Apple Tree Takes a Hit

Vroken Branch

Broken Branch

The Golden Delicious apple tree had been having trouble for a long time. Last night it took a hit as the combination of a fruit-laden branch attached to a disease weakened trunk broke off.

It was one of the last crop bearing limbs, so this winter the tree will have to come down.

It’s not a crisis. More a sign of what’s to come.

I planted six apple trees, including this one, after my mother-in-law’s funeral. The rest of the family drove to her home near Ames where I would join them once the bare root stock from Stark Brothers was in the ground. That was more than 20 years ago.

Since then, two more trees have been lost—this one makes three. The remaining trees produce enough fruit for our household which is loaded with cider vinegar, applesauce, apple butter and dried apples. We pick the best and leave or give away the rest. We’ll be fine.

Fallen Branch

Fallen Branch

After taking the photos, an hour in the kitchen produced juice for cider vinegar. I filled the two-quart jar that holds the mother for another season of fermentation.

We recently turned up a few old items of food. We have some vintage 2008 Duncan Hines cake mix, which I decided would be a reasonable vehicle to eat more apple butter. I made the lemon flavored one first. Squares of cake topped with vintage apple butter makes a delicious dessert. When I say “vintage apple butter” I mean the jars are labeled so the variety and circumstances from which the apples originated is known.

This morning I made a batch of tapioca. It’s not like pudding, but it is close enough that I plan to make more at least until the three boxes are used up. Not sure what prompted that purchase circa 2007, but the result, prepared according to instructions on the box was decent. If I can figure out the layers, it would be great to make a parfait. Perhaps to be served like ice cream.

The garden yielded a dozen cucumbers, the same number of Brandywine tomatoes, celery, green peppers and a few cherry and grape tomatoes. There is plenty of kale, but I’m letting the plants rest for a while before resuming regular harvest. No noticeable bugs have invaded… yet.

This report and its observations aside, it is a peculiar time.

The fallen apple tree branch is a reminder of the life’s brief span. Accepting the tree’s demise has long been avoided. Until this morning.

I accept it. Despite the downward curve of the arc, there is time to plant another tree. If not for me, then for whoever inhabits this plot of ground after we are gone. Looking forward to putting new stock in the ground.

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