Backyard orchard’s bounty yields fabulous fruit fest for critters |

Backyard orchard’s bounty yields fabulous fruit fest for critters

We’re having a fruit festival at our place. My husband, Erik, and I are lucky enough to have about a dozen fruit trees in our yard. Last summer, because of frost and drought, our trees didn’t produce one piece of fruit. Sad. But this year, because of our relatively wet spring, the fruit trees got off to a great start, and even the burning heat of this summer and our lack of irrigation water mid-summer hasn’t deterred the trees from producing mountains of fresh fruit.We’ve got plums, pears, peaches, apples and apricots. We’ve especially got lots of apricots. Our two pooches, Jo Mama the golden Lab and Kody the Aussie shep, have been gorging themselves on the hundreds of apricots that are landing in their yard. (Don’t ask me how I know this, but let’s just say when you’re on doo-doo patrol, you discover these things.) The apricots come from our most productive apricot tree, which just happens to live in the dogs’ yard.Kody is so fond of apricots, in fact, that he completely slimed himself in apricots one day. I didn’t get to witness this display, but I’m thinking it probably was similar to the scene in the rock opera “Tommy” when Ann Margaret goes nuts in the…was it baked beans? Anyway, Kody was so sticky and covered in apricot goo, he immediately got a bath – with a scrub brush. He hasn’t slimed himself since. The dogs aren’t the only ones enjoying the fruit. The animal kingdom is coming out for the festivities. One evening last week, Erik and I looked out the window to see two beautiful three- and four-point bucks nibbling away at the Sapphire apples in one of our trees, not 50 feet from our deck. And this morning, a beautiful red fox with big ears sauntered over to the same apple tree and noshed on a few choice pieces of fruit that had fallen to the ground. He stayed for about 10 minutes, looking up every so often from his feast.The birds are going wild in the trees with all the fruit ripening up. You can hear them squawking and singing away, turning the fruit trees into aviaries.It’s pretty amazing how the animals around our place are so clued in. The two bucks have been back to the fruit trees a couple times now, and though I’ve seen the fox way out in the pasture before, I’ve never seen him come this close to the house. Still, there he is. This morning, he trotted away once he had his fill, but I’ll bet he’ll be back. The apricots and apples are small when compared to the fruit in the market, but no worries. There’s plenty of them. They’re ready to be eaten or turned into jam or baked into a pie. The pears and peaches have a ways to go. Besides the animals, friends are coming by now, too, with empty bags and baskets, and we let them loose on the trees. Still, we can’t keep ahead of this fruit. I can hear the apricots dropping from the tree next to the house at a faster rate than any of us – the dogs, us humans and the wildlife – can eat them. They make a dull thud when they hit the ground. Last night, I spent an hour picking up apricots from Jo and Kody’s yard. And still they keep coming.So, if you love apricots and apples, get in touch with me. Maybe we can work out a deal – the same kind of deal we have with all the other creatures who love fruit around here.

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