That’s the rousing cry as I enter the birdroom with my left hand heaped with apple chunks and my right hand carrying the birdie kabob stacked with apple chunks. “Apples for all!”
Do they have any idea what I’m saying? Probably not. Not till the first apple chunks hit the first food dish and the next sound is crunching or, in one case, flinging. Only one fling, for in the very act of flinging I’m sure the delectable apple juice that resulted was enough to convince even Ruby not to fling the remaining pieces.
The apples are from our own trees, unsprayed and healthy, though not the epitome of magazine apples that are blemish-free globes of perfection. We didn’t get too many this year, as we only take the best and least blemished. Not enough to make applesauce, but enough to make a few hand pies and enough to make the birds happy. There may even be enough left to make an apple pie for Thanksgiving.
The crunching in the birdroom was satisfying for all, including me. I tend to give the birds the Beans/Rice/Veggie mix and alternate that with eggfood, with fruit being a much less frequent treat. The exception would be when I have baby greys; at that time I want to make sure they are introduced to apples and oranges and grapes so that they will like them and not be reluctant to try them when they are older. So when I have plenty of fruit in the house for the babies, all the birds get more of it.
We have lots of blueberries in the summer; big, juicy berries grown on high bush plants that give us so many that I can freeze enough of them to last the entire year. So far none of the birds has shown any great liking for them. More often than not, they end up tossed out of the cage. This is not a fun thing for me since a blueberry unseen and stepped on and squished into the rug is cause for a few choice words that I’d rather the birds did not learn.
We also have grapes, and finally we have planted grapes of a sweet and semi-seedless nature so perhaps Scott and I might actually get to enjoy them in another year. This was the first year that we saw fruit, and the birds did get a little taste of them but it was more the outside birds that got the full benefit. The grapes we had planted previously would cause your mouth to pucker as much as the sourest lemon. Scott moved them to the edge of the woods when we got this new, sweet variety, and they are thriving there where the wild critters are no doubt enjoying them.
We’ve also planted some raspberries and hope they will finally decide they like it here next summer and bear a bit more fruit. This land is more rock than soil, it seems, and it always takes a few years (sometimes many years) before things decide to embrace their conditions and actually thrive. When we moved here there was a lone lilac. Now, understand that I LOVE lilacs! Absolutely love them. This lone lilac did not flower. We moved it, we cut it back, we added lime to the soil… nothing. Not a bloom. I think it was not until we finally cut a ton of trees down and let some real light in that it was finally happy. (As were we.) Now we have a ton of lilacs and several varieties, and they all love it here.
We also have a dwarf cherry tree for which I have high hopes. It did really well in the growth department this summer, and produced a couple cherries. Next year I’d expect to see that happen again with even more fruit produced. Cherries are wonderful for reducing inflammation in the joints, and it would be wonderful to have our own.
There is a certain cheap thrill you get out of having fruit on your land. Maybe it taps into that little bit of self-sufficiency that most of us crave. Maybe it taps into that basic cheapness that some of us have. Fruit is expensive; how nice to be able to just go out and pick your own. And for some of us, maybe it all comes down to that warm, fuzzy feeling you get when you can enter the birdroom and declare “Apples for all!”