The fruit trees and berry shrubs were loaded with blossoms this spring. It was exciting to think it might be a banner year for fruits and berries. Then, a late spring frost dashed our hopes. Not one apricot or peach set on the trees. It appeared the same on the apple trees. There were a few blackberries but the drought brought droves of hungry birds that plucked nearly every berry from the canes early each morning. Then last week it was apparent there had to be at least a few apples up in that old tree. For one evening, the ranch hands surprised me with their own discovery of the golden treasures! They had become, quite clearly, “The Apple Dumpling Gang”.
Bear is really the brains behind the outfit. A simple bee-line across the driveway to the apple tree, quick choice of an appropriate specimen and a smooth trot back to the house without distraction is his plan. Simply put, he dashes out, grabs the loot, and heads back inside. Not a moment is wasted. He sneaks his apples in the house and eats them in cool, air-conditioned comfort. His method of enjoying the delicacy is as impeccable as his “butler of the house” manners. The fruit is dissected concisely and without mess. No evidence to point a finger at him. Apple? What apple?
Zoe is not the brains of the outfit. Having some kind of a sense of direction, she meanders to the apple tree and makes a discovery. The specimen is licked, sniffed, tooth-pierced, and licked again before taking possession of the loot. Zoe decides to lay in the shade and nibble on her treasure while the gettin is good. Dreamy-eyed she gnaws and smacks and lifts her head as if basking in the glory of the just-committed apple heist. If caught or confronted by a would be thief moving in on her prize, she growls, snaps her jaws on the golden delight and runs away… to the nearest shade tree and resumes her feast.
Tori has a plan. C-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y he makes his way, zigzagging slowly, looking nonchalant, stopping to lift a leg to water the cherry tree, then resuming his trot to the apple tree. His selection of loot isn’t always the grandest. He doesn’t know a ripe apple from a rotten apple. They are all prize apples to Tori. They are not necessarily even to be eaten. For Tori, it is the parade that follows. Prancing in front of the crowd with his treasure, he taunts the paparazzi by moving back and forth, stopping just long enough to pose for a picture, then running off again hoping for a chase. The apple is not to be extracted from his jaws. He brings his prize inside, prances and parades a bit more, then drops it. Ah, but the game is not over. He waits, appearing disinterested in the punctured fruit, in hopes that Bear with his penchant for apples will come along and try to steal his prize. Certainly that will not happen. Tori is the brute of the gang and no one comes out of a confrontation unscathed!
Niko? Niko does not care about apples. Niko loves the ladies. The chicken pen is where he runs. Those robust, feathered beauties that cluck over him and flock to the fence to greet him are the apples of his eyes.
© Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…