The Apple Tree
We have a lovely little apple tree in our backyard. Until last year, we’ve only ever gotten a handful of apples, but we’re always overly excited about those few. Last summer, it was as if the gardening gods were shining down upon us. Maybe it was our reward for spending the several uncertain months together in Covid lockdown as a family of six and not killing each other. Or perhaps it was Mother Nature’s gift to give me a break on the produce bill with four kids eating us out of house and home. Whatever the reason, when our apple tree bloomed with one million beautiful, flowery buds that grew into precious baby apples, we felt like we had won the lottery.
Fast forward two months. My husband, Scott, and I were sipping our coffee one gorgeous summer morning on the patio. As chatted about my exciting plans for the day (get a little writing done before floating in the inflatable pool with my new library book and a margarita within reach), I noticed that he was no longer paying attention to my riveting story. As he frowned, I turn to see what was puzzling over. Then I saw him: The tiniest, sweetest, cuddliest little squirrel with the fluffiest tail just hanging out in our apple tree like a new backyard roommate.
“Well, he’s adorable,” I said.
“You don’t think he’s going to mess with our apples, do you?” my husband asked.
“I doubt it,” I said with absolute certainty. “And even if that cutie eats one or two, we have like over a hundred apples this year.”
Friends, you know, and I know now this is where the story takes a turn for the worse. The next morning, my husband wasn’t sitting at our patio table having his coffee. Instead, he was under the apple tree shaking his fist and hollering a string of profanities.
“The squirrel just took a bite of an apple and threw it on the ground! I watched him with my own eyeballs, and I’m pretty sure he did it on purpose!” my husband yelled and held up the apple as proof. Sure enough, there were two tiny squirrel bites on the side of an otherwise perfect yellow apple.
“But it’s just the one, right?” I offered naively.
The plot thickens
The next morning, several more ruined apples lay on the ground, and my husband was livid. The following morning, even more. But the fourth day, he was sitting at the table, a smug grin on his face and a pile of squirrel-nibbled apples threatening to roll off the table. My husband’s eyes narrowed as he stared down his nemesis perched in the tree. Slowly he reached out for a piece of contaminated fruit and sunk his own teeth into it. It was at this point that I noticed the pile of apple cores stacked on the table.
“Are you eating the squirrel apples?” I asked, horrified at what diseases he could catch from doing this.
“You bet I am. I’m not letting these go to waste,” my husband said, taking another big bite and glaring at the squirrel who could not care less.
Friends, this is the point where I had to Google "Can my husband get rabies from sharing an apple with a wild squirrel?". Thankfully, the answer is no. In fact, rodents rarely get rabies, which was news to me. And now it’s a little fact you can carry in your pocket too.
When Jamie isn’t trying to keep her family alive, you can find her curled up with a good book and a glass of wine pretending she can’t hear her four kids and husband asking what’s for dinner.