“Can I have any apples off your tree that you are not going to use?” asked the neighbor.
“Sure, you can have them all.”
I have an old apple tree in my yard. When I planted it, I didn’t know about spraying, pruning, and thinning. I thought apples grew large and red, with wax on them like the ones in the supermarket.
Through the years, the apple tree has become somewhat of an annoyance. The apples fall on the ground and draw flies. Every year I have to rake up the mess. I long ago gave up trying to take care of the tree. But the apple tree doesn’t know this and it just keeps blooming and having fruit year after year.
The neighbor was picking apples to make applesauce for military families who are on a small budget. Apparently, apples in the back yard are still a novelty to some people.
She had neighborhood kids all organized to help pick. One day I drove up in the driveway and they were there with ladders and bags swarming all over the tree. Oh, goody, they will pick them all and I won’t have to rake. The apples are small, but otherwise in pretty good condition considering they had no spray, fertilizer, or anything else.
When I planted the apple tree, it seemed like such a good idea: Apples, jelly, cobblers, pie, fried apples, apple sauce, apple cider. In my younger and more ambitious days, I picked apples, made apple jelly and even froze apples for later. Nowadays, apples pies and cobblers are too fattening. I’m trying to diet.
So the apples just hang on the tree until they fall. Last week I raked up about five trash bags full that had fallen and spoiled. It was about 90 degrees that day. I thought I would die of heat exhaustion before I finished.
The kids picked about a 100 pounds when they were here, but there were still a lot of apples left. They are still falling, falling, like red hail. They keep on falling, an avalanche of red balls, too much of a good thing.
As it turned out, the neighbor had more apples than she could use too. That figures. You can only make so much applesauce, and coffeecake. The leftovers ended up going to the local food bank.
Then they got the idea of picking more for the food bank. I applauded their efforts and ambition and then hid behind the kitchen door.
Bushels more have fallen on the ground since I raked. I will have to go out there this weekend and see what I can do about them.
“Does anyone want apples? They are yours if you pick them.”
That’s what I figured. I like the ones from the supermarket better too.
Actually, I planted four trees. Thank goodness, only one thrived. If all had lived and done as well as the one that is left, I’d be up to my chin in apples instead of up to my knees.
I hope the kids come back soon to pick the pick the rest, or I may have to declare a state of apple emergency. Nature’s bounty is about to overwhelm me.
In the meantime, my daughter was going to the store for groceries. “Mom, do you need anything?”
“Just milk and orange juice.”
“Don’t say that word outloud to me.”