We have an apple tree. One apple tree. We’ve talked about adding additional fruit trees to the mix, but we have yet to do it.
The apple tree has not, historically, been a high producer. We’ve gotten apples off of it every year, but they tend to be small and scabby. I’ve made applesauce annually, but have usually had to supplement our apples with ones purchased from the farmer’s market.
Last winter the husband began researching how to prune apple trees. It seemed an excuse to watch endless videos on Youtube, which is a favorite past time of his. Though, I gotta admit, he’s learned how to do any number of things thanks to Youtube videos.
The apple tree was, without a doubt, overgrown. Its branches were starting to reach out over the driveway and it was tall enough that we had to pull the pickup up to it and stand in the back to get the apples off the highest branches.
So, one weekend last January he headed out to the tree…saw and other assorted tools in hand. I was inside doing chores and paid little attention to the activity. After some time he came in and announced that he was done. He also cautioned me that the tree was a shadow of its former self and that I should prepare myself. I went to the front window. And started laughing…in horror. Our once large apple tree had been, well, decimated. It was now a spindly looking twig, with branches littering the ground around it.
The husband stood next to me. We stared at the tree. The husband said, “I hope I didn’t kill it.” I responded, “I hope you didn’t kill it.” We twittered nervously.
The next morning as I pulled out of the driveway to go to work I got a closer look at the tree. I felt a sinking sensation in my stomach. It looked bad. Like, there was almost nothing left of our beautiful apple tree. I feared he had gone too far.
Spring arrived, and the tree leafed out. We shared a sigh of relief…he hadn’t killed it. But, would it produce?
Late spring: blossoms. Lots of blossoms. With it…hope.
Early summer: baby apples. Lots of baby apples.
August: the apples started dropping a bit early due to our exceptionally dry, warm summer. I decided I’d better pick them before the deer began to feast. The nice thing was that I needed only a short ladder to get to all of the apples. And, the fruit was beautiful. Very few scabs, larger apples than we’ve ever had.
I made a crisp and a whole batch of applesauce using apples entirely from our own tree. Satisfying.
Yesterday the husband went out and pruned the apple tree, again. It again looks goofy and spindly and we laughed when we looked at it. But, this year we laughed not with trepidation, but with confidence. Summer is a-comin’ and hopefully the tree will produce even more than last year.