The Crabapple Tree

It was a medium tree. It was unruly. It was messy. But all in all it produced some really delectable treats.

Spicy crabapples, Crabapple jelly, Crabapple chutney, Crabapple sauce, Crabapple pepper jelly, Pickled crabapples, Candied crabapples.

During the fall when the apples ripened and started falling off the tree, dad and mom would pack the trunk with “blueberry” baskets, and the six of us would cram into the car and off we’d visit Lee and Muriel’s to help pick the crabapples from their tree.

We’d never get all the apples. The one’s at the top of the tree being the most difficult. They’d eventually fall off the tree, landing in the drive and all fall they’d go “squish-squish” under the car tires when we’d pull up to visit each week.

The years following a pruning the tree would respond by having a tremendous number of apple blossoms in the spring and an equally colossal number of crabapples in the fall.

One year following a pruning, the tree responded excessively. So many apple blossoms with an equal number of crabapples, so much deliciousness.

Ahh fun childhood memories.

Picture from Northern Ontario Flora

The Tree that escaped a most certain death

Over the last few days I have been doing my best to remember to snap a photo of the Tree that escaped a most certain death. The few times I did remember it was not a convenient time; simply meaning there were people sitting in front of the tree and it would be rude to ask them to move.

However there was one noteworthy time when I was actually scared away by an eyeball.

To be exact it was the right eyeball that had me skittering out of the coffee shop amid a burst of laughter – I tried, I promise, I tried to hide my smile and the tittering but I just couldn’t help myself.

You may be wondering how just one eyeball would frighten me so!

The one day the tree was not obstructed by people I cleverly arranged myself with the intention of snapping a photo when I noticed a customer was sitting facing me with a book up to his face. I glanced towards him to make sure I wasn’t disturbing his reading when I was introduced to the right eyeball.

Yes he had the book up in front of his face but what I saw upon closer inspection was that his right eyeball was peering out the side of the book, watching me. It can only be assumed that he was using the book as a ruse, a pretense in order not to be caught staring. I do not think I am that interesting of a person to warrant staring but I dare say as I crouched down and performed a mini Cirque-Du-Soleil manoeuver in an effort to capture not only a photograph but a masterpiece of a saved tree inside a light green bucket, I admit staring may have been his only option.

The eyeball frightened me and in the time it took me to unwind myself and set my spine straight, the humour of this situation overwhelmed me. As I tippy-toed past the eyeball with the book on my way out of the shop without a photograh, I could not suppress my grin.

I will do my best to describe the tree and the bucket since it is now just too embarrasing for me to attempt another photo session of the tree with it’s bucket.

Now before you get carried away thinking that it’s only the male gender that talk and stare at me while I am out and about, I’d like to share with you one of my favourite stories.

It is admittedly more eventful when women strike up conversation because there is usually a point to the exercise that doesn’t involve trying to get a number.

One fine day a few months ago while minding my own business I was jolted back to reality by a woman standing over me madly shouting and waving her arms, “It’s not getting enough water.”

The lady is pointing to the tree in the corner by the rest rooms.

I grunt at her like a man and she continues.

“It needs a pan underneath it. It needs to be pulling water up from the bottom through the roots.”

She stops chattering and looks over at me to see if I am listening. I can see her out of the corner of my eye. I do not want to get involved but she is doing her best to get me involved.

She rustles in her giant black pleather bag eventually retrieving, what I can only imagine is her trusty measuring tape. She precisely measures the depth and width of the bottom of the plant and jots down the dimensions in her little note pad.

It is a rainy day and my dear lady is dressed in an oversized rain coat, rubber boots, her hair is disheveled and she has a black and white zebra print umbrella as extra protection from the elements. She mentions something about the rainy weather and I miss hearing exactly what it is. Getting an unsatisfactory response, she turns on her heal and marches out of the shop.

Clearly on a mission.

Within 10 minutes she is back and in her hands a large light green plastic tub – it must be two and half feet deep and at least two feet wide. She shuffles over to the despairing tree and sets her bucket down to see if it is a suitable find.

I know where this is going. Today I do not want to be helpful. I want to stay sitting in my comfy chair.

“I’ve been looking for weeks for a pan that will fit the tree. I’ve bought four already that I’ve had to take back. The tree is so big and it is going to die if it doesn’t start feeding from the bottom – die.”

I am getting the point but she isn’t done yet. It doesn’t matter that this is not my tree and we are not in my establishment. It matters only that I am a customer, I am taking up space and this in itself demands my attention, my care!

“Look at the leaves, they need misting.”

I am no gardener. After my ex and I broke up all the plants in my house went to waste! He was the diligent one watering, caring for them each time he visited. He’d even visit my plants in my absence and I secretly believe he scheduled sleep over’s at my house to keep vigil on them! I know this because when I’d arrive home after days away there was that telltale sign; my bed was miraculously made and I know I left my comforter in the middle of my bed, in disarray.

Pointing out the leaves to me was doing no good. I am blind when it comes to plants and leaves.

“I’ll need to lift the tree up to get this deep bucket underneath”. She moves the chair that’s blocking the tree out of the way and starts uncomfortably shifting the tree.

The tree does look pretty heavy from where I sit and I make no attempt to interject in her endeavor of shifting the furniture around to make the tree more accessible. I know if I stand up she will willingly delegate the entire task to me. I know, I have met women before just like her.

I wonder if the owner knows what’s going on. I envision them happening upon me while I try to lift the tree into this new pot in order to satisfy the flapping woman. I can see me taking all the blame when the tree falls over because I can’t handle the weight. I don’t know why I’d try to do it on my own in the first place, but I know my nature and I would try. It’s really a most potentially fatal flaw!

I successfully ignore the woman and she leaves the pot, the tree and me in peace.

She is back in 5 minutes. She’s found the owner and a second man.

She has convinced them of her critical mission.

They lift the heavy tree and place it gently in the new light green tub.

Three months later the tree looks happy to me.

It is safe to say the tree narrowly avoided an imminent and catastrophic death and now has a light green tub to keep it warm and invigorated.