Saturday, August 13, 2011

Change In Nature

I have an apple tree in the back yard. About this time if year it starts dropping apples and I go out and pick them up. I sort them into baskets of those that will go directly into the trash, and those that I may be able to get some good bits off of, to make apple sauce and the occasional pie.  I haven't sprayed the tree in years, due to windy conditions, so most end up in the trash.

The trick as always been to get out there first thing in the morning and get all the new apples picked up. If I waited, the wasps, slugs, ants, and crows would beat me to them and it's amazing how quickly they gobble them up.  The squirrels also help themselves, and one year I even found proof that a bear had come to check out my tree.

One year we had been away for a few days and when we came back there were more than the usual number of apples on the ground.  I went out to get them later in the day, when there were lots of wasps about. I got a bucket and a shovel, and I carefully scooped up the apples and dropped them into the bucket. When the bucket was full, I'd slide the shovel through the bucket's handle and pick it up that way so it would be a safe distance away.  As I was being careful, the wasps were still with the apples as I took them to the garden and dumped them there. 

I had made several trips when my hubby came around the house and spotted me. I could see by the look on his face that he was alarmed. Here I was, in my shorts and sandals, totally surrounded by wasps flying low to the ground.  I was afraid he would excite them so I quickly told him to calm down and go away. I told him I was fine, that I'd been there, doing that, for the past half hour and I was in no danger of being stung unless he got the wasps excited.

I think of this now, as I've just come in from picking up apples. There were no wasps.  None. No slugs or earwigs either.  Heck, this year the crows aren't even bothering to sit in the tree and pick at the apples until they fall off. Only the occasional squirrel has helped himself to an apple this year.  That's fine with me, but I'm finding it very strange.  Where are the wasps?  For that matter, where are the slugs and earwigs?  And why have the crows suddenly decided my apples aren't worth the effort? 

Ha.  Come to think of it, I haven't bothered with them myself this year.  Any I've picked up have gone straight to the trash. I have only tasted a couple of bites off of two of them so far, but have not even thought about trying to cook some up. When the tree was in full bloom this year, a big wind came and blew most of the blossoms off.  Usually I'm all worn out from processing them by now.  Luckily for me, there aren't many out there this year.  Maybe I'll look forward to a good crop next year.  Maybe I'll have to fight for my share again.  Maybe......


  1. Maybe it's just the year. I haven't looked at ours at all either -- too many other things on the brain. I also don't think ours are bothered by any of the usual insects either. The girls love to gather them though.

  2. Okay, just to let you know, I am super duper jealous. I wanted an apple tree. I kinda went through a "Farmer Phase"...which is challenging since I live in suburbia. Anyway, I wasn't allowed to get one. Instead, I got beans. Sigh.

    The twinnies came across CRABAPPLES the other day while walking with Mum. They collected the fallen crabapples and asked Mum to "cook" them. She made Crabapple bread. I would have prefered an apple pie. :(

    I have noticed very few wasps this year, now that you have mentioned it. However, the grasshoppers are killing me (and all of my flowers). What's up with that?