be put on the wall because the screws are wrong, or the rawl plugs, some small but vital widget is not what it seemed at first and its absence then derails the whole process.
What with that and a rather unsuccessful woody walk I got a little late in the picture painting but here are the maddest of the tomatoes. One looks like a teapot and the others are just rude.
Yes, it seems that the unending supply of ceps has ended.
Yesterday we uprooted all the tomato plants and brought the fruit inside. I will burn the haulms as there is a little blight on them. The tomatoes were bred to have some resistance to blight which may be how they have survived so long outside.
I set up the dessicator to heat the green tomatoes to 40 degrees for twelve hours, if this helps there will be a huge supply of ripening tomatoes. The idea is that the heat does not damage the fruit but finishes off the blight so that it doesn’t infect all the ripening fruit. See article in The Organic way issue 200. www.gardeningorganic.org.uk/tow
#130 a painting a day by Alison Warner on her lemon a day art blog