A Good Year for Fruit

Despite excessive heat and a prolonged drought through the first half of summer, the fruit crop on our Littleton farm has been excellent this year.  Mulberries were abundant in June and our various apple and pear trees are more laden with fruit than I have seen in many years.

Of course, this abundance reflects the fact that we did not have a late freeze this spring.  Though some upslope snow fell in March and April, the temperature remained relatively mild and the blossoms emerged intact.  Since I am often out of town, our farm management might be described as willful neglect, characterized by minimal irrigation and no use of fertilizers or pesticides; as a result, the fruit is abundant but not terribly attractive for human consumption.  While I might snack on an apple or two, almost all of the crop is left for the wildlife.

Indeed, nocturnal squabbles have been evident this past week as raccoons and skunks raid the fallen fruit.  Squirrels, flickers and mice also partake and, in some years, mule deer wander in to feast on the bounty.  What could be better for a naturalist than trees that require no maintenance and attract a host of wild creatures?