Loyal readers, it has been awhile. Apologies.
I was out picking cherries.
Not the whole time between my last post and this one. But a good deal of that time.
My wife and I never saw this one coming. We’ve lived in our home for seven years and all the two, twenty-five foot high cherry trees in front of our house ever did prior was grow some spectacular blooms in Spring…followed by a relative handful of cherries that were devoured by our local bird society and/or cleaned up by us. These are not ornamental cherry trees…they are the real deal. However, in prior years their cherry harvest has been so small one could easily forget that fact.
(I have no earthly idea why someone would plant fruit trees within a development’s earth…but I digress.)
We were rudely reminded of the fact they are fruit trees late last month when it literally started to “rain” cherries on a daily basis. Of course, everything I have read since this festival of fruit began says cherry trees need very frosty, cold winters to produce mass quantities. We had the two worst winters in the Philadelphia region’s history the PRIOR two winters…but this past winter was as mild as could be. The beloved snow blower wasn’t called upon a single time. The coldest it was here might have been around Halloween, when some folks just north and west of us got their big snow for the entire season…in the Fall mind you.
No, this past winter was anything but frosty or cold.
Apparently, the fruit trees had their own agenda. If they in fact pollinated each other this past Spring I have no doubt they each needed a cigarette after they got done based on the results. Rate that fertilization “XXX.”
I estimate at the height of the “rain” we have been picking up no less than 50 cherries per day off our property, some of course quite removed from being intact either from being birdy leftovers…or victims of gravity vs. ground.
The birds enjoyed the all-you-can-eat buffet early on…but lately I’ve seen them working out, trying to get back to their required weight so they can fly once more. They didn’t see this coming either. They just figured they’d eat the few cherries the trees normally produces like every other season…but apparently they lacked the filter to understand this wasn’t a normal year and as the cherries kept coming and coming, they kept eating and eating.
The birds have been a tad inconsiderate in that they like to take the cherries to other parts of our yard to dine upon, casually leaving behind the residue and seeds in many places other than the sidewalk which separates our yard from the trees, which in turn extend out over our street.
So…in summary we inadvertently committed our entire development’s population of birds to Weight Watchers for the balance of the year…and there have been hundreds of cherries, partial cherries and seeds for my wife and I to harvest. This is a necessity as time is of the essence when it is 90 degrees and decomp once off the tree is immediate, the sidewalk starts to take on a reddish hue and becomes slippery, etc.
Mass quantities of rotting fruit don’t have much curbside appeal for either us or our neighbors.
Which is why today we were visited by a local property maintenance firm, hired to cut and prune parts of each cherry tree to make them more sensible and manageable going forward. We were already planning to trim them back. This cherries jubilee helped expedite the project.
And cut and prune they did…eventually removing many, many cherries that now won’t be splattering all over the property and requiring us to bend down and pick them up.
We have found picking cherries off the ground daily is rather labor intensive, proportionate to one’s age and physical condition of course. I consider myself to be in reasonably good shape, but being bent over for a 1/2 hour straight a couple of times a day for a month now has revealed a whole mess of muscles I didn’t know I had. My wife feels the same way.
As I write this, I can see the cherry trees gently swaying in the wind. The birds have been walking – not flying – out to them to assess the “new do” the trees received. I am sure they preferred having the cherry trees as large as they were…but I am equally sure from judging their cherry eating habits they don’t care one bit what we’ve had to endure to keep our property managed properly. So they’ll just have to make do. Heck, we’re doing them a big favor.
Next year, they’ll still be able to fly away after each meal.
And by then…my wife and I should be standing upright once more.