Wednesday, September 17, 2014

That Time Of Year Again

   The orchard here is in full bloom, theres quite the crop of apples, pears, and plums, and literally sagging the branches down with the weight. This never goes unnoticed by the local wildlife, and it is always a challenge to ripen the fruit enough before it disappears into the night. I've lit the area up with a yard light for the first time and seems to be helping a little for the time being.
    A raccoon is a rarity out here, but sometimes stage well organized raids on the plum tree. There was a good crop last year, and I was just making plans to harvest them, when one morning I was on my way out to the shop and strolled by admiring my plum laden tree. I walked by for a few steps then realized there wasn't a single plum left. I stopped and backed up and sure as hell every single one is gone, and not a mark on the tree, or a leaf out of place.  Raccoons the only thing that can rob you like that. In the past I've gone out at night and caught a scrawny Ma, Pa, and two youngsters at work, and I can't say I mind them getting a share. But not the whole damn tree.
 Deer are not a problem, they come in and sample the odd green apple earlier on, but they just seem to be off someplace else this time of year.
    The local bears are a different story. They don't pay any attention to the place until about now. Eating your fruit is bad enough, but they pretty much wreck the trees in the process.

There was a bumper crop of crab apples about a month ago.
I wasn't real sure what the hell I was going to do with a couple wheelbarrow loads of crab apples, so I put a notice out on a local facebook buy and sell site that if anyone in the remote valley wanted some to come on over and load up. Well no one showed up, they probably have their own trees.

Next thing I know this years resident pain in the ass arrived.
Applesauce, as she became known. looks to be a scruffy little 2nd year bear learning about life.  I've never been shy about going out and hazing the hell out of any bear that comes in the yard. I usually start off hollering and chucking rocks or what ever is handy, which works for awhile. Next comes out the paintball gun, which is great entertainment hiding behind a tree and jumping out and blasting them in some Rambo ambush...but soon they quit running off and stop to lick the paintball splat off. But you can't stay awake all the time, and it wasn't long before the tree was  missing a bunch of branches and leaning badly to one side and minus the crab apples. Applesauce gained her name by the effect all these crab apples had on her digestive system, all over the yard of course. 

A week or so ago she arrived one night to check how the apples were coming along, she took hold of a branch full and tried to haul the tree back to the cover of the woods I think. There was an avalanche of green apples when the limb broke and must have scared her off as none were taken.
From the one branch she pulled down, that's 93 apples in that pile. Like I say, I think the apple avalanche scared her off. But oh my, what a waste.
So the race is on once more, to ripen the fruit enough to pick before someone else does.
I know what you are thinking, 'Well ya old coot, why don't ya just put up a fence?' There was a paige wire fence around the orchard originally, but about 7 years ago I finally figured out that the only thing it kept out of there was me! The 'coons go under, the deer go over, and bears pull it down. I ran into town last week for an electric fence to set up, but turns out they don't stock that and only available in the big city. If I can get a few more days on the plums, and hold off the bear for another week or two on the apples and pears, its going to be a pretty good crop this season.

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