between here and there


The Empire Revisited


In my last post I talked about the looming threat of wild visitors to my Apple Tree. Yesterday I took a hike up the local trail and upon my return the tree had been visited. All the apples were stripped from the bottom branches ! Ha! Time to harvest. So, here is my share of the apples. I left some on for any wayward visitors who really need an afternoon snack.

By the way, I’m still hoping someone will send me their favorite recipe for an Apple Crisp!

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The Empire

The Empire Apple, small as a plum

The Empire Apple, small as a plum



Apple season has arrived in my yard. Almost overnight the leaves on the Amur and Cottonwood are turning bright yellow. And I am not exaggerating about the “overnight” aspect. Come and see for yourself if you want. In addition to the bright light of leaves glowing in my yard I think the apples on my single apple tree are ready to pick. And as I noted in a previous blog, that means I need to pick them before the Moose or Bear get them.

One came off the tree the other day, and I decided to give it a try. They are smallish. Like a plum. They are mostly yellow with a beautiful overlay of reddish streaks. But I don’t know which variety they are. Looking on line it seems like it may be an Empire.

Here is what they say about the Empire Apple:

Introduced in New York, 1966 (McIntosh x Delicious).
Ripens in late September, (two weeks later than McIntosh).
Fruit is medium; skin is red-on-yellow to all red. Flesh is crisp, juicy, aromatic and slightly tart.
Sweet, spicy quality excellent for eating fresh, in salads and fruit cups

The Apple Tree in my yard

Take a look at the pics and let me know what you think. Am I right? Or is it another variety?

What I know, is that the one I tasted is sweet. very fragrant, and slightly soft. Delicious, and wonderful considering I got to watch it grow from sweet pink blossom to edible fruit!

I think I need to pick some a make an Apple Crisp. Anybody have suggestions for a recipe?


just before eating

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on the road to Fall

Bear scat along the road home

Bear scat along the road home

the great chokecherry attractant

the great chokecherry attractant


The days are becoming more brisk, more fall-like. As the summer pushes towards its last moments the rush of ripe fruit arrives. Sweet smelling and practically dripping from its bush. With the fruit comes the bears. Bears move by season and available food source. So while I am always cautious of bears in the wilderness around me, the places that I hike and camp, I also realize that most bears are in particular landscapes and elevations at certain times of the year. If I pay attention to their needs I am most likely not in their way. Of course there is the “hibernation” period, those long restful periods of winter, when it is unlikely to see them. Those short days of light, and long days of dark when I wish I could crawl into a cave as the snow falls, just as the bears do. But in rest of the year they are moving around looking for the best food source: logs and bugs, left over carnage that is left from a creature not surviving the winter, or losing a battle with another animal, nuts, and the sweetest of all, berries. When the fruit comes into season we have the greatest opportunity to cross paths with a bear or two.

For me, living up a canyon outside of Bozeman surrounded by protected Forest land, such an experience is even greater. The two trails that leave into the mountains from the end of my road provide great cross over with bears and their berries. And when I know it is best to start paying attention to where and when I am hiking on these trails is when I see the large piles of bear poop that start showing up on the road to my house. Which is now. The chokecherry and other berries are ripe along the road and every morning there are more piles left from the bears after they gorge on the berries. The branches of bushes are pulled down and leaning toward from the roadside where the bears are tugging on them. And as they move up the road they are moving up in elevation, which means that they are naturally following the berries as they ripen over the next few weeks.

The last stop before they head up the trails is a treat in my yard. An Apple tree which is heavy with fruits this year. Planted just outside my front door I observe the fruit every time I walk by. This week it is turning from green to shades of red. Small little sweet fruits that will soon be eaten by me, moose and bear. The question is, who will get the most of the fruit.