The squirrels have been having a field day on my apple tree. (Do the raccoons climb it at night to pick apples, too?) Some years there’s one apple hanging from the very tip of the highest branch, too thin and flimsy for even for squirrels. I get a slightly sadistic pleasure watching the frustrated little gangster scolding and flipping its tail at that ruby reward.

The crab apple branches nearly drag the ground. But the squirrels don’t care for straight crab apples any more than we do. They’re strictly for the birds.

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In September, my late mother-in-law always hiked up a mountain to her favorite crab apple tree, picked a big backpack’s worth, and marched back down again to make jelly. In her late eighties, she could no longer make it up the mountain, so she came to my house to gather them. Still later, we picked the crab apples for her, until she could no longer make her beloved jelly.

Anyone who knows where I live and would like to come pick them, please do.