Saturday, October 30, 2010

The Season's a-Changin' - 3

When we moved into this house, there was a puny little crab apple tree smack dab in the middle of the back yard that someone in it's short life had tried to espalier.  I didn't understand it at the time, trying to make a tree flat when it wasn't standing against a wall or fence.  Actually, I still don't understand the attempt.  We  undid the flattening through the strategic use of ropes and pruning and we now have a large crab apple that pretty well dominates the yard. 

I gripe about it because it takes up much of the solar access for the gardening I would like to do, but I love the tree at the same time.  The fall is an exciting time in this tree's world.  The fruit is small and about the size of the pie cherries we grow nearby, and a huge favorite with passing and resident birds.

This morning we counted at least nine different types of birds simultaneously feasting on the apples, the more spectacular among them being the cedar waxwings and the varied thrushes.  LWK sat at the back door like it was the best drive-in movie ever.

It varies from year as to when this happens, but at some point, the crab apples ferment on the branch and we are subject to multitudes of birds flying under the influence.  One year, it was a sunny winter day and the cedar waxwings were feasting on the little hard cider bombs and I heard one hit the window.  I walked out to check on the damage and found a little bird sitting on the deck, listing slightly.  I swear I heard a little voice, "Whoa, man, I totally got the spins!" 

I grabbed it because it was a sitting duck, er, bait for the neighborhood cats and looked at it a little closer.  I couldn't see any major injury, just an inability to stand up straight.  It sat in my hand a little while and then took off, flying rather erratically to a branch where it fluttered frantically to maintain it's perch.  I watched it for a bit as it sat, listing to the side, and found myself tilting in sympathy.  Yup, been there, done that.  Though I don't think I've hit a window.

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