Sunday, May 1, 2011

Apple Trees

A big move loomed for us last summer. My hubby took a job 2 provinces over and so house hunting & other mega details consumed us!

We did a house hunting marathon trip mid-July and saw 26 houses in 2 days. Exhausting! More on that in another post.

The house we fell in love with (or moreso I fell in love, my hubby settled, but whatever) had a beautiful apple tree in the backyard.

Where I grew up, apple trees are prone to all sorts of ugly diseases & pesty insect infestations. It is hard to get a tree so big & beautiful & so impressively covered in the small green apples we saw forming.

Come fall, after we made our big move and the tree was ours, our impression was broadened.

On the one hand, we were impressed that this tree was covered, literally covered in apples. Some red, some green, some were large and some were small. The previous homeowner (who had lived in the house 50 years) had done grafting of several of the branches, thus producing a multi-variety fruit tree!!

My apple crazed son was in heaven! He climbed this tree and sat in his perch happily munching & tossing the cores into the yard (hmmm not so appreciated). He figured he had the monopoly since he was the only kid tall enough to climb, so he would ration out the choicy apples from the top of the tree to those he deemed worthy. That his siblings actually allowed him to claim this role is beyond me.

The downside; We had SO many apples!!! Hundreds! I am not kidding that these branches were bent from the weight! As fall progressed & we were doing the necessary upgrades to the house before winter set in, the tree was ignored & we did not pick all the hundreds of apples before the first frost.

Ever smell eau de rotton apple? It is a bit of a cidery smell that reminds you of yucky fermentation. That was our backyard for the rest of fall. The rains came and the apples that fell were mushy & gross and I'd put on rubber gloves & go collecting occasionally. I thought - well, the birds will peck at the rest over winter. (Thinking back to my berry bushes at our old house - birds would swarm them for 3 days straight mid-January - pick them clean, then move to the next yard - I thought that was a great system).

But no birds came. Even though there is a cute feeder that was left in the tree. I keep smacking my head on that feeder. No birds means no need for the feeder. Buh-bye feeder.

It is now spring and I have a tree that is FULL of shrunken, shriveled, brown, dehydrated apples that seem reluctant to fall on their own.

Lesson learned. And I am spending my all too important time whacking the branches with the end of a rake to knock them down, rake them up and start over. There are still lots to go!

My children find this hilarious and I had to put a quick stop to a swinging broom & swinging baseball bat. I value my head.

We're not as fond of the apple tree now. They seem to do well here & all our neighbours have them and everyone has way more apples than they know what to do with. Various foodbank groups will come pick ripe apples for payment in apples to supply their hampers! Wonderful - but so many people call, you can't even get on the list.

I think the apple tree's days are numbered.

Buh-bye apple tree.


  1. Our apple tree produces more than we can use, too, but they're a bit more rare here in So Cal. Our neighbor makes cider from them.

    And I am determined to make some apple jelly and apple based jellies with other flavors, like mint. And maybe some "hot" jellies with peppers.

    We'll see. And at least mine fall off the tree. ;)

  2. Save the tree. Your climbing kids will really enjoy it. (You can't plant anything else that will be big enough for them to enjoy before they are too big to want to climb trees.)

    We have lots of experience with apple trees - for many years we had 4 but last year one had to go. However 3 can still produce more apples than we know what to do with.

    From Jean Zimmermann

    We make apple sauce and freeze it, apple quarters to freeze to use for crisps and pies, and quarts and quarts of juice to drink. My dear husband bought a juicer a few years ago and makes all the juice - I only heat it up and seal it into the jars.

    We also have one flavour of apple that we don't much care for so everything from that tree goes into the garbage can. We try to scoop them up soon after they fall before they rot.

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  4. oh I loved having an apple tree!! I say pay the climbing son to pick the apples in the fall and take them to the foodbank yourself lol :) We used to bring baskets of them to church and just leave them out- they were always eaten or taken :). A friend of mine drops hers off at her local homeless shelter and the shelter loves it.