Ornamental crabapple trees bear clouds of white pink blooms in the spring. They provide luxurious shade in summer, and their twisted, gnarled trunks cast intriguing shadows across the winter snow. And in fall, the curses and other maledictions aimed their direction . . . well, let’s just say that every ornamental crabapple in the Panhandle probably goes straight to H-ll if half the imprecations take effect.
And they fall. And ferment. Thousands of quarter sized mine-balls making driveways into minefields, falling on the head of unsuspecting passers-by (OK, if you can’t tell that the fruit is dropping, you really need to wake up, pay attention, and/or put down the smart phone.) And thumping onto roofs, then rolling “thumpeta, thumpeta, thumpeta” down the shingles and into gutters or onto the ground.
Did I mention fermentation? Oh yeah. Because around here the fruit drops (plummets, falls, descends, plunges, cascades) in early September, when it is still in the low to mid 90s F. Bruised fruit, warm sun, happy bacteria. My folks have crabapple trees on either side of them, and the three houses smell like cider. One neighbor has a yard guy who rakes and composts (or dumps) the harvest twice a week. The other neighbor drives over them, then sweeps the remains into the gutter at the foot of his driveway. After he waters, the pulp gets wet, ferments some more, and bugs arrive, followed by birds. Slightly tipsy birds, depending on how much they drink or eat of the cider-ized crabapples.
And then, this year at least, dragonflies arrive to eat the bugs. The other morning I counted twenty good-sized dragonflies swarming around his yard and over my parents flowerbed. It looked like O’Hare at rush-hour.
And everyone gripes about the crabapples, and swears that next year, they will have the trees sprayed to prevent them from fruiting. But come spring, all is forgiven, and forgotten, until the fall.