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.