Tipsy Bovines

The apple trees were loaded this year and it was causing a problem with the overabundance. My brother had a couple of trees that needed all the fallen fruit removed from beneath the tree so he could mow his lawn. We filled a pickup bed with fruit and still had not completely cleaned up under one of the trees.

The fruit is in various stages of decomposition and many of the apples would melt between fingers as we grabbed them off the ground. We filled tubs (empty 200 lb. mineral tubs) and 5 gallon buckets to transport the apples home then fed a tub at a time during hay feeding to the main herd across the river. Continue reading

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She Is A Slobber-er

A Black Angus heifer in stanchion.This is one of the heifers that we brought home from the neighbor farm after they kept his grass mowed all summer.

She is a character and a major slobber animal. The other two heifers begin eating hay while I chop apples, Zion keeps a close eye on me and the more important apple bucket. Continue reading

Loaded Yellow Transparent Apples

A tree loaded with green apples.The first of the season apples are ripening quickly. These are called Yellow Transparent and are a very fragile apple.

They have very thin skins, and can bruise with a light touch. They are an excellent fresh eating apple and taste best before the light green skins begin to yellow. They are also a good preserving apple. I like to dehydrate Yellow Transparent slices for my dried fruit mix. No sweetening needed. The biggest downfall of these beauties are that they do not keep well. Once picked off the tree they begin to lose their crispness.

Every morning, I collect apples that fell during the night. These are chopped and added to the mealtimes for the cows and calves in the showbarn. The three cows, three calves and one heifer enjoy the fruit. The calves will hold off eating until they have at least three apples chopped up and placed in front of them. It’s a battle of the wills, they remain steadfast until I comply with their wants. They usually win…

Very Last Hold Outs

Granny Smith apples on tree. The little Granny Smith apple tree is the final hold out with fruit still clinging to the branches along with a few stubborn leaves.

Until most of the leaves dropped off, I had no idea that this little tree had so many apples hiding.

Granny Smith apples make delicious pies, cobblers and baked apples filled with cinnamon, brown sugar and raisins. With the harvest season lasting until the 1st of December this year it will be a hard transition to not have fresh fruit right out of the garden.

Good thing I have a cupboard full of dried fruits and vegetables ready for the nibbling.

Thieves In The Night

We had been savoring the last few apples still hanging on the trees. The last Rome apple dropped yesterday. The Honey Crisp tree has barely a bucket full still hanging, and the frosts have taken away the crispness yet they are still sweet and juicy. Red delicious apples finished falling off the tree a couple of days ago, the Jonathan apples are also done. The yellow delicious are still crisp and flavorful with only a handful of small sized apples left.

The raccoons have been raiding the last of the apple crop, they are sneaking in at night under the cover of darkness. In the morning we had been finding chewed cores littering the ground beneath the trees. With the apples dwindling, I believe the pesky varmints are trying to move to the barn to steal the cat food that is left over from the evening meal. Continue reading

Winter Apples

Large apple still on tree.The late apples are large and juicy this year even though it was not a good apple crop overall.

All the spring rain kept bees from pollinating the soaked blossoms that fell as soon as they formed, but it seems that the later fruit that we refer to as winter apples seemed to have had a better chance of forming than the early varieties. The crop is still fairly sparse but the size of the apples are larger than normal.

These apples are the best after a frost or two condenses the sugar inside to clear pockets of sweetness in the flesh of the apple. Some refer to them as ice apples. They are good apples for fresh eating and make delicious pies and applesauce.

I will be harvesting this tree in a week or two and will fill the cooler with the crop, unless hard freezing speeds up the need to pick sooner.

Speaking Of Apples

When I go out into the garden, pairs of eyes appear at the fence line. The show cows line up and try to act like they are just waiting for a cross-town bus to show up, but what they are waiting for is someone to throw a squashed apple their direction…

Cows stand along barb wire fence next to the garden.…Or a handful of freshly pulled weeds, or a basketfull of grass clippings, or a torpedo zucchini.

Today I was picking up a bucket of wind-fall apples from under one of the trees. The fruit is still hard and small so it would be easy for them to choke. Instead of lobbing a few over the fence to these cows, the full bucket will be taken to the barn so the apples can be sliced in half before feeding.

Two calves wait on other side of barb wire fence.Until dinner time, these two youngsters will just have to continue to wait before getting a taste of the apples that filled the bucket.