Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pounds of Peaches

Today we finished harvesting and freezing our peach crop. Today's haul, shown above, was probably at least 40 pounds, even after sharing a generous amount with our neighbor. This was the work of an entire day; from about 11:15 AM until after 5 PM. The sad thing is that after we removed the skins and pits we ended up with only about 6 quarts of peaches. We used to get about 15 quarts, but over the years we've lost several branches off the tree. This year our yield was further decimated by our oldest son. He made a "peach picker" for me a couple days ago (a board with two nails at one end to grab the high peaches) and was so excited about it he went out and picked several green peaches with no hope of ripening. I ended up throwing those away.

The peach tree is a source of both pride and frustration for me. The tree I originally planted was a dwarf early season Hale Haven. The week I planted it our dog chewed it to the ground. I was sure it was dead, but it came back strong and began to bear fruit the next year. Unfortunately, the dog had chewed past the graft and the tree came back as a full size, regular season cling peach. So now it's way too close to our house and to the climbing roses and the peaches ripen right when I didn't want, on the July 4th week when we're often away. So I always have to pick them slightly before they're fully ripe. I've also had to remove many branches scraping the house and I get cut to ribbons on the roses climbing the ladder to harvest them. I plan to plant new trees elsewhere in the yard and cut this one down when they begin to produce. I have to feel grateful to the tree, though; the chest freezer in our garage is half full of peaches from other years and I never have to buy them. I am so tired from climbing up and down the ladder in the 100 degree weather, so humid it was like working in hot bath water, and standing processing the peaches for freezing (3 hours!), I can barely keep my eyes open. The stupid fitbit says I've only walked 3000 steps all day, but that certainly doesn't take all the activity into account. That peach picker weighs a ton! So, I'll be off to bed early!

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