Moss, is humor writer from Tennessee. She writes a
weekly human interest column about daily life and the funny
things that happen to everyone.
She has written for the Daily News of Kingsport, Griffin Journal,
Oakridge Now, Atlanta Woman Magazine, Aberdeen Examiner, Angleton
Advocate, and Smyrna AM, a supplement of the Murfreesboro Daily News
Journal. She has been
published by Voyageur Press, McGraw Hill, and the good folks
at Guidepost Books. Her articles have appeared in
numerous anthologies and other publications, both in print and online.
She is a
former board member and past Editor of the Columnists.com, website of the National Society of Newspaper
oldest and largest professional organization
for columnists. She is the Web Editor of
Humorists.com and a founder of the Southern Humorists writers'
organization. She is writer, editor, and webmaster of HumorColumnist.com.
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Online Since 1999
used to think it would be great to have my own apple orchard, but I
didn't have room for an entire orchard, so I settled for four dwarf
apple trees. They are nothing like the giant apple trees that I
remember from childhood, trees with apples so green, hard and bitter
that a bite or two could turn your mouth inside out and give you a
stomach ache for a week.
We planted four different varieties in the yard. I can't even remember
what they were, except that one was Jonathan, in honor of my grandson,
and one was Granny Smith. I studied the Stark Bro's catalog all winter
figuring out which trees cross-pollinate best and mature at different
times so they would not all produce at the same time, but stretch out
over the entire apple season.
As it turned out, the pollination problem didn't really matter as the
trees died one by one until only one tree was left, thank goodness. I
say thank goodness because the volume of apples produced by the one
tree is way more than any ordinary suburban homeowner can deal with.
Apple trees produce more apples than the tree can support, and half of
them fall off still green. The birds peck some of the remainders, the
rabbits and squirrels eat a few, but there are bushels left to deal
You can only eat so many apples, fried apples, apple pies, apple
cobblers, apple dumplings, apple fritters and everything else apple. I
don't have a freezer and I am sick of apples. I bought an apple
cookbook, but I really had not intended to spend the rest of my life
making apple sauce when I planted apple trees. I only wanted a few for
eating. If I knew then what I know now, I would have planted a weeping
The tree does not understand that it is not supposed to produce apples
without another tree to cross-pollinate with. I suspect it of fooling
around with the crab apple tree. I was surprised to learn that you
cannot plant an apple seed and expect to get the same sort of tree as
the tree the seed came from. Each tree produced from seed is different
from the parent, probably due to the unknown pollinator.
Most apples from seeds are small and bitter, like the ones I remember
from youth. A few by chance have desirable characteristics and those
are cloned, actually grafted, to produce an apple like the original
tree. So, all apples of the same variety are clones and clones of
clones. Apples are one of the oldest fruits, if not the oldest, in
existence. That's a lot of cloning.
There are many hundreds of varieties, but the number is dwindling as
older varieties fall out of favor and only a few supermarket favorites
remain. Soon there will be only five varieties left, experts say. I
can only think of a few apples that can be purchased in the grocery,
Red and Yellow Delicious, Fuji, Gala and the green and slightly tart
Granny Smith, my personal favorite. Red Delicious is what most people
think of when they think apple. Unfortunately, home-grown apples do
not grow large, red and shiny, with wax on them like the ones in the
All those trees that Johnny Appleseed planted probably produced mostly
culls and small green apples only fit making hard apple cider. Apple
cider was the alcoholic drink of choice in early times, since it was
fairly easy to make. Prohibition caused apples to be eaten fresh and
gave them the healthy apple-pie image that they have today.
I guess I should count my blessings instead of my apples and be
thankful for the bounty, even if there is a bit too much of it.
Copyright 2013 Sheila Moss
Nashville, TN 37219
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