Each year the huge crab apple tree in our backyard prolifically produces a plethora of small bright red fruits. While the fruit makes wonderful jelly and is also very tasty when dried, it is a real challenge to keep up. Every year I think we should cut it down as it continues to grow bigger and bigger and produce more and more little red apples. Yes, yes, I know that is what it is supposed to do, but how big is it going to grow and how much fruit is it going to produce?

Starting mid August we pick up crab apples so they don’t get crushed and then tracked into the house. Rick picks them up before he goes for his morning walk and then again when he comes back. We go out after we serve breakfast and pick up more apples, before our guests leave for the day and before new guests check in. Still, we have apples tracking into the house which adds extra work to the daily routine.

So we’re debating again…should we cut it down? We decided not to. It looks beautiful and it feeds some of the wildlife that visit us. The raccoons and the woodpeckers feast each year for weeks.

And the highlight these days are the two does and a buck that visit every day and night to vacuum up the fruit. Normally I curse at them as they destroy my tulips and eat my grapes, but right now they are a big help as they catch the fallen fruits that land on the lawn as well as the driveway. It’s much less work for us to do, and it’s really nice to watch them at work.

Last week we had bark mulch brought in and beautifully spread through the flower beds and around the trees. This week it is full of hoof prints. But I guess I can’t complain because these three beautiful – four legged vaccum cleaners don’t use electricity, eat within a hundred miles of where their food is grown, give back to their environment and are fun to watch . It doesn’t get any more eco-friendly than that!