There were two little apples on one of the two trees I planted between the garage and the horse shed back in November of 2011. Two apples on two trees in three years. It’s not much of a record, not much encouragement in the way of apple orcharding, even on such a small scale as this. One of the apples fell into the grass a couple of weeks ago, most likely knocked off by me passing by too closely on the mower. Even a thing tough as a green apple can only hold on for so long.
The other now is nearly twice as large as the one that fell and there are a few tells of color on one side, some streaks of yellowish red that suggest it could one day turn into a ripe apple. I’m going to leave a larger ring of grass around the base of the tree, no sense in me being the reason we have to end the season without one apple to show for all the growing of the past three years.
It’s not easy to keep caring when you feel like all your work is useless, not easy to keep doing what has to be done so that there will be at least a chance of harvest. Many a teacher, a parent or spouse has known the lean years of all leaf and no fruit. Maybe there’s a time for giving up but that always guarantees that we’ll have nothing to show for all that we’ve done.
As that old Todd County farmer, Roy Morris, might have said long ago, “It’s easy to hoe the good rows.” The plants that start off strong, grow well and show promise draw our attention and our effort. But unless we show care for the single fruit we don’t deserve the orchard.