Monday, August 11, 2008

We Were Robbed!!!!

We've now lived in our present location for about twenty years. When we were looking for a property to buy, we had some definite guidelines. It had to be in the country. It had to be on one level. It had to have a wood burning stove or fireplace. We really wanted a place near water. It also had to be affordable.

Leo, our real estate agent, was a shrewd man. He took us to look at some real dumps in our price range, one fairly decent place and then told us that he had one more that was "just a little" out of our price range. Uh huh. "Just a little."

Now Leo took the long way around Little Lake Alice so that we approached the property from the east. Our view as we came down the road was this.

The very first thing that we saw were all of the trees.
Massive cottonwoods everywhere.

Lee, the gentleman who owned the place, had an apple orchard right by the road. It had eight dwarf apple trees that were absolutely loaded with apples. I was excited and then Leo told us that he also had a cherry orchard out behind. We were both mentally resisting until we saw the place.

After we toured the inside and saw the claw tub bath tub with a lace shower curtain and brass fixings, we were sold. To make a really long story short, we made an offer. The neighbors also made an offer and a small bidding war ensued. As you know we were victorious.

That first year was a delight. I carefully mulched each and every apple tree with straw. Little did I know that mice would move in, eat the roots and kill six of our eight trees. Our farmer killed off the cherry orchard the following spring, but that's another story for another time.

The aforementioned farmer asked us if he could have apples for a pie that summer. Sure, no problem. If I remember correctly, Shirley made a couple for us as well. We had the best of both worlds. He picked them, she cooked them and we ate them as well as enjoyed watching them blossom and mature.

Once we opened the &#^&$% store, we had no time for anything and didn't pay much attention to the farm. The weeds grew. And grew. And grew. The year I turned forty I planted two more apple trees with an eye to the future and hopes of replenishing the once beautiful orchard. Time passed. We still enjoyed the apple blossoms each spring. Our farmer picked the apples and that was fine. The pies petered out, but that was okay too.

This year we decided we were going to reap the apples and make our own pies. Mardell studiously read up on when we should spray for worms and other pests. It appears as though there is a two week window after the apples have bloomed. Well, that time came and went and we didn't get the spraying accomplished, but our two trees were exceptionally prolific this year and we have looked forward to apples. Dale, our farmer, is in his eighties now and we figured we were safe and he wouldn't be coming around to pick our apples.

Aren't they just beautious?

But, they are even prettier close-up .... worms and all.

Both trees were laden like this. Last week we noticed
that one tree was nearly completely bare.

We knew that Dale hadn't been around to pick them so we were disgusted. Especially since our bottomless pit of an early alert system obviously wasn't doing his job .....

In case it's not possible to tell from this picture, Chip is lounging on our futon in the air-conditioning, instead of sitting out underneath the apple tree guarding our goods.

We couldn't decide why thieves would just strip one tree.
It didn't make any sense.

Then one day last week, I left to go to school to meet Vicki for the day.

There were THREE, yes, count them, three of these critters
with both sides of their mouths stuffed full.

Naturally I didn't have my camera handy, so another thanks goes out to for this one.

The blasted squirrels completely stripped one tree. I had been wanting to add this to the blog for some time, but hadn't seen any squirrels to photograph. I had some time this afternoon so I went out to search for them.

I never did find them; however, I took some
great pictures from the bridge.
This is our view to the south.

We had a family of minks early this spring. We got to watch them
playing on the ice. If you look closely, you can see a hole in the bank.
That was the den where they were born.

Look just to the right of the log and underneath the tree branches.

Now they live on the north side of the bridge.

Their current den is much easier to see.

Oh look! There's one now.

Does this help you locate it?

He skittered across the cement slabs for quite some time.
I wish I had a better zoom.

But since I don't, I'm still going to bore you with pictures that you won't be able to tell if it is a mink or not. You'll just have to trust me on this. Scary thought isn't it? When was the last time a redhead asked you to trust them?

This is one where he looking out of his den. Go ahead --- use your imagination.

He really didn't pay much attention to me. I was really happy when he slipped into the water and began swimming toward me.

He slipped into the cattails and that was the last I saw of him. I could have probably sat there and waited, but do you know what happens
when you sit by a stream and listen to the gently gurgling water?

Yep, you guessed it. Fortunately I made it to the house in time.

While we were robbed of our apple crop, I consider myself pretty lucky to have stumbled across the mink playing today. That was a gift in itself. I couldn't think of a better way to end the summer. It sure beat the three and a half hours that we spent at Al-Tell switching our phone service back.

1 comment:

Sue said...

When we were little Daddy would take us up to Hemingford Dam to go fishing after supper in the summer. I remember sitting on the rocks at the dam and watching the minks play. I had forgotten all about them until I read this. It's the little things in life isn't it!!