Bad Apples

In 2009 Martin and I carefully selected certain species of apples trees that would thrive in our soil. Then we nurtured our saplings. We watered, weeded and sprayed them. Warded off pests. We treated them with love. Like our kids.

Yea, right.

Enough fiction. We plugged the plants into the ground and cordoned them off with a roll of sagging chicken wire — a vague effort to stagger the deer. Then we left the apple trees alone to cope. To wilt despairingly in summer drought, and serve as snacks for insects and deer — the latter of whom deftly bent over the chicken wire.

Through it all the apple trees survived and this summer we glimpsed at bits of red weighing down the limp young branches.

Last week Brynn and I ventured into the sheep field, pried back a corner of wire and harvested the crop.

And all of our efforts were rewarded with…

….the ugliest apples to ever sprout from a tree.

They are blighted, spotted from insect infestation and pocked with peculiar, human-like warts. Not to mention, they are stunted and hopelessly deformed.

“They look like a bunch of butts,” our friend Mike remarked.

Which is why we call them the “butt apples.”

What a lovely centerpiece…

Much to my surprise, no one wanted to sample these home-grown, organic gems.

I felt obligated. And guess what?

They taste great! They are sweet and crunchy — as good as any store-bought fuji…

…if you can get past the deformed, warty, insect damage.

See? Yum… and I’m still alive.

Coincidentally, shortly after we harvested our fruit, Hadley showed me her homework assignment which read as follows:

Send one apple with your child….their favorite type to eat…in a bag labeled with their name. We will be tasting different varieties as well as graphing them in different ways.”

I’m tempted to send Hadley to school with a butt apple; I imagine the teacher’s horrified expression as she fishes one of these beauties from the bag.

But I will spare Hadley the embarrassment.

I’ve got plenty of other opportunities to humiliate her in the future.