The Year Of The Apple - Apron Diaries Blog at - 70830

Apron Diaries

The Year of the Apple 
Jan. 19, 2009 11:49 am 
Updated: Jan. 20, 2009 11:08 am
So I’m watching the latest episode of Wild Kingdom out my kitchen window and a squirrel scampers by holding an apple in its mouth. The squirrel leaps into my herb bed, digs a hole and buries the apple. Then it digs another hole, extracts a different apple—this one has bite marks all over it—and takes it to my garden bench. The squirrel sits on the bench and eats this older, gnawed-on apple with apparent delight. Can anyone explain this behavior to me?

Our ancient, gnarly apple tree produced a magnificent crop this year. To call it abundant would be understating the numbers. In a year when we heard that bees were scarce, I was surprised when our tree was thick with blossoms in the spring. What made this even more improbable was that we laid down a patio this year that extended under half the tree, so I expected the tree to show some signs of distress. But no. It thrived. It produced. It laughed at the feeble humans.

We had so many apples this year that we gave them away to our neighbors. And still we had apples. We made apple pie and apple crisp, apple cake and apple muffins. And still we had apples. I brought bags and bags into the office to share. (A co-worker and I made applesauce and potato latkes!) But was like the apples would magically reproduce while my back was turned.

When the snows came in December, there were apples on the tree. And now that the snows have melted, there are apples still. The birds eat them. The squirrels bury them.

I know this coming year the crop will most likely be small. Surely the tree exhausted itself and needs to rest up. But we’ll always mark 2008 as the year of the apple. Perhaps the squirrels will, too.

How does your garden grow? I'd love to hear from you.
Snowy apples, December 2008
Photo Detail
Jan. 19, 2009 6:54 pm
I can't explain the squirrel behavior, but I'd love to watch it. I'm glad they have something tasty to chew on this time of year. It's been such a cold winter here in the midwest. My squirrels are eating all my bird food and then some. As long as they don't gnaw on the trees, I'm good. Congrats on the abundant apples and I hope you have a stellar crop this year as well. :)
Jan. 20, 2009 10:46 am
I wish I had fruit trees! I finally put in a decent vegetable patch this year - about 16' x 8' - and am hoping to expand upon it this year, as things got too crowded (I tend to want to grow EVERYTHING!!!) My dogs did a good job of protecting it - not a squirrel in sight! But I did meet Mr. Tomato Hornworm for the first time...4 of them! My tomato and eggplant plants were ugly, but still produced quite a bit!
Jan. 20, 2009 11:08 am
Hi Kelley and Christine M! Kelley - my local building supply store put up a sign on their bird feeder aisle that said "Squirrel Feeders!" So I wandered up and down looking for squirrel feeders (not that I wanted one) before I finally got the joke. Doh! Christine - I have no luck with tomatoes! I think I need to plant them in a warmer spot in my garden, maybe up against a wall. Mr. Tomato Hornworm sounds horrifying! Ugh. But there's nothing like homegrown tomatoes. I need a little of your know-how, though. Thanks for the visit!
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Vanessa Greaves

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Two working adults and a kid in school. Someone has to cook and that someone is usually me. *sigh*
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Whatever makes my family smile while they're eating.
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I cook, they clean up after me. It's the kind of tradition I can fully embrace.
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No one has asked me to stop yet.
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When I was 13, I made pecan rolls for my family. The recipe called for 8 refrigerator biscuits but the package held 10. My mom asked me what I did with the other 2. Judging from the look on her face, "I threw them away" wasn't the right answer.
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