Forbidden Fruit!

My elderly Italian neighbour hollered out from her opened basement window. She had noticed me on my back patio, cleaning up the dead summer flowers.

“What are you doing in the freezing cold, Rita? Picking the frozen grapes?”

I laughed and teased her, “Yes, I was thinking of making ice wine.”

To tell you the truth, I’ve left the grapes this year. After a cardinal was spotted eating them—


—I didn’t have the heart to put them out with the yard waste collection. Those grapes would keep a lot of backyard birdies full and happy.

As I walked from the back patio, I thought I saw something red in the apple tree. Half of the leaves had fallen now and previously hidden fruit was now visible. An apple was within my reach, and it was full-size.

What’s amazing is that this tree was planted by my daughter over 25 years ago. She had saved the seeds from a Granny Smith apple and they had taken root when planted. When we moved to another neighbourhood, we dug up the tree, which was about six feet tall at the time. It bore fruit most years, but most of it was consumed by the neighbourhood squirrels. The rest seemed to fall off the tree while still tiny. And, was usually rotten.

Every year, my husband, Guy and I would think we’d prune it back so it would do better the following year. But, this year was the same as the others . . . time got away from us, and it didn’t happen in the narrow time frame for pruning.

Yet, there it was . . . a beautiful red Granny Smith apple! Unblemished, too. I thought back to the springtime when the lawn would be covered with apple tree blossoms on a windy day.



How I had hope each year that there would be fruit. I couldn’t wait to tell my daughter, Monique.

Well, she was as excited as Guy and I. While Guy figured the apple should be bronzed, Monique and I couldn’t wait to taste it. Why was the Granny Smith apple red? What would it taste like? Would it be full of—yikes!—worms?
I grabbed a sharp knife and made the first cut, for us all to share the apple. It was snow-white inside . . .  not one blemish! And, it tasted scrumptious, just like a Granny Smith!
So, while the birds can feast on the remaining grapes, raspberries and sunflower seeds; and, the squirrels enjoy the sunflower seeds and small apples, the best fruit—the forbidden fruit for them, haha!—was reserved for us, the patient and optimistic gardeners.
I can’t wait until next year!

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