So, I’m lucky enough to have 3 apple and 2 pear trees in my garden. The fruit is a bit hit and miss though, obviously the weather during crucial stages of the season has a massive influence on the quality and quantity of the harvest, so does pruning the trees in the right way at the right time. I think there must be some other factors at play too, like maybe these things have a a cycle or something, and maybe some years the trees just think ‘Meh, I’m doing nothing this year fuckers. So sue me’. We didn’t even know what one of the pear trees was until the second year we lived here, the moody little madam bore us not a single fruit the first year.
Anyhoo, this year, the planets must all have been in alignment, as there are tons of apples and pears everywhere. We are getting a shitload of cider this season. The previously fruit-shy pear tree gives up at least 20Kg of very soft, incredibly sweet fruit. My elderly neighbour (considerably older than all the trees in my garden) assures me it’s a Honey Belle variety. These pears are extremely popular with the local waxeyes, not to mention the wasps. By the time I get up the tree there are a lot of half-eaten fruit still hanging from the boughs. Some are literally just the core left. The waxeyes are beautiful birds, I don’t mind sharing a little of my bounty with them, but they are greedy little fuckers so I have to act fast if I want to get any cider out of this. Being birds, they are off like a shot as soon as I come near the tree, but the wasps are a different story. It took me an hour or so to hook all the fruit out of the tree, somehow I managed to avoid being stung entirely. Lucky, I’d say.
I get enthusiastic ‘help’ from a 4yr old a 7yr old – I’m up the ladder hooking down the fruit with my converted curtain rod (pat. pending), they run around collecting the fallen fruit for a couple of $ each. This is all going really well until one of them gets hit on the head by a stray pear. Tears ensue, and two small children decide that TV is a safer pastime. Oh well, back to working solo.
The apples are easier to gather, as they seem to be falling to the ground at the rate of about a bucketful every day, so I am not even having to make any effort at this stage. Unfortunately at least 2 of the trees are cooking apples, so they’re not exactly packed full of sugar. It begs the question though – WHY would anyone plant all cooking varieties and no eating varieties? They must have had a serious apple crumble fetish, the old couple that planted this garden.
Anyway, over the course of the next week or so, I gather up a good 50Kg of windfall apples. It’s no good, I can’t store any more, I’m going to have to start pressing them soon or they’re in danger of rotting or at the very least becoming infested with some nasty wiggly little shit of a caterpillar.