Seven years ago, I found an apple tree the porcupine planted up the hill.
You can read my original post here: https://okanaganokanogan.com/2014/10/20/porcupine-the-gardener/
I thought it was nice and firm and a bit bland, and didn’t take any grafting wood. Then the bear came, climbed up over it and broke a bunch of branches. Then the porcupine came back in the winter and took off most of the bark, which is really bad news. I kept my eye on the tree, and just couldn’t see it between the hawthorns, the Pacific plum, the Nootka roses, the Saskatoons, mock orange and the chokecherries, and thought it was done for. This spring, I didn’t see any blossoms, so imagine my surprise when I found she had made it through all that and had another crop, her third, perhaps.
This time, they are far riper than they were seven years ago, yet so sheltered they’re not falling to the ground.
You can see the Red Delicious in the leaves and bark this time. Check out what the bear-and-porcupine pruning crew have achieved. What was once a single trunk with a few fruit-bearing branches has become this:
Hmmm… maybe a closer look?
It’s quite the spreading little thicket now! I’m going back in the winter to cut some grafting wood, because I just discovered that when this apple is allowed to get fully ripe, soft as a blossom, really, it tastes like honey, and not just some store-bought, centrifuged, water-diluted honey raised on endless fields of clover or something, but what honey would choose to be if anyone asked. It lingers on the lips, you know, and there you are on the mountain, and the whole day and everything you can think of has just become honey. No wonder the bear had a go at it! He knew! So, you know, it seems obvious. Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce you to this beautiful young girl.
Oh Happy Day!
Categories: Agriculture, food culture, Open Agriculture, Seed, Spirit
We used to have quite a few wild (feral?) apple trees in odd spots of farmland in Wisconsin. The pheasants (no deer in those days) and rabbits and many songbirds all loved them. When we were out hunting rabbits, we’d sample every one and knew where the sweet ones were.
I think I’ll re-read Thoreau on wild apples today. https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1862/11/wild-apples/411517/
It is a wonderful essay, although more about the Battle of Shiloh and the future of slavery as an industrial model for agriculture than apples, but pretty great on apples, too!