Moving into a house with a yard containing three apple trees and a cherry tree was very exciting. From the off we envisioned harvesting all the fruit to make into pies, jam and whatnot, as well as spreading some love by sharing our bountiful crop with friends.
Having moved in early April we experienced the joy of witnessing the trees blossom before the serious business of creating fruit started in earnest. Over the last few weeks we've been eagerly watching little green buds swell into small apples, and watching cherries in our huge tree darken and turn lovely and shiny. After nightmare infestations of tent caterpillars in the spring, as gardening novices we had no idea what to expect of this year's yield, so were pleasantly surprised and happy to witness fruit happily growing on the branches. From the elevated vantage point of our deck, the cherry tree looked particularly abundant.
The apples are still developing, but tonight we finally had some time available to pick the cherries at the time it looked most like they should be picked. They were deep red and looking very juicy. First, however, we went onto YouTube to see exactly how it should be done: cut them down individually with secateurs, high up the stalk so as to delay the ripening process. Then, in expectation of a bulging sack of cherries, we also researched the various ways in which they can be used and/or preserved. Excited, we donned our gardening gloves, grabbed the ladder, a container, and the secateurs.
When underneath the tree in search of cherries, we were suddenly somewhat crestfallen. There were a few within reach with the ladder, but many of the cherries that looked so healthy from the deck were soggy or half-munched by birds. Plenty more were entirely rotten on the branch. Stepping back, it seemed the real booty was the crop of cherries teasingly totally out of reach at the very top of the tree unless we were able to employ something like this:
Nonetheless, undeterred, we ploughed on. "Ooh, there's one!" Susan or I would chirrup enthusiastically upon a sighting, one of us then scuttling up the ladder to snip it down. "Oh, it's rotten," came back the reply, the disappointed harvester hurtling it into the distance in annoyance. This process went on for some time until pretty much every reachable, snippable cherry had been extracted from the tree. Then totally forgetting our reason for being in the yard in the first place we got sidetracked by butchering a gargantuan arc of blackberry thorns that had infiltrated our yard from next door. But the more we chopped away at the prickly bastard the more apparent it became that it was totally entwined as an all-but-impenetrable network in the upper reaches of the cherry tree, so after removing what we could we called it a night, shuffling disconsolately off to head indoors to take stock of our cherry haul.
So, ladies and gentlemen, collapse in awe if you will at our cherry harvest for Summer 2013, presented for your amazement by my good lady wife:
There we have the grand total of 26 cherries. Twenty-effing-six. That's less than the average sparrow consumes for breakfast. It's even less than in a single Mini Cherry Cutie Pie, for crying out screaming loud.
No pies, no jam, no whatnot, no spreading some love by sharing our bountiful crop with friends. No, not in Summer 2013. But, as total novices at this game we have learned plenty of lessons for next year. We have learned, for example, that it matters not how much we love birds, it's not the greatest idea to actively encourage them to visit our yard by hanging a bird feeder... in the cherry tree. That was a big mistake right there.
Oh well, let's see how we get on with the apples.