The Apple Bulletin

John Scalzi

This just in: Our neighbors’ apples are coming along nicely. They’re not ripe yet — if you bite into one, they’re still a bit astringent — but it won’t be long until they are. I’m likely to take a couple here and there, for the same reason I let the neighbor kids pick as many mulberries as they want from our trees: Because why not, it’s just neighborly. I bought an apple seedling a couple of years ago to put into our own backyard but it didn’t take. We’ll have to try again.

In other news, I’m mostly enjoying my time off, although I have some editorial notes to address on the latest Dispatcher novella (mostly minor, which is nice), and I’m doing some prep work for Dragon Con, which takes place (checks watch) in a month. Wheee! Get vaccinated and wear your masks, folks. And otherwise most just chasing after the dog. There are worse lives.

— JS

16 Comments on “The Apple Bulletin”

  1. Just to be clear – it is NOT ok to go to a farmer’s orchard and just “take a few apples”. That is their livelihood and is actually stealing. I grew up on a farm and you’d be surprised how many people stopped at the side of the road and just went into our orchard and started picking.

    Sharing with a neighbor or friend is entirely different! and encouraged! :)

  2. I miss that part about the Midwest. I’ve been watching a lot of Charlie Berens videos on youtube and feeling nostalgic. (Also better understanding why people in other parts of the country are sometimes weirded out by our natural helpfulness.) I also miss rhubarb.

  3. We had an apple tree in my childhood backyard, one of the survivors from an orchard that had been there before the houses were built. Our house was built in 1919, so that tree was quite old, and it came down in a storm circa 1980.

    When we were kids, our parents sent us with bags of apples for the neighbors. Many bags of apples. We used to joke about them saying “quick, turn off the lights and pretend we’re not home, the Healy kids are coming down the block with more apples.”

  4. Okay, a bit of unsolicited gardening advice: Plant raspberry bushes. You have to a bit careful they don’t take over the yard, but they multiply and can provide tons (well, at least gallons) of delicious berries year after year.

  5. A porcupine came along and has essentially killed a Macintosh apple tree I’ve been nursing along for years, hoping for one blasted apple from it (it requires a pollinator and none of the pollinator trees I planted have survived). So I think neighbors’ apple trees are going to be my source this year!

  6. Our neighbors fairly young apple tree is also loaded this year although they appear to be of the “better for baking than for eating” variety but what do I know? I think this is the tree’s first season for beating fruit, and from the number of apples on its limbs it should be very proud of itself (if apple trees are prone to such emotions).

    Another neighbor has a peach tree that is always so weighed down with fruit by the middle of August half of it is limbs rest upon the ground, which isn’t good for the fruit. The owners give us a basket of peaches every year picked from among the fruit that remains suspended above ground, but they always seem a bit on the firm side and taste somewhat bitter. However, they do make for an excellent peach cobbler, so perhaps they’re like the apples and designed for baking, but again, what do I know?

    There is an orchard called Appleacres in Bedford, IN on Hwy 37 about 30 miles south of us that has the most delicious, juicy and tasty peaches I’ve ever had. Even better than the ones people bring up from Georgia by the truckload and sell alongside the road.

    But right now here in South Central Indiana, as with Mr. Scalzi’s region to the east, it is tomato and corn on the cob season and this year’s crop has been fantastic! Wednesday (and Saturday) are Farmer’s Market days here and as we generally hit the former every week, there will definitely be some red and white/yellow on our dinner plates tonight! 😋

  7. Your convention comment reminds me to say: Bouchercon (World Mystery Convention), scheduled for New Orleans August 25th, has just been canceled. Ouch. Seems a little close to me (just over three weeks), as I’m sure most people who were going already had their plane tickets, etc. I hope they can get refunds. We’d already decided not to go this year, but…bummer.

  8. Jeff M. – I went to Bouchercon when it was held in NYC, because The Wolfe Pack needed an Archie Goodwin and I’d read all the books as a kid (Mom was a fan & made me into one). The radio company I was a part of also attended to perform our comedic Old Time Radio Mystery, “Kill My Face With Bullets”.

    That was a while back….

  9. There is an enormous blueberry bush that is close to the property line between my neighbor and myself. Neither one of us is sure exactly which side it is on and neither one of us care. We both pick from it at will and neither one of us mind.

  10. Twenty years ago I bought a house and immediately planted fruit trees, including apples. None of them except the stone fruits produced worth a damn; California is too hot and dry for apples. If your neighbor’s tree is producing good apples, it’s because Ohio has more “chilling hours” than California. I envy you. If you get apples that are a little too tart, slightly unripe, you can make fantastic apple butter out of them. In the end, that’s all my apples were good for. Opening a jar of homemade apple butter in December is a way to relive summer. :)

  11. If you are it town early enough to go to the Dragoncon parade, it’s a lot of fun and highly recommended.

    Enjoy your vacation!

  12. I once ate an apple which had a germinating seed in it. I planted it and it grew for about a year and a half until it died tragically.

  13. My folks had an apple tree in their backyard for years. We had enough to make a few pies, but the birds usually got a lot of the apples!

  14. We have a coupla of apple trees in our yard. If I don’t eat them while they’re still “astringent” the deer will get them all.

  15. What a lovely picture. Are your neighbors going to prop up the branches when they have more / heavier fruit? I’m always sad to see beautiful productive branches breaking from the strain. And, Sarah (above), not all of California is too hot for apples. At least maybe not until now. We live in the Russian River wine country, which for years was (and to a smaller extent still is) the home of the excellent Gravenstein apple. Now, alas, many of the fine old orchards have been pulled out in favor of more lucrative vineyards; at least we can be glad it’s those, and not subdivisions.

%d bloggers like this: