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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.