2017 has been a good year for my apple tree.

The harvest here in north central Arizona is never predictable, mostly the mature tree off the corner of my deck produces fruit every other year. Last year was a bust, only ten fruit on one branch. I’d like to think the full limbs this year, many pulled almost to the ground, are due to my aggressive thinning over winter.

I know better than to take credit.

One limb snapped off and the fruit from there already produced 4 apple crumbles, one pie, 4 jars of apple sauce and 3 of apple butter.

But then I noticed these today:

Surprise Apples


Surprise Apples flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

These four apples are on a second tree, and only once before, in 2013, has this one produced fruit. In fact, until then, I did not even identify it as an apple tree.

I thought it was a shrub.

When I got this place in 2002, this “shrub” was growing next to the bigger apple tree. It’s central trunk had been cut, and charred; it was next to a fire pit. I think it’s the one boxed in this photo from the first winter. The mature tree, which is a lot smaller than now, is on the right.

Possibly the second apple tree, it’s hard to tell. The large oak on the left is gone.

The spot it was in now is my strawberry patch (with irises):

Once Was a Tree Here


Once Was a Tree Here flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

That summer I filled the fire pit, dug up the “shrub” and relocated it farther down the hill. It had several branches radiating outward, and grew to be a round shrub about 8 feet tall, lots of green leaves.

Until 2013 when it revealed itself to be an apple tree.

Survivor Apple


Survivor Apple flickr photo by cogdogblog shared into the public domain using Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0)

That’s the original stump in the center. When thinning the bigger tree this winter, I cut all but one limb, the one on the bottom right. My words, “grow like a tree, not a bush”.

The four apples, one full red, the others with tint, might indicate it is a different variety. The big one is a granny smith, all green fruit, but my neighbor has a red apple tree that I was told once was Gala.

That this tree survived maybe being burnt before I knew it, cut, then dug up and moved, says a lot. That it produced four apples this year says a lot. I have big hopes for it in the future, ans relish the stories and surprises my tiny one third of an acre reveals to me.

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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