Thursday, 12 January 2017

She'll be apples

We discovered three apple trees on our property when we first moved here. According to the property history there had always been a row of fruit trees on the original farmstead but I don't think these trees are those same trees. These are in reasonably good condition as far as my limited apple tree diagnosing skills go, but they were a little unloved.  They produced some fruit but the day I went to inspect them, every apple was gone.  I'm not sure if they fell off and the birds ate them, or a band of hessian bag carrying possums came in one night and collected the lot.  Who knows.  Anyway we pruned them back and are proud to see some early signs of some pretty handsome looking fruit so far.  And the grubs agree.  Grubs at our place take their life in their hands with an ever expanding chicken population that take their grub hunting skills very seriously.  Not being one to want to use any pesticide I've not done anything to prevent the mass migration of grubs into our apples.  Someone told me to spray apple cider vinegar but then someone else told me they drink that in the morning as a tonic. Very confusing.  So on the discovery of fruit producing apple trees, we got all excited about being fruit growers.  So like crazed addicts we just had to purchase more.  Most Tasmanian's know their apples. They grow more varieties than I have ever seen.  I suspect the subject is in the school curriculum.  That by Year 10 you must have passed at least three subjects on unheard of apple varieties.   So rather than pretend we knew the difference between our Lady in the Snows and our Cox Orange Pippins we spoke to our trusted Farmers' Market person of much apple knowledge.  She sells the bare rooted variety mid year.  So we arranged to meet.  We drove to the stated location which was a public ground on the outskirts of the city.  We saw her trailer.  Just behind the toilet block. There were others waiting.  It was cold.  Freezing in fact.  Like someone was throwing ice cubes at you the minute you stepped out of the vehicle.  People were milling around as one customer was sorted at a time.  It felt like we were buying cocaine.  In Tassie, it's who you know for apples.  Good ones.  So this year, for the new ones it's a bit early to tell.  But I will remain on full possum alert.  I might consider a stakeout from the upstairs bedroom window, ready with spot light to shine in their eyes, 'You.  Down There.  Put down your hessian sack and step slowly away from the tree'.   Busted.

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