Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Safe from the backhoe's claw, an apple tree prevails. A Haralson, planted earlier this summer (and still wearing its hang tag, foreground,) has withstood ravenous deer, too--only by the liberal and frequent application of Liquid Fence. The tree will spend its life, which we hope will be long and fruitful, looking out on Lake Superior and basking in a climate heaven sent for apples. Though winters can be long and harsh in Zone 3, the lake sustains a micro climate that agrees with certain plants, especially apples. Superior's South Shore is ringed with abandoned orchards on long-since absented farm sites, and each year the unpruned and sometimes broken-down trees still hang heavy with disease/pest free fruit. Deer feast on them. Unfortunately, deer cannot tell the difference between abandoned orchards and producing orchards--hence the need for repellents.
We planted this tree not out of the need to store enough apples for a whole winter the way people did when the area was settled in the early 1900s, but mostly because we want to see if we can keep it going--and some apples would be nice, too. Testing oneself against the elements is one of humankind's oldest passions. No matter how many generations pass, we seem to need to keep challenging ourselves to see if we can eventually control nature. We keep reading the score as Nature 1, Humans 0+/-. Maybe some year soon we will learn that the world is not a contest--because there is really only one team. An apple tree laden ripe, red/green fruit because of our efforts--or in spite of them--is the living proof.