Last week I gathered dropped apples and put them in a plastic tub for the deer and bees,

or brought them inside to make applesauce.

We have four old trees and have planted five more varieties, though the new ones are not producing yet.

Looking down the row of old apple trees along the driveway.

I like to keep the dropped apples picked up, especially before the rains come.  The rotting fruits will attract all kinds of creatures, especially rodents.  Dipsy is still good at catching them, though, and brought a present home recently.

The old girl’s about 13 or so, doing pretty well.

For her most recent catch, we three adults all went outside to praise her, and she demonstrated her delight by tossing the little rodent about four feet into the air, right  on my daughter’s back.

We encouraged her by dangling it by the tail in front of her.  She was happy to give us further entertainment.

Some of the applesauce I made a few weeks ago, with dropped apples.

The apples I used were dinged, dented, split, bruised, spotted and generally, not perfect. You won’t find these apples in any market! I cut the unsuitable parts off, and this is what I came up with!  Eight jars and a bit left over.  The bit got heated on the stove and had butter pecan ice cream on top. Delicious!

Today, I went out to gather from the trees.  We’re expecting rain tonight, so I wanted to get what I could, without feeling overwhelmed by picking too many.  Too many means it’ll never get done and a wee bit too big a job for one person.  This amount of apples is a two or three-day job.

My hay wagon filled with apples.

The sweetest ones are the ugly spotted ones.  Next season, we’ll work further on nurturing the trees.

Every year, they are a bit better and healthier.

The ugliest ones with the spots, taste the very best.

And I’m not the only one who thinks these apples are worth eating.

Of course, you’ve seen this guy in an earlier post.

When the horses see me picking berries or apples, they holler at me.  They’re not stupid.

  When it’s time to go inside, I bring one in for my rabbits for their ‘nigh nights treat.’

Amalie, just chilling’ in her stall, inside the house. She’s a chubby Harlequin.

 I got over to the trees –  I had a surprise!

Bear scat.

I wonder why we call animal ‘stuff’ scat, and ours is, well, all sorts of things…

The tub of apples I didn’t want.  I set it there and noticed no activity for a week.

Today, it was tipped over, and nearly empty. I righted it and brought more apples over.

Notice the present in front of the large tub.

My feeding station worked!

I think it’s the best way.  I don’t mind sharing with them, as long as we get some.

We leave this out by the apple tree near the street, for any animals who need it during the dry season.

It does get used, we see birds and cats drinking from it. One morning it was empty and completely toppled over.

I wonder who did that??

This is the reason I like to leave apples on the ground. These are old wounds from bears climbing on the sweet apple tree.

The claw marks below look newer than the ones above.

Skilled labor.

 

And here’s proof that bears have climbed these trees for many years.

Yikes!

While I was out there picking, a Western Flicker was busy complaining about my presence.  Lots of birds peck at the apples, especially where I can’t reach them.  I’ve tried to talking with them, and asked them to finish the apple they start with, but no, they take a few pecks, and go to the next apple.  Puzzling.

Can you see him, way at the top?

This is the place that the flickers raised their young this past season.

See the hole? Nobody’s getting in there!

Here’s a complete view.  Cool, eh?

A good place to raise a flicker family. Crows and other birds of prey, not allowed.

Oh, oh, someone’s coming…

Some of the people who live on this one lane shared road, think it’s a racetrack.

Maybe I need to pass out some mirrors, so they can see what’s wrong with the world.

Apple trees behind me to the right, flicker to the left.

Mark determined that it was a female bear who came to visit.  The size and diameter of the scat told the story.

I left plenty more apples for her.

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