What you see here is a close-up (taken today) of my Montmorency tree. I’m about two weeks from picking the cherries and then making pie filling and freezing the jars. I actually have an interesting story about cherries and my family in the Civil War, and I’ll have to share that a little later. It involved a brief shoot-out between two soldiers who ultimately ended up sharing a canteen of my g-g-g-gandfather’s “cherry bounce;” the Union trooper had actually filled his canteen with it prior to the shoot-out. If you’ve never heard of “bounce,” well, rest assured, it can be sweet and, consumed in large amounts… well, let’s say it can make you rather happy. Though I haven’t quite figured out exactlyt how my ggg grandfather Shuler made it, I’ve made it a time or two with what may have been the key ingredients (though I don’t use Montmorency cherries… too tart for the drink!).
Anyway, this is yet another way of my connecting with history… but one cherry tree isn’t the end of the story. Actually, I have several antique trees in my orchard (which is only 9 years old). I selected varieties that were similar or the same that were in my great grandparent’s orchard; a place where I used to climb many a tree when I was young… and seeing the slightest tinge of red in an apple, thought it was fine to eat… big mistake… but that didn’t always keep me from trying. :-) My heart broke a few years back when I lost my Hewes Crabapple (also known as a Virginia Crabapple… and Jefferson’s favorite cider apple) because of a hard storm. By far, they make a fine cooking apple and an excellent ingredient for my apple pie jellies. I also have a few berry squares, though I need to plant a new raspberry square.
Just thought I’d share another way in which I connect with history… I rather like the “tastes” of history.