Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cabin Life: Apple Blossoms and Snow

Apple BlossomsWell, I woke up to pouring rain this morning.  It’s really coming down, to the point where my alarm didn’t wake me up, the pounding of the rain on the tin shed roof did.  All the windows are even closed due to the cold temperatures, and the rain was still loud enough to break my slumber.  But at least it wasn’t snow coming down like this.  The forecast has called for a chance of snow for the next few days, and while it wouldn’t be a major inconvenience to get some snow, it would be a little depressing.  Plus, I’m worried about the apple trees.

Last spring when the warmth came early and was followed by a month of cold, all my apple blossoms were killed.  In October, I found a whopping grand total of seven or eight apples.  These meager offerings were spread out amongst almost twenty trees, and not a single one was edible.  I only found one apple that wasn’t obviously bad, but when I bit into it, there was no sweetness or crunch.  Just mush and blandness.

Last week, the apple trees really started to go crazy.  After some unseasonably hot and dry conditions, spring sort of normalled out for a few weeks and gave us warm days, cool nights, and plenty of rain.  Actually, up until the snow storm warnings, it’s been nice weather, and the plants are definitely noticing it.  I got no apples, blueberries or raspberries last year due to the drought.  The apple trees are white with flowers and the light green blossoms of the blueberry bushes are starting to emerge.

But now I’m worried about losing the entire apple crop yet again.  I’ve only been able to taste a few of the apples out here, but a lot of these trees bear very different fruit than you find in the supermarket.  Some were dull pink on the inside and others were bitter but smelled magnificent.  I’m looking forward to seeing the whole range of non-homogenized fruit that they’ll produce.

But if we get more stupid snow tonight, I’m afraid the blossoms will go un-pollinated or freeze altogether, and I’ll be left with a weak and pathetic harvest.  There are a few trees that haven’t bloomed yet, and I’m beginning to feel like those might be my safety backup supply.  Hopefully they won’t be the only ones I get.

When I moved in to the cabin a couple of falls ago, the apples were a little too far gone to be of much use, and I had a lot of other things to accomplish that were more important that eating apples.  I was excited with the variety but not prepared to take advantage of it.  Now it just seems like a cruel hoax.  I got that sweet first taste, and then they were taken from me without permission.  I hope that last year was payment enough for them to come through this year.

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Having grown up in the southern Adirondacks, Justin has always been at home in the mountains of New York. After graduating from Paul Smiths College, he began his career in the environmental field working for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. After a brief five year detour to Florida, Justin returned to the Adirondacks to live off the grid in a small cabin with no running water or electricity.

Justin continues to work and play in the outdoors, and maintains a blog about living off grid, hiking, and being outside in the Adirondacks called Middle of the Trail.

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