Frequent readers may recall that Fawn Hill came with a small orchard of apple trees and autumn is the time for apples. Of course autumn doesn’t officially begin for another three weeks but apples don’t read calendars and the apples on Fawn Hill are ripe and ready to go. We never expected much in this first year. The trees, like the rest of the property, have been neglected. We provided a pruning in May and wondered what might happen.
Well, as you can see, we had a bumper crop of apples. Perhaps it was the wet spring and summer that contributed. Maybe it was a favorable response to the pruning. We’ll never know. I do know there were way more apples than I could ever consume. My neighbor suggested I put up a sign, offering the apples for free. “People appreciate that kind of stuff around here.”
So, I did. I put up the sign yesterday afternoon and almost immediately saw the cars slow to read the sign and assess the situation. Late this afternoon the crowds came … well, eight people is a crowd to me. The three older apple pickers came prepared with buckets and had pretty much picked clean the lower branches when the other five arrived. They were much younger and of hispanic origin. It was clearly their first time picking apples and they were thrilled. I went down to visit and learned where they live (very nearby). They were appreciative of the apples and were going to try to bake a pie. I suggested they might want to start with apple sauce. This was a GREAT idea. They asked how to make apple sauce and I gave them a quick explanation. “Look it up on online,” I said. You would have thought I’d given them the key to the universe.
By twilight the trees were picked clean … well, clean enough to take down the sign and re-assess the situation. My young neighbors climbed part way into the trees and shook loose many apples. It was fun to watch but I worried for the health of the trees and the youngsters up in them. One tree has many apples but they aren’t healthy. An aggressive pruning is in order next spring. It may be that the tree has reached the end of its run. But the others are clearly healthy and capable of producing a good crop. We’ll see what next year brings. ☙