The fruit trees signal that it’s picking time. R and I ride the ATV around to the different trees and start pulling off the apples and pears. I notice that R is throwing more of them into the field than I am.
-They have holes, he says. They were eaten by something.
I let him throw away to his hearts content. After all, there are plenty of apples and pears, more than we can possibly eat. We will be donating to the local food bank again…this was a good year for our little orchard. All of our trees are “organic” not because we believe in it (we do) but because we are basically lazy. It takes work and an organized mind to keep fruit trees sprayed on time. And I have an aversion to spraying poison on things. So If R finds some half eaten apples and wants to throw them out for the deer, that’s fine with me.
When we get back to the house I begin to pull out the apples and pears that I want to keep to make applesauce and pear tarts. Our older trees were planted before the advent of some of the tastier, sweeter apples and they tend to be great for applesauce but not much else.
-Wait, R says, that one has a hole in it.
I squint at the apple and see a place where a small bug had enjoyed the apple.
-Really? I ask. This is a perfectly good apple. I mean I know it’s not what you would find in the supermarket but it will make great applesauce. I will cut out the part where the bug noshed on it. You know, sometimes the ones that are gnarly looking actually taste better.
Now, you should know that I grew up in the country and my husband, well, his idea of trees are the ones that are sticking out of the concrete in the sidewalk. Despite having lived in this house on our little “farm” (I use this term loosely) for eight years, he still is uncomfortable being out of doors unless he is washing his car or has a golf club in his hands or mowing the lawn. Bugs of all varieties are the bane of his existence and he much prefers air-conditioning to heat. I have been slowly kicking him of the AC habit since we moved here because our house was built in the 1880’s when cross breezes were obligatory and the trees outside were planted for shade, not beauty. (They achieve both, but that’s another post.) FYI, I am also perfectly happy turning on the AC when it’s stinky hot.
R’s discomfort spreads to eating fruit and vegetables that come directly from the garden. He has this idea that what he buys in the market is safer and better…no bugs, seen and unseen, reside on the carefully picked and displayed apples and pears that he chooses in the produce aisle. I am really trying hard to teach him that it’s not all about the look, it really has to do with the taste and a tomato eaten off the vine is sooooooo much more amazing than the tomato that came from, uh, well, I’m not sure where it came from.
So R’s education continues. I don’t think he will ever be totally comfortable in the great outdoors, but on the flip side, I’d never be totally comfortable having to be indoors all day. I’m already mourning the loss of the days when I can sit on the hillside and throw the ball for Lucy. But for now, I will just go down and check out the applesauce. He might even eat some of it.
UPDATE: The applesauce is delicious.