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Thursday, August 30, 2012

How do you like them Apples?

My parents never intended to have an apple tree in their front yard. My dad originally planted a flowering crab apple tree in front of their house. It was scrawny and never really did well... and after a few years shriveled and died. But the next year a new tree grew right up out of the middle of it... so Dad just let it. Fast forward a few years, and that new tree was thriving and started producing small hard green apples. They were pretty grainy and bitter, so we never did much with them. Fast forward a few more years... and my parents have a huge thriving apple tree producing large, sweet, greenish yellow apples of unknown variety. Also this year, another tree seems to have grown up and out of the middle of their apple tree-- and wouldn't you know, it's a flowering crab apple?!?!
So that's the strange story of how my parents came to have a large fruit producing tree and flowering crab all in one tree all in their front yard.Weird.

Anyway, my parents never use any pesticides on their fruit trees, so often the crop rendered is pathetic and bug chewed. (Oh, and also they have a pear tree in the back that the squirrels claimed last year and ate just about every one.) But this year for whatever reason the pests left the fruit alone creating a robust and tasty crop of fruit!
 Several times my parents have had friends and neighbors (and a few strangers, even!) come and strip the lower limbs of the fruit before it was ripe. One lady my mom met through freecycle took apple leftovers to feed her chickens and then the next week delivered farm fresh eggs to their front door! I told my mom she should try to maintain the chicken lady relationship. We even had a worker installing siding down the street ask if he could buy some of our apples, we told him he could take as many as he could carry for free... but maybe our offer was too enthusiastic, because he grabbed about three and walked away hurriedly.
The tree was dropping apples at an alarming rate and my dad decided it was time to harvest... so yesterday afternoon Sam and I went over and cleaned that tree out! It was Sam's first time picking fruit... but really he was more interested in playing with a pile of apples on the ground, and picking and eating handfuls of grass. (shrug, what are you gonna do?) I sat at the top of a ladder high in the tree and grabbed at apples warm from the sun. We picked as many as we could by hand and using the small ladder, and then my dad got out his ghetto-rigged tree shaker and shook the rest of the apples off the top branches. In all we took about four bushels of edible fruit off their tree yesterday! (And maybe another bushel or so of 'seconds' I set aside for the chickens!) That's a lot of fruit!
You can bet that in the next couple weeks we'll be making lots of apple sauce and apple butter, and maybe some pies and cakes as well.
I just love apples... 


  1. How about putting a ribbon around a jar or two and set it under my Christmas tree, lol? Love the pictures that went along with your blog about the apples, Valerie! Thanks for sharing! I love you!