Saturday, November 11, 2006

They're all gone

A couple of years ago, I discovered a couple of apple trees just growing along the street. They are well-tended, by the city, I think, and are of the small red crabapple variety. They are very good, although a bit on the sour side at first. Right after the first frost, they are delicious, and then quickly go soft.

I have been picking them as I pass, over the years, and have made quite a bit of juice from them, and sometimes I cook them up and squeeze them all out to get some apple sauce. It's a lot of work, but I do like the flavour of them.

Two years ago, I discovered that one lone tree at the end of this grove was not like the rest. It was quite tall, with different leaves, and as I looked at it closely, I realized it had some strange fruit on it. The closer I looked, I realized they were not round, but slightly mis-shapen, sort of pear-like. And the colour was... well, very much like a pear. Could they really be pears??

My sister told me about discovering a pear tree in Saskatoon, which goes through severe freezing winters, so knew they could survive here as well. I took a few home, and found that indeed they ARE pears! So I picked what I could, and ate them as is, and cooked a few of them. They do have a rather stronger flavour to them, but I like it that way. You may remember some pics of them last year.

This year was a very good year for the trees. They seemed to have gone over-board in producing fruit. Everything was just right for them, it appears. The pear had a lot more pears on it than I remember, and quite large. These are not the commercial variety, but the smaller Canadian pear, but quite a good size nonetheless. They seem to fall of the trees at the slightest shake, and not all at once. I was able to pick up a lot of them off the ground, and some that had just fallen as I was trying to pick them. I would have to very carefully pick them off the branch for fear of causing about 8 more to drop! But I did get quite a few this year -- and spent an entire evening doing something with them! I made some pear juice, and cooked up the rest and made some pear sauce. They will go into muffins later in winter.

Early this month, I noticed that the apple trees had been pruned. They were getting a bit over-grown, and they've always been well looked after. The apple trees were never very large, which made picking them very convenient. The pear grows quite tall without a lot of spread, and didn't seem to need pruning, although it is difficult to pick the top branches, where oddly enough all the best fruit was located!

On Tuesday night of this week, as I rode past the row of trees, I thought something didn't look quite right. I looked again, and realized that all my trees were not there. Was I on the right street? Yes, I was, but it sure didn't look right. And the trees were all gone! Everyone of them was cut down flush with the ground, not even leaving a stump. All of them. Even the pear. Not a tree was left standing along that whole street.

What was the sense in this? Why didn't someone have the good sense to move them, if they were in the way? There is a parking lot on the other side of the fence... are they planning on digging another big hole as they are doing in every other block in the city? But why cut down all the trees? I hope someone at least took some cuttings of the pear tree-- they are not that common in this part of the country.

I would have liked to even get some of the wood from the trees -- the apple and the pear. I would have loved to make some knitting needles, or even a nostepinde from the pear tree! However, that is not to be, since there wasn't even a twig left...they cleaned EVERYthing off that street, not leaving any trace that a tree had ever been there.

I don't understand the thinking in this city. I am not happy at all.

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