Pick Your Own Apples

If you happen to live in an apple growing region, at this time of the year you might see signs reading “pick your own apples”. At our orchard in New Hampshire, I think the message has taken on a whole new meaning for some of the visitors that have dropped by.

Pick Your Own Apples Has A  Whole  New Meaning

As a matter of fact, I think the animals who have wandered through our front orchard may have not understood the sign in front of own home. Do you suppose the animals think that the sign says Wildlife Refugee instead of Orchard Hill Farm.

That would explain why no matter what time of the year it is, the orchard looks like a circus menagerie or a zoo. There have been the normal sightings of birds, ducks, geese, hawks, turkeys, bats,  chipmunks, squirrels, skunks, possums, mink, fisher cats, coyotes, woodchucks (ground hogs), and deer. There have been tracks from black bears. There was even a sighting of a monkey that animal control tried to capture before we moved into our home years back.

Home Sweet Home

It was good to get back home after spending a wonderful summer in Maine. After unpacking a car full of food that we brought back home with us, it was time to go look and see what was happening outdoors.

While Maine had a lot of rain, New Hampshire was much drier over the summer. I was surprised to see how far down our pond was. It will take a lot of rain and snow to fill it back to normal for next year.

The Pond Is Very Low From Lack Of Rain

As I walked around the orchard, I was shocked to see that there were very few apples. Most of the trees don’t have any. On a good year each of our trees can have hundreds of apples. This year the orchard probably has only a couple of hundred instead of thousands.

Very Few Apples…The Trees Should Have Hundreds On Each One

Let me show you what else I saw as I walked out into the back orchard…turkeys. Not just a couple but part of a group of twenty or so.

No Apples On The Trees But Plenty Of Turkeys

Wild Turkeys

Then I spied what looked like a black fuzzy ball. I knew right away that this was no ball but the one animal that causes me the most grief in the orchard. It was a porcupine…a young one that had been gorging itself on apples. At least it wasn’t in the trees gnawing off the limbs. They do so much damage to all our fruit trees…killing all our cherry trees.

Porcupines Do More Damage To My Orchard Than Any Other Animal

Last but not least I wanted to check the orchard floor to see how many windfall apples were down on the ground. They have to be picked up so that they don’t rot on the ground and then dumped in a compost pile in the back of the orchard.

Half Eaten Apple…Which Critter Did It

Look At That Guy…I Think He Could Be Getting Fat On Apples

Many had bites taken out of them. Do you think this guy could have been the culprit? I’ve seen him around before. If not him, then who…the woodchucks, the porcupines, the turkeys. I could go on and on.

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About Karen

I travel the back roads of New England and beyond, sharing great food and interesting places.
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123 Responses to Pick Your Own Apples

  1. This was truly entertaining – though the critters may not be good for the orchard, it was certainly interesting for a town dweller like me to see–it brings back the days when I lived in the country and the next door neighbour’s cows got out and into our garden, or the horse that whinnied under my bedroom window after escaping from his owner–

    • Karen says:

      Hi LouAnn, I’m glad to know that you enjoyed the post. I don’t mind sharing but the only critters that do real damage are porcupines. I used to live on a ranch in Texas and can relate to your story as well.

  2. ladyfi says:

    You live an enchanted life!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ladyfi, I really do have to agree with you…I do live a very wonderful life. I truly am blessed.

      • “Enchanted” is the perfect word because the only thing I could think of as I read this post was Snow White…..apples and little critters prancing about, You wouldn’t happen to have seven dwarfs huddled up somewhere, do you? Garden gnomes count. Face it…you are a real life Princess.

      • Karen says:

        Oh, next time I’m out in the orchard I’ll be humming Hi Ho, Hi Ho. I’ll be on the lookout for the dwarfs and gnomes…they are probably watching me from the woods. My husband treats me like a princess if that counts. Loved your comment, Heather.

  3. Karen, I enjoyed this post so much. As always, the pictures were exceptional and made me feel as if I was walking through the orchard with you.

  4. When the cat’s away, eh? So many of the wild food sources are sparse this year – there are NO black cherries at all, and the crab apples are way down, too – it’s no surprise they’re feasting on your apples…
    Our RI orchards are suffering this year – that freeze in April did a lot of damage to the crop. The ones in Central Mass seem to have escaped though. We’re headed up there tomorrow to load up.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Marie, I had to laugh when I read your comment. I started to title this one “When the cat’s away”. I really was shocked that most of the trees don’t even have one apple. I usually have to pay several people to help me pick up all the windfalls to keep the orchard floor clean but this year will be a piece of cake. The only tree out of 300 that has lots of apples is one of my lady apples that I use for decorations. Maine orchards seemed to escape the frost damage but we didn’t.

  5. It wasn´t me – although I think I may have stolen a few if I had been around! Welcome home, shame the apple crop isn´t what you expected, but I loved the photos of the animals :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Tanya, Welcome home to you as well. I’m glad you enjoyed the photos. You never know what nature has is store each year with crops…you have to take the good with the bad.

  6. Debra Kolkka says:

    I have been wandering around the village picking my own figs. There are several trees laden with delicious, ripe figs……I can’t resist.

  7. Lovely post – and photos. I should send some of our London rain to your pond … we have crazy amounts of rainfall here! Enjoy being back in your New Hampshire home!

  8. Norma Chang says:

    So sorry to learn about your apples, I can truly relate.. I have not seen porcupines yet, did not realize they would do so much damage.
    That is a huge flock of turkey. There is your Thanksgiving dinner, Karen, in your own backyard LOL
    I had a pair of last year but have not seen them this year.
    Next year will be a better fruit year for both of us.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Norma, I’m sure next year will be a better year for our fruit trees. I have counted 50 turkeys in the orchard at once. We could feed our entire town Thanksgiving dinner. LOL. Porcupines are very distractive. They cut off the branches with their sharp teeth…it looks like someone has used pruners on the trees. Thank you for your comment.

  9. viveka says:

    First of all your photos are so fantastic … have never seen Porcupine – looks very cute to me, a lovely photo of a beast in the garden. *smile – what a wildlife you have on your doorstep. Fantastic !!!!!!
    In the corner of Skåne where my mum lives – is the Apple Kingdom – and this weekend they will reveal the yearly apple picture – made of 36.000 apples and 72.000 spikes – here is the artist’s link.
    Amazing what she can do. http://www.emmas.se/apple.htm
    Apple in Swedish is Äpple.

    Thanks for the most wonderful post – stunning, Karen … you and your camera is such a good team.
    The wildlife on my doorstep is Volvo cars. *smile. Million thanks.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Viveka, for your lovely compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos. Thank you for the link…the apple pictures are terrific. The porcupine was cute because it was young. They get as big as a small bear cub and grow very long quills that can cause a lot of pain to any animal that comes in contact with them.

  10. Here in Michigan, we lost a lot of our apple crop to the hot March then freezes in April. Why don’t the critters eat the whole apple, not just take a bite out of it. Are apples like a box of chocolate to them?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, We had the same unseasonable weather this spring. I wish the critters would eat the whole apple and not leave me with the half eaten ones to pick up. I like your thinking…they must be like a box of chocolate to them. Thank you for your comment.

  11. Mi feel like I stepped in a fairy tale :D
    Beautiful!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  12. Judy says:

    I couldn’t bear to hit the “like” button – sorry to hear about your apple crop. I love wildlife but sometimes you can get a little too many visitors.

  13. Monique says:

    That’s true you have that great orchard..What a beautiful sight..I love critters in the garden but not the ones that destroy..squirrels..skunks..wabbits etc..:(Every year WILL get better!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Monique, I do love the apple orchard. It will get prettier when the surrounding woods start to turn crimson and yellow. I agree with you about the critters that destroy. Would you believe that we don’t have rabbits here…they have too many predators. I’m sure that next year there will be a bumper crop.

  14. dhphotosite says:

    Wow what a super post Karen, I love love your home! You do have quite a menagerie there to keep life interesting…even with the porcupine visits. You live in a beautiful place.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you so much David, for your nice compliment. I’m glad you enjoyed this post. We really do have a wonderful home here in New Hampshire. It is like living in a piece of history since the house was built in the 1730′s.

  15. Kristy says:

    The animals have been having a feeding frenzy! Welcome home Karen.

  16. catherinefarley says:

    I know visiting animals can be a problem but I would love to see them wandering around out in the open. I occasionally see deer, but that’s about it. Sorry to read that your apple crop is small this year.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Catherine, Thank you for your comment. It really was surprising how few apples we have this year. One nice thing is that the orchard won’t take so much work this year. There is nothing we can do about all the animals so we might as well laugh and enjoy them.

  17. Bonnie says:

    We planted a very small orchard last year and got 2….count them,2…Jonagold apples this year. We were surprised and I’m sure it will take 3 or 4 more years to get any kind of crop. I am interested in learning to care for and prune our trees. What a beautiful property you live on. Is your home new or old?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Bonnie, Thank you for your nice compliment. Our home was originally built in the 1730′s…the oldest home in our town. I love Jonagold’s…one of the 100 varieties that we have. It will take several years for your trees to produce many apples as all their energy is going into growing roots and branches right now. You can get assistance in learning how to properly prune and care for your trees from the Agricultural Extension Service in your area. If by chance you don’t have one nearby, then the nearest state college should be able to assist you. Hope that helps.

  18. kitchenriffs says:

    I never realized porcupines could be so destructive! Cute little guy, though. I wonder if lack of rain is why your apple crop is so much less than normal? Bummer, that – in addition to yourselves, lots of critters depend on your apple crop! Beautiful photos, very nice post – thanks so much.

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, Thank you for your nice compliment. Two reasons for such a small crop this year. When the apples trees were blooming, it rained most everyday. Bees don’t go out in the rain so lots of the blossoms didn’t get pollinated. Then we had a hard frost that killed a lot of the just forming apples. The porcupine was cute because he was young and fuzzy…you should see what they look like when they are grown. Only another porcupine might like their menacing look.

  19. Emilie says:

    It is definitely turkey season! My mom was telling me that her 3lb toy poodle was trying to get into a fight with gang of turkeys in her garden a week or so ago. Clearly, the poodle gave up pretty quickly ;)

  20. Mad Dog says:

    How fantastic! I wonder if the deer get drunk from fermenting apples in their stomachs, like moose and elk?

  21. My God, you must spend your life wrangling all these greedy creatures. It’s all very well to say how pretty it all is, but it must take a mountain of work to keep it that way. The house looks lovely.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Roger, for your nice compliment. I count myself very fortunate to live in such a lovely spot. We fell in love with the house and property…it just so happened to come with 300 apple trees. It is a lot of work to keep it looking good.

  22. A_Boleyn says:

    What a gorgeous house and property. My idea of heaven … if someone else could do all the outdoor maintenance.

    Wild turkeys. Hmmm. Thanksgiving is coming up. You could do a very traditional one with turkey and venison. :) Do porcupines make good stew?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Boleyn, Thank you for your compliment. You are right…it is a little piece of heaven. Up until two years ago, I did all the work myself and believe me it is hard. Now I have someone who helps although I do love working in the orchard this time of the year when the weather is so nice. We are going to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving and it will be traditional with wild turkey and venison we have been told. Now as to porcupine stew….LOL.

  23. Lovely photos, as always. Having grown up in Texas, I’m sure you remember the only apples we grow here are “horse apples,” you know that gnarly looking green fruit on beau d’arc trees that nothing eats. I have no idea why they ever got named horse apples but they are inedible. We’re sure glad someone is able to grow real apples.

  24. Hi Karen, We had three apple trees, a plum and a pear, but all except one apple was lost in last October’s blizzard here in CT. The remaining apple tree is not bearing fruit–I thought perhaps grief (mine!) or that the trees needed to be pollinated from each other. I’m not sure how it works. But you have given me a new idea–maybe I’m missing the apples because someone else is getting them. We have so many deer, and a huge flock of turkeys that come and sit on my deck until I go outside! No porcupines that I have seen, but there are skunks and groundhogs. Well, we wanted to live in the country! I hope your trees recover for next year. Linda

    • Karen says:

      Hi Linda, We lost a lot of trees in our orchard from the blizzard as well. Because the trees were full of apples and leaves, a lot of them were pulled right out of the ground from the weight of the snow. Some are still alive but leaning badly as you can see in the photos. Some varieties of apples need to be cross pollenated. Your tree might be a variety that does. It sounds like you have as many critters as we do. Be very glad that you don’t have porcupines.

  25. That looks like such a fun activity. I wish it were more accessible in Chicago.

  26. Little Sis says:

    Thank you SO much for sharing the porcupine pic. I’ve never seen one (despite our recent spate of wildlife adventures). And THAT many turkeys – maybe there is a convention at your house? I’m sorry to hear about the diminished harvest. I imagine some of it’s wildlife, but I’ve been reading about the same from LOTS of apple producers. Bad year for my favorite fruit.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Little Sis, It really was a bad year for apple producers in many parts of the country. I’m glad you enjoyed the photo of the young porcupine. If I see a grown one, I will try to get a photo but they usually don’t come out until dark. It was very unusual to see this one in the daylight. Thank you for your comment.

  27. Enjoy picking apples here as well – Karen, you are living the dream I would say – and I certainly enjoy it vicariously through you! Thank you.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kelli, I’m very lucky to have the life I do. I have been able to have some wonderful adventures and like sharing them with readers like yourself. So happy that you enjoy them so much. Thank you for your kind words.

  28. ChgoJohn says:

    What a disappointment, Karen. I bet you were anxious to see how your orchard had fared and not only had the trees under-produced but what little did ripen was pilfered and, worse yet, wasted. It can be so frustrating. It is bad enough that they’re eating it but to leave so much of it behind. Although not nearly on so grand a scale, your thieves’ relatives raid the gardens around here, dropping off their half-eaten loot in another neighbor’s yard.
    I hope you’re able to harvest at least enough apples to fill your needs, with a few left over to slice and dip into a jar of peanut butter. :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi John, There will be enough apples to make a few pies, that is for sure and let our friends pick…several have been out already. A couple was planning on having photos taken in the orchard in October for their wedding but I think they will have to come up with another idea. It is usually so pretty with the trees loaded with apples. It is a funny the way the critters eat only a portion of an apple…maybe they are looking for the apple of their dreams.

  29. Kathy says:

    It sounds like YOU live in the middle of the woods!! My goodness, all these animals. Enjoyed looking at the photos and getting to know you a bit better. I’ve heard that it’s been a bad apple year in Michigan, too. My friend shared some apples from her trees with us and they have been good in apple crisps. Welcome back to your winter home, Karen.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Kathy, We live in a small town of about 5000 people with every home being on at least two acres. I can see my neighbors across the road but otherwise we are surrounded by woods on the rest of our property that isn’t part of the orchard. I’m glad that you enjoyed learning a little about our home in New Hampshire…it is very different from our little summer cottage in Maine. Thank you for your comment.

  30. flavorsofthesun says:

    It’s such fun to share your rural adventures. Sorry the fruit was hit to hard, but glad it was critters and not people. I had two maiden aunts whose extensive garden and fruit trees were raided every week when they went to church–stripped! Such a shame. Nature, I can deal with. Loved the porcupine pic especially.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Victoria, My life is very different from when I lived in a very cosmopolitan city. I enjoy living in a rural area with all its pleasures and challenges. I’m glad to hear that you enjoy following along on my adventures. I think the fuzzy young porcupine photo is everyone’s favorite as most people haven’t seen one before. I can’t believe that your aunts had such greedy and dishonest neighbors. Shame on them!

  31. twbarritt says:

    The photos of the turkeys are amazing. The lack of apples is a big problem all over the east coast, and prices for what remains have gone through the roof.

    • Karen says:

      Hi T.W., I’m glad you enjoyed the photos of the turkeys. Normally it is hard to get photos of turkeys but I snuck up behind them and they didn’t notice me. The turkeys and porcupine were so busy eating that I got some lucky shots. The lack of apples in the orchards is making news in our part of the country…last night it was about the high price of fresh cider.

  32. hotlyspiced says:

    Your home is beautiful and I love your property. It must be so wonderful to live with so much space. And what a variety of wildlife. You sure don’t need to visit a zoo – you have all the animals visiting you – like Noah but without the coming flood! That’s so disappointing that your trees haven’t produced the apples this year, or did they produce the apples but the wildlife got to them before the humans? It’s a great shame either way. I didn’t know porcupines were so destructive xx

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Charlie, for your compliment. We do have a lovely home on a beautiful piece of property…and yes, there is abundant wildlife. The lack of apples this year is because of weather…it rained during bloom time and the bees weren’t out and then there was a killing frost later.

  33. Mary says:

    Love the baby porcupine, even if he is a little rascal! Your property is stunning, and your home is the exact color scheme I want!! Love your photos
    ,

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mary, Thank you for your compliment about our home. The color is historic (our home is from the 1730′s) and is what we found during the restoration of the house which took three years. Everyone loves the baby porcupine. It was very fuzzy and its quills had not developed except on his backside and tail which I didn’t show. Someday soon it will be a menacing creature but right now it is cute.

  34. Wow! I never thought of all the little (and big) scavengers you might have waiting for their own pick of the orchard! What a menagerie. Great photos. I cannot imagine having all the deer and turkey, but a porcupine! :-) You must be disappointed in the apple scarcity, but from what I read and hear from others, it really does cycle, doesn’t it? You have a lovely, restful home. I’m sure it was very good to return, even though your summer experience was indeed special! Great photos! Debra

    • Karen says:

      Hi Debra, Thank you for your compliment about our home…we just love it. We always hate closing down our summer cottage but coming home in the fall is always nice. We do have a lot of wildlife in the orchard. I believe that they think this is their property and we are the visitors. LOL.

  35. Phil Lanoue says:

    Sure looks like everyone read the sign. These are terrific!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Phil, I really do think that the animals think the sign says Wildlife Refuge. They walk around the orchard like they own the place. Glad you enjoyed the photos.

  36. musingmar says:

    What a lovely property you have. Your post conveyed a real sense of homecoming as you took us along on your survey of the grounds. I appreciate how respectful you are of the wildlife who share your space.

    It’s so sad to think of how few apples survived this year’s frost. We were hit here in Ontario as well. We went apple picking last weekend at an orchard outside Port Stanley on Lake Erie, and they said they’d lost about 70% of their crop. Sad for us, but sad also for all the hungry critters that are looking for their share too.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Marlene, for your compliment. We do have a lovely piece of property and it is always nice to return home. Fall is such a lovely time to walk through the orchard. Nature dealt orchard growers a hard blow with few apples this season but there is always next year.

  37. mjskit says:

    What a lovely place where you live! All of the wildlife, greenery, orchards – it’s just beautiful! Thoroughly enjoyed this post!

  38. Sissi says:

    Karen, the apple picker’s photo is hilarious! Of course if it was my orchard I wouldn’t laugh at all… The porcupine looks cute too but the turkeys… well I wonder if you are allowed to hunt them… They look so delicious and I have heard wild turkeys are completely different from the bred ones. I am repeating myself, but I envy you so much this wonderful orchard.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Sissi, I just had to use the photo of the “apple picker” deer. It gave me the inspiration for this post. Yes, you can hunt turkeys in New Hampshire. Our friends are going to serve wild turkey for Thanksgiving this year alongside a farm raised one. It will be very interesting to taste the difference. Even if the taste is great, I don’t think I would like to be the one to pluck all the feathers. I’m glad you enjoy the posts about our New Hampshire home and orchard. Thank you as always.

  39. Karen I love fresh apples but around here I know they spray so I stopped going to pick…but having your own brings in added bonuses of wildlife…how fun…here the crop is small because of the April freezes that were weekly.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Donna, We choose to use absolutely nothing on our trees. The apples aren’t perfect like what you find in most orchards but the blemishes peel right off and the taste is great. The flavor is what counts as well as the fact that we don’t have to live around chemicals. The April weather did a lot of damage to orchards everywhere it appears.

  40. Barbara says:

    Great post, Karen. And it brought back so many memories…not so much the wildlife, but the apples. Our yard in Michigan was filled with apple trees and I made applesauce very fall with them….plus a multitude of other dishes.
    Looks to me as though Bambi might be the culprit, although with the menagerie you described, it could be a combination.
    Love the photos!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Barbara, I’m glad you enjoyed the post and photos. I’m happy it brought back pleasant memories. Having a yard or orchard full of apple trees has so many rewards. We sometimes have friends visit from out of state for a harvest weekend. We pick apples, make cider, bake pies and everyone goes home with lots of apple goodies.

  41. Mary says:

    So enjoyed a glimpse into your home – so beautiful and the wildlife is wonderful
    mary x

  42. Karen, you have a very beautiful house. While it’s fun to read about the visitors in your backyard garden, it’s pretty sad to see all the damaged trees.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Angie, You never know what challenges nature will throw at you each year. Even though there is a very small crop on the trees, there will be plenty for us to have several pies and share apples with our friends.That will make me happy.

  43. If I lived there I don’t think I could ever leave. Well maybe if I saw a bear. Your house is beautiful and your land is stunning.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, Thank you for your compliment. My husband and I do think we have a lovely place to live. The only way I want to meet a bear is with bars between us. More homes have been built in our area since I saw evidence of a bear in the orchard so hopefully it has moved to a more isolated spot.

  44. Wow, what a lovely place to live. I would adore the critters too until they ate up all our crop…my heart goes out to you but you seem to have the right attitude about it. Those are lovely photos and I would so enjoy visiting there. My mom had to net all her vegies since our local deer were helping themselves. I guess it would be rather difficult to “net” a whole orchard! Take care. Best of luck.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Geni, I have to agree with you because when I first saw the property I fell in love with it. From the second floor of our house, you can see the Presidential Mountain Range. It is a love hate relationship with the critters. I don’t mind sharing the apples, I just hate to see them damage the trees themselves which the porcupines do. When you have three hundred trees, it would be impossible to protect them all as the average height of them is twenty feet.

  45. Charles says:

    Wow, you’d think the critter would have had the good grace to finish his piece of fruit before grabbing another! Lovely photos Karen – by the way, I was meaning to ask you – do you know just how many varieties of fruit tree (mainly the apples) you actually have? Are they pretty much all the same, or all different?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Charles, Wouldn’t you think that animals would eat the whole apple…I guess they are looking for the perfect one. Yes, I do know how many different varieties we have…just over a hundred. Most of the apples are heritage also known as heirloom varieties. I have three trees that I know you would enjoy having apples from…Cox’s Orange Pippin, a lovely English apple.

  46. Karen, what a lovely post! That deer definitely came to pick his own apples… :) You have a lovely orchard, a dream place indeed. Thanks for sharing amazing photos: taking photos of creatures is quite a challenge!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Marina, for your nice compliment. Getting photos of all the animals that visit the orchard can be challenging but I was so lucky on the day we got home. I got behind the turkeys so that they didn’t see me and porcupines don’t usually come out until night…the little one was just too greedy about wanting to eat apples. I was in the right spot at the right time. I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos.

  47. Karen, welcome back home–your property is beautiful!
    Our large pond is nearly dried up–so sad. The ducks are gone! I don’t want to think about what happened to my baby Mallards. I hate that part of living in the country.

    • Karen says:

      Thank you, Stacy. It is nice to be back home in New Hampshire. Sorry that weather conditions have caused your pond to dry up as well. Being surrounded by nature has many blessings but sometimes causes us to worry as well.

  48. Carolyn Chan says:

    I love wildlife encounters like this!

  49. Larry says:

    sorry to hear you had a weak apple crop but great that you provide such an appealing habitat. I’ve never seen a porcupine in the wild, how do you control them? are they edible?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Larry, Thank you for concern about the crop but as you know from your experiences with your garden, you have to take the bad with the good. Controlling porcupines is not easy because they are nocturnal. When you put out traps, there is a good possibility that you may catch a skunk. Getting either one out of a trap is not easy…it is a job best left the experts. A_Boleyn wondered the same thing…googled it and found a recipe. I told her that I wouldn’t want to be the one to work around all those quills. LOL.

  50. What an adventure apple-picking is in your neck of the woods. I’d love to spend an afternnoon in your lovely orchard!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Chris, My friends always enjoy coming into our orchard especially with their children to pick apples. On a cool day when the surrounding woods are ablaze with crimson and gold, it is a great way to spend an afternoon.

  51. I was going to say “how cool” it was that you had porcupines around (only for the shear novelty) but then to read about the damage they cause, my mind was instantly changed. Get a rope and hang em high!! ;-)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jed, I think that most people aren’t aware of how much damage they can do to trees or shrubs. Besides cutting of apple branches, they have done quite a bit of damage to our pear trees and have killed all but one of our cherry trees.

  52. Mary says:

    How nice to have your own menagerie :-). It must be wonderful to see them on your property. Your photos are wonderful. I’ll wager it’s great to be back home. Have a wonderful weekend. Blessings…Mary

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Mary, for your nice compliment. I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos. It is nice to be back home in New Hampshire as fall is so beautiful here. It is very interesting to see all the wildlife that passes through the orchard. Have a nice weekend as well.

  53. Jerry says:

    Wow – beautiful post. as much as Maine is wonderful it must be even better to return home again.
    Did you manage to grab one of those turkeys? It won’t be long before Thanksgiving arrives! :-0

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Jerry, for your nice compliment. As much as we love our summers in Maine, it is always nice to come back to New Hampshire. My husband has been very tempted when the flocks wander through the orchard. We go to friends for Thanksgiving each year and they are going to have wild turkey as well as a farm raised one. It will be interesting to see and taste the difference between the two.

  54. Rachel says:

    Oh I can almost smell the apples. If you haven’t lived in apple country in the fall then you are hard-pressed (not a cider joke) to imagine how the air smells like good apple wine… mmmmmmmmm! I miss it!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Rachel, You are absolutely right about the smell…especially as the apple season progresses. I believe that there are orchards not too far outside of Austin…I hope you will get a chance to visit one of them.

  55. cabinet stew says:

    wildlife can be so entertaining and maddening all at the same time! The turkeys are the “nerds” of the bird world to me! So gawky when they actually try to land on my mother’s porch handrail that she puts bird feed on!! Sorry to hear about the orchards but thanks for the cute porcupine picture!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Carol, I’m glad that you enjoyed the post and photo of the porcupine…it seems to be everyone’s favorite. I’m glad our national bird is the bald eagle instead of a turkey like Benjamin Franklin wanted.

  56. Karen, this is an outstanding post – I showed it to my kids and they all could not believe their eyes, there are no wild turkeys or porcupines around here and certainly not in our garden (only twelve rabbits) and no beautiful apple trees either and your house is just so unbelievably pretty! Goodness, I could go on and on…in any case, my family and I greatly enjoyed your post – thanks so much for sharing!

    • Karen says:

      Thank you Andrea, for your kind words. I’m so glad that you and your family enjoyed the post and photos. Our home and orchard give my husband and I a lot of pleasure and I do enjoy knowing at others find it interesting.

  57. Tandy says:

    How wonderful to have all that wildlife right on your doorstep! Have a wonderful day :)

  58. Hi Karen. Wow, a menagerie of fruits and fauna and flora, plus a zoo. My folks have two apple trees, one in the backyard and one that runs on a trestle along the driveway. Home grown apples truly are the best and I’m in awe of your beautiful orchards. It’s a shame that your prized specimens aren’t as plentiful because no doubt they’re truly beautiful and tasty to behold. All I can hope is that naughty critters help in the propagation of some (ahem!) seeds and you have even more bounty in the future :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alli,Thank you for your comment. This year’s crop is the smallest ever but still delicious. I agree with you that apple picked right off the tree is so good and juicy compared to the ones from a store. I’m sure that there will be a bumper crop next year.

  59. dahliadd says:

    WOW!! Karen, love the pics and a day in your life on the Apple Orchard!
    Goodness, I spent years and years of Summers in NH (in a small cottage) my family owned and i never saw a porcupine! I didn’t know NH had them! How interesting to hear they are so destructive too – yikes!! What region do you live?

    • Karen says:

      H Dahlia, It is always nice to know that my photos bring back nice memories of time spent in New Hampshire…glad you enjoyed them. I live in the seacoast region.

  60. Oh my goodness, you’re feeding a virtual zoo there, Karen! What a fascinating read, thank you. I wonder what the monkey is up to? :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Celia, Somedays it does feel like a zoo when I’m out in our orchard. Let’s hope that monkey found a home somewhere as our winters are not easy. Thank you for your comment.

  61. rsmacaalay says:

    Its 3 more months for our apple picking season over here in NZ

    • Karen says:

      Hi Raymund, It is interesting to know that your apples season is only three months behind ours…that is not long to wait for a crisp, juicy apple. Thank you for your comment.

  62. Wow Karen-you certainly have some wildlife at your place-and to think I worry about the ever-present squirrels and the odd wandering sheep!!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Dragonette, You live in such a lovely part of the world. I don’t have the odd wandering sheep but maybe I should keep an eye out. LOL. Thank you for your comment.

  63. Wildlife preserve indeed! And what is a fisher cat? Never heard of that. Know that it’s nice to be home again. :)

    • Karen says:

      Hi Betsy, Thank you for your comment. A fisher cat is not a cat but is in the same family as a weasel. It is usually between three and four feet long and weights between 10 to 15 pounds. It is the reason that you usually don’t find any rabbits in our area.

  64. Sophie33 says:

    Thanks you for the tour in your apple orchard! Beautiful looking Turkey’s: yummy too!
    Georgous pics of it all!

  65. Oh I am soooooo happy to connect with you, your site is truly lovely!!!! I have a hope to someday move to the New England area, who knows where life will lead us though:-) Your home, and the zoo would be so peaceful, calming, and truly beautiful! Have a beautiful weekend, Hugs, Terra

    • Karen says:

      Hi Terra, Thank you for stopping by for a visit. I’m glad that you like my blog. New England is a wonderful please to live or to visit. I hope that you get a chance to do one or the other. Thank you for your nice comment.

  66. What a terrific sight to come home to! Nature and all her animals as your guests!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Ducky, We do have a lot of wildlife to enjoy in the orchard. Now they are getting to eat all the apples while we are traveling again. Hope they leave me a couple.

  67. lvaletutto says:

    I love all the wildlife that you are privy to on your orchard. It’s too bad that they are competing with you for what few apples you have left on your trees!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Laura, We do enjoy the wildlife and now that I’m out of the country… You know the saying, “when the cat’s away”. I’m sure every critter’s stomachs will be full of apples when I get home.

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