Posted on Leave a comment

Season of Apples

“And now comes the sweet of the year,” John Falstaff might have said, pondering the bounty of autumn to his pals in Shakespeare’s Henry IV Part II.

Grapes and apples are falling off the vines and trees. Their branches and clusters are groaning with weight, they need propping up from early May until ripe October.

And the “frosty asters, like a smoke upon the hill” 1 or the smouldering hues in the maple tree, the damp smells of Fall in the forest after a day of rain.

Delightful in shape and hue and colour

It’s the time of apples, globes of fruit delightful in shape and hue and colour. They hang from leafy branches, warmed all summer by the sun nourished by the rain. The apples are buffeted by winds, lulled by moon-glow, neighboured by nests of robins or ruby-throated hummingbirds.

And now they present themselves, their flesh, bursting with sweet juices, the thump of fruit on grassy loam. In May, we could only dream of this bounty. Now, here we are with confirmation that the harvest of apples is one dream that comes true.

Talk to our own Twin Island Cider friends here on Pender, who work so hard year-round for the apple harvest. But it also happens in the most abandoned orchards, where we see that the apple harvest is even better than we deserve. 

The work those Twin Islands people do! Scrambling up trees, their long “two-pointed ladders” sticking through trees, “toward heaven still.” Reaching, risking, balancing, lifting! And their result is cases of bottles brimming with cider that tastes exactly of summer, memories now, forever preserved.

Ten thousand thousand fruit to touch

I’d be tired, too, as Robert Frost observed in his timeless poem, “After Apple-Picking.” 2

For I have had too much
Of apple-picking: I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let Fall.

The work is never done! We feel the imperative to fill every bin, pull every apple-treasure off the tree …

Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.

Essence of winter sleep

Is this not how we feel when confronted with the cooler temperatures of Fall after the heat and exertions of summer, the approach of winter soon to follow? The hibernation imperative? The desire to let go of the harvest as we near the end. To curl under blankets, instead, to sleep, the evening feasts of roast potatoes, parsnips, apple crisps and betties, red wines? Slow, slow, slower and sleep.

But unlike Robert Frost, I can’t rest until I’ve filled breads with Pender Island’s great harvest. Such as the regal Kings, the noble Golden Russets, the aromatic Cox Pippins with striking orange-red colouring. Whatever apples I can find, I’m still looking.

Pender Island’s great harvest

This week, it will be Liberty apples from Black Rabbit Farms off Pirates Road, blended into a loaf of earthy rye bread. Maybe some later Happy Monk loaf will be joined by Golden Russets or Northern Spies or Oaken Pins. And, together, they’ll toast the season with a beaker of Twin Island Cider — a rustic monument to Pender Island apples and autumn

I visited Black Rabbit Farms today and spoke with Andy Nowak. He and his partner Mary Rehrer, have cultivated a beautiful suite of apple trees.

They’re alongside rows of carrots and sunflowers, tomatoes, herbs and flowers of all kinds. We carried boxes of Liberty apples down from the shed and piled them into the trunk of our car.

The apple trees were on hiatus this year, said Andy. Not quite as productive as past years. But the Liberties were as abundant as ever, and he was pleased to part with a good portion of them to the Happy Monk Baking Company.

The rich autumn smells

We stood and chatted in the orchard, taking in the rich autumn smells, the yellowing light of afternoon. Andy told stories about the orchard, how he and Mary chose the trees. They have their favourites and few that haven’t worked out so well. A Turkey Vulture drifted overhead. A Barred Owl settled on a branch across the road.

Woodpeckers and flickers are rude intruders who land on branches and peck deep holes into the apples. We didn’t see any this afternoon, however.

The sky was bright and blue, the air was pleasant and cool. It was a perfect autumn day on Pender Island — the season of apples!


Happy Monk Tidings - May 18, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Olive Bread; UPDATE: Canal Bridge project postponed; Assume normal delivery schedule; BLOG: The Breadman's Quest for the Stanley Cup - [See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - May 18, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Olive Bread; UPDATE: Canal Bridge project postponed; Assume normal delivery schedule; BLOG: The Breadman's Quest for the Stanley Cup - [See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

22 1
Happy Monk Tidings - May 11, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Rye-Spelt Sourdough; Blog: Road/Bridge Closure: Be Here Now - [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - May 11, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Rye-Spelt Sourdough; Blog: Road/Bridge Closure: Be Here Now - [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

33 1
Happy Monk Tidings - May 4, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Polenta and Rosemary Bread ☀︎ Blog: An Artisan Bread Manifesto ☀︎ [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - May 4, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Polenta and Rosemary Bread ☀︎ Blog: An Artisan Bread Manifesto ☀︎ [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

40 2
Happy Monk Tidings - April 27, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Spelt Honey Sourdough; Blog: A Podcast for Pender Island [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - April 27, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Spelt Honey Sourdough; Blog: A Podcast for Pender Island [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

31 0
Happy Monk Tidings - April 20, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Mountain Rye ; Blog: Walking with My Father [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - April 20, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Mountain Rye ; Blog: Walking with My Father [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

34 2
Happy Monk Tidings - April 13, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Hot Cross Buns; Blog: Who's to Blame for the Hot Cross Buns Song? [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - April 13, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Hot Cross Buns; Blog: Who's to Blame for the Hot Cross Buns Song? [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

32 2
Happy Monk Tidings - April 6, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Whole-Wheat Flax Bread; Blog: The Baker's Arms [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - April 6, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Whole-Wheat Flax Bread; Blog: The Baker's Arms [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

21 0
Happy Monk Tidings - March 30, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Oat Porridge Bread; Blog: Thanne Longen Folk ...; We're Donating to Ukraine! [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - March 30, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Oat Porridge Bread; Blog: Thanne Longen Folk ...; We're Donating to Ukraine! [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

14 0
Happy Monk Tidings - March 16, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Spelt and Honey Sourdough; Blog: Wheat Connections to Ukraine [ See LinkTree in Bio ]

Happy Monk Tidings - March 16, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Spelt and Honey Sourdough; Blog: Wheat Connections to Ukraine [ See LinkTree in Bio ] ...

38 0
These corn kernels are headed to the mill to make cornmeal for Anadama Bread this week. It’s a bread with origins on the east coast, but that shouldn’t stop us west coasters from enjoying it, too, godanadamit! This is organic field corn from @fieldstoneorganics of Armstrong, B.C. … and the hard red whole wheat from Metchosin, B.C. make this Happy Monk take on Anadama a bona fide west coast phenomenon! Just sayin’!
.
.
.
.
.
.
#anadama #anadamabread #cornmeal #cornmealbread #metchosinbc #armstrongbc #stoneground #stonegroundflour #stonemilled #stonemilledflour #stonemilledbread #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #sourdough #sourdoughbread #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries

These corn kernels are headed to the mill to make cornmeal for Anadama Bread this week. It’s a bread with origins on the east coast, but that shouldn’t stop us west coasters from enjoying it, too, godanadamit! This is organic field corn from @fieldstoneorganics of Armstrong, B.C. … and the hard red whole wheat from Metchosin, B.C. make this Happy Monk take on Anadama a bona fide west coast phenomenon! Just sayin’!
.
.
.
.
.
.
#anadama #anadamabread #cornmeal #cornmealbread #metchosinbc #armstrongbc #stoneground #stonegroundflour #stonemilled #stonemilledflour #stonemilledbread #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #sourdough #sourdoughbread #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries
...

40 0
Happy Monk Tidings - March 9, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Anadama Bread; Blog: Salvador Dali and the Art of Bread - [ See LinkTree in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - March 9, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Anadama Bread; Blog: Salvador Dali and the Art of Bread - [ See LinkTree in Profile ] ...

37 2
Happy Monk Tidings - March 2, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough; Blog: Have Your Been Shriven? [ See Link in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - March 2, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Cinnamon Raisin Sourdough; Blog: Have Your Been Shriven? [ See Link in Profile ] ...

36 1
Morning Breadsong (volume up!) A pile of Salish Sourdoughs just out of Mildrith, the wood-fired oven. 
.
.
.
.

#breadsinging #breadsong #woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bakerslife #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #breadmaking🍞 #sourdough #sourdoughbread #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #penderisland

Morning Breadsong (volume up!) A pile of Salish Sourdoughs just out of Mildrith, the wood-fired oven.
.
.
.
.

#breadsinging #breadsong #woodfired #woodfiredoven #woodfiredovenbread #bread #realbread #naturallyleavened #baker #bakery #bakerslife #bbga #artisanbread #breadhead #breadmaking #breadmaking🍞 #sourdough #sourdoughbread #coboven #earthoven #earthenoven #penderisland #southpenderisland #happymonkbaking #happymonkbakery #happymonkbakingcompany #southerngulfislands #southerngulfislandsbakers #southerngulfislandsbakeries #penderisland
...

55 0
Happy Monk Tidings - February 23, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Danish Rye (Rugbrød); Blog: The Burned Loaf: And Offering and a Blessing - [ See link in profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - February 23, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice: Danish Rye (Rugbrød); Blog: The Burned Loaf: And Offering and a Blessing - [ See link in profile ] ...

25 0
It just needed a few more minutes. That was three hours ago. Saved my best for last!  #showusyourfuckedloaves

It just needed a few more minutes. That was three hours ago. Saved my best for last! #showusyourfuckedloaves ...

51 15
Happy Monk Tidings - February 16, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice this week: Sourdough Sandwich Loaf; Blog: Festival of Fornacalia - All hail, Fornax! Goddess of the Ovens! [ See link in Profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - February 16, 2022 🍞 - Baker's Choice this week: Sourdough Sandwich Loaf; Blog: Festival of Fornacalia - All hail, Fornax! Goddess of the Ovens! [ See link in Profile ] ...

51 0
John-boy’s got his arms loaded with a bunch of Happy Monk bread, one of his favourite states of being. He’s generous to a fault, though, and spread the loaves around his close circle of friends. That’s m’boy!

John-boy’s got his arms loaded with a bunch of Happy Monk bread, one of his favourite states of being. He’s generous to a fault, though, and spread the loaves around his close circle of friends. That’s m’boy! ...

64 8
The 2kg Desem miche is out of focus, in the back ‘cause it would have drowned out the little 1kg Durum Sesame loaf in front. The miche is a monster but every bit as delish as the Durum loaf! The Desem’s coming soon! Won’t be a miche, though!

The 2kg Desem miche is out of focus, in the back ‘cause it would have drowned out the little 1kg Durum Sesame loaf in front. The miche is a monster but every bit as delish as the Durum loaf! The Desem’s coming soon! Won’t be a miche, though! ...

46 2
Happy Monk Tidings - February 9, 2022 🍞 - It's great to be back! Baker's Choice: Durum-Sesame Sourdough; Blog: To Sleep or Not to Sleep [ See link in profile ]

Happy Monk Tidings - February 9, 2022 🍞 - It's great to be back! Baker's Choice: Durum-Sesame Sourdough; Blog: To Sleep or Not to Sleep [ See link in profile ] ...

57 5


  1. From “A Vagabond Song” by Bliss Carman, Canada’s own Confederation poet

  2. Listen to this reading of After Apple-Picking by Tom O’Bedlam, who, I think, does a far better job than this reading by Robert Frost himself.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.