Every morning I walk outside, feed the cats, water the plants, and tend the gardens as necessary making sure to look at every vegetable, herb, and fruit in my gardens front and back.
In my front yard near the street is a dwarf apple tree, a Yellow Delicious I planted about 7 years ago. Just as the nursery said, the tree has finally reached full maturity and this year was a bumper crop of crisp green apples waiting to ripen. The most the tree has ever bared even after an early Spring freeze killed off some of the blossoms.
Occasionally a squirrel will be seen robbing an apple from the tree but the funny little furry guys actually prefer my tomatoes so it's not really a problem. And I always grow extra tomatoes.
But the other morning when I walked out I noticed that overnight, every apple on my tree had been picked without my knowing. And they weren't even ripe yet. Someone must be making apple sauce or apple jelly.
I just smiled.
I smiled because I planted that tree so that people could eat apples. I turn around and act like I don't see when the neighborhood children steal my strawberries. I ignore people walking by and picking big juicy tomatoes from the plants I grow by the side of the road knowing I've got more around back. And if they want to cut a few herbs I'm cool with that. Most people ask first and that's good, but the truth is, I knew there would be some pilferage when I started planting out front and it still seemed like a better idea than grass.
But what made me smile the most was the fact than not one single limb on my apple tree had been damaged. That tells me that the person who took my apples cares about trees and wants the tree to make more apples next year. That's the important thing.
Maybe next year he or she will be back and I'll catch 'em in the act. If I do I'll thank them. After all, being I no longer have any teeth I can't eat fresh apples-- they saved me from having to pick them up off the ground this fall.