Gleaning

By , August 27, 2010

It’s harvest time, not only on the homestead, but off it as well. At the moment, we’re spending more time and effort gleaning than working our own property. Our own cherries aren’t quite ripe yet, but they are elsewhere in the area, and that’s causing problems—bear problems.

A local doctor’s cherry trees are ready to be picked, a detail that hasn’t escaped the notice of his ursine neighbors. Apparently, their trees get raided by local bears every year; they commonly come for a day or so, eat, then move on. This year, a young bear has decided that cherries are better than anything else, and has returned eight consecutive days to the orchard, last we heard. He’s been damaging the trees as he feeds, so the word went out to the human neighbors: if you want them, come and pick them!

Michelle and a friend went recently and returned with a couple of gallons each of beautiful pie cherries. Aly’s made cherry pie, and last night we canned pie filling and pie cherry jam, a particular favorite of mine.

We’re also getting yellow transparent apples from a venerable tree downtown. Charles Anway is a local legend from Haines’s early days. He’s better known for the strain of strawberries he developed, but his agricultural talents also extended to apples. One of his trees thrives in the front yard of the Sheldon Museum. Those who ask may glean windfalls from the tree. Since Aly volunteers there once each week, she keeps an eye on the yield, and when the time is ripe (as it were) we go by and pick up the apples off the ground. We make spiced jelly, pies, and other goodies from them. There’s a batch of apple sauce on the stove now, and a few jars of apple butter.

All my life I’ve never been able to decide which is my favorite kind of pie, apple or cherry? These days, I don’t have to.

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