They don’t call me Johnny Appleseed for nothing.
Well, actually, they don’t call me Johnny Appleseed at all.
But they should.
While I haven’t been living up to his legend of spreading apple tree seeds across the Midwest, I’ve certainly been producing more than my share of apples, off of one tree on steroids in our backyard.
But the legend of Johnny Appleseed isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. In fact, Johnny Appleseed (his real name was John Chapman) didn’t so much spread seeds, but he developed nurseries as he spread the gospel of his religion, The New Church. He would then move on, leaving the nurseries for others to care for, while he continued to preach the Gospel.
Apples grown from seed are actually rarely sweet, but are usually sour to the taste. That was okay for some people, though, who would use the sour apples to produce hard cider and apple jack. Both drinks were of the alcoholic variety, so it might have made it easier for Mr. Appleseed to preach the gospel when his disciples were a bit tipsy.
I have done no such thing with my apple tree, although I might end up a bit tipsy after bending over and picking up all the apples dropping from the tree.
I’ve never seen a tree produce so many apples. Had we sprayed the tree for insects, they might have even been worth eating. Actually, plenty of them were, but for every good apple I picked there were about 20 not worth salvaging. Early in the season I did save some and give them to neighbors, just like your friendly neighbor trying to get rid of his zucchini. Debbie and I couldn’t eat them all.
Later in the season I gave up even trying to salvage the good ones. Bag after bag I would gather from the tree, or off the ground, and into the garbage they would go. For almost two months I was filling our 90 gallon garbage container about half full with apples each week.
And they kept coming. It seemed that for every apple I picked up, three more would suddenly spring up on the tree. I would even shake the limbs and then dodge falling apples. Sir Isaac Newton would have been impressed as I discovered gravity over and over again.
After an evening of picking up apples, I would awaken the next morning to see that many more on the ground, and even more in the tree. It certainly looked bright and colorful as the leaves fell from the tree, all bright red and shiny, but not to the guy who was going to have to pick them up.
Finally, though, the production level is dropping. Now all that remains are those stubborn, frozen apples waiting to be covered by snow and hopefully become fertilizer for the yard next spring.
Debbie loves the tree and gives me a dirty look each time I suggest using George Washington’s ax to topple it.
Don’t tell Debbie, but maybe next time I trim it back, an accident might happen. It might suffer grave injuries.
We could always replace it. I think a nice, non-fruit bearing tree would look good in our backyard.