I set out on a stroll down the trail that dissects my farm. A whitetail deer sprang from it's bed just as I entered the woods and bounded with high jumps off toward the swamp along the river bottom. Henry the hawk screeched sharply from the atop of the 5 century old pignut hickory that stands watch over my lower pasture. While fox squirrels darted for cover on the forest floor. A canvas of color lay strewn at my feet from the fallen autumn leaves and the smell of the season was full in the air. Off in the distance the Canada geese honked, the splashing of water and fluttering of wings signaled the anticipation of the migration that would leave my beaver ponds empty. As I headed up the hill to the place I knew held the treasure I had come for. I recalled the time we first found this tree "anyone know what these are?" my young son said, holding a cluster of fruit in his hand. The tree only produces fruit sporadically, but this year it is loaded. With buckets in hand I gathered the bounty then headed on down the trail that looped it's way back to my humble abode. Sun shining through the now broken canopy left golden patches on the path resembling paver from the yellow brick road. My mind wandered to a time when I walked these trails hand in hand with my long gone beloved. As I came to the oddly crooked bench tree where she had a photographer take the last portraits of her and our son I though of how good this old world has been and how much pleasure this farm had brought me.
With bounty in hand I headed down the hill to the old bridge sadly in need of repair, that crosses the small creek just before entering my Tansy field. The now dry remains of the beautiful purple/Blue flowers crackled beneath my feet as I took a short cut across the field. Then up the hill to the house. I wondered how many more batches of fruit I will see from the old tree which only significantly produces evert 3 to 5 years. This may be my last batch who knows which one of us will give out first.
I will peal seed and bag the fruit before adding it to a must of caramelized honey to make a Bochetomel. In all my years of mead making this will only be the second batch. the last was in 1988 and it was as smooth as silk and rich as a New York cheese cake. The buttery caramel nuances lingered softly on ones pallet only to fade away with a subtle sweetness. Can't wait to taste it again.
All I need now is a name for it.