This is a pretty sad photo. Not the photo itself, but the subject: the very last bowl of fresh blueberries from our orchard. We have been blessed with a bumper crop of fruit this year; our blueberry bushes and apple trees have outdone themselves. Over 40 gallon of blueberries have gone into the freezer, jams, cobblers, pancakes, muffins and little boys mouths from this years crop. There are still berries scattered here and there on the branches, but not enough to bother with. Those that remain will be gleaned by the birds (and my husband). In addition to a bounty of berries we have gathered bushel after bushel of apples---Summer Treat, Empire, Cortland, Jonalicious, Red Delicious, Blushing Golden, Golden Delicious, Mutzu, and Adina---and there are still apples ripening on the trees---Winesap, Fuji, Granny Smith, Arkansas Black. Almost all of the trees have looked like this Winesap looks right now.
Last year there was a very late freeze that wiped out most of the tree bloom here in Western NC; then, we had terrible drought conditions through the summer and fall. There was very little in the way of fruit and nut crops as most trees had to put out leaves/blooms twice. This year it is almost as if they have compensated. Every fruit and nut bearing tree in the area is loaded. Hedgerow apple trees that usually have only scattered fruit are bent with the weight of their crop. My husband and I have been discussing this and I have decided we will probably have a tough winter. All the signs our ancestors looked for are there: lots of fruit and mast, early frost (last Thursday, Sept. 25), bees nests on or near the ground, fall flowers blooming early, Katydids singing early... I hope I'm wrong. I guess we will find out.