Did I mean Pear Tree and Cider? No, I really mean Pear Tree and Cedar.
Julian (in Hungarian he is actually Gyula), my lovely local village handyman, is a wonderful character. Having lived locally all his life he uses his family tree to try and establish connections with unfamiliar faces and when I introduced him to a talented carpenter they started the meeting by sizing each other up with the establishing of if/how they were connected and, as it was, Julian’s mother was raised where the carpenter lives. Together these two are turning my dilapidated barn and wine store into two useable buildings for our business!
Julian is a fantastic hard worker and also knows his tree management well, so it was with great delight that we managed to combine my passion for wood turning with his passion for plucking any potentially dangerous trees from my land. He had identified a lovely old pear tree overhanging next door’s barn as a serious contender for extraction and I had conveyed my desire to save as much seasoned pear wood as I could get from the surgical style operation. So, the tree became timber and was duly cut into big chunks that I could dry carefully and use for turning in a few years time. I had 1.5kg of bees wax from a neighbour and whiled away a happy afternoon inspecting each piece of pear wood and painting the ends with wax – this slows the drying process down and should stop the wood from cracking which would render it useless for turning!
With trepidation Julian asked if the pear wood was OK for me and I showed him the large shelves now full of sweet smelling, wax sealed blocks. I could see the look in his eyes, “wonderful, what shall we cut down next?”, so I distracted him by explaining that BCC will be building wooden canoes in a few years and that we will be using local suppliers for pine but that cedar was proving more difficult to get hold of. “Ahh, no”, said my friend with a satisfying grin, “I have a cedar tree in my garden that needs removing.” We walked up the road and took a look at his beautiful 8m high cedar that is too close to the road and in danger of taking out the overhead cables! Julian has now offered to cut it down, have it transported to our local wood mill 6km down the road where they can cut it into boards for me and then return it. Local is always best!
So, as I wrote at the beginning, cedar and not cider but I had a surprise coming. Last Autumn I had offered all of my spare fruit to Julian as a thank you for looking after me and my wife and his return thank you was a gift of 2 litres of a fruity pear pálinka made from the fruit from my now deceased pear tree. This was fantastic and totally unexpected. He had collected the fruit and taken it to the next village where a friend has a large vat for producing this fine traditional Hungarian beverage. Total “food miles”? About 3!
Perhaps I will have my fruit press up and running again soon and then we can start producing local cocktails!