The tree this summer was covered with beautiful Georgia peaches! They even ripened several weeks earlier than expected due to the early spring weather we enjoyed (and which quickly gave way to a hotter than expected summer).
The only problem was, their ripening coincided with the appearance of the dreaded Japanese beetle. If you've never had to deal with them, count yourself lucky. If you have seen them, you know that they not only destroy every fruit and flower in your garden, but are downright disgusting, munching and copulating at the same time. To try to pick any fruit that was NOT covered with these nasty creatures was like something out of a nightmare, their hard bodies slamming into your face and arms in an effort to chase you away from THEIR bounty.
But they weren't the only pest at the peach tree. This particular one, with sparse white hair and dark freckles, is an EVA JEAN, with the ability to just reach up and grab a peach at will, taking a few bites and leaving the remains on the ground for another pest, the ants.
This hairy pest is called an OLIVER, a common ordinary thief who will go so far as to grab a peach right from under your nose after you have done all the hard work, and who is not above taking one in the house and trying to tell you it's a ball.
I've saved the worst pest for last, and thankfully I have no photo of it. It's the 'plum curculios' worm. It enters the peach in the early stages of development, and if you don't spray in a timely fashion it will destroy the innards of the peach and cause it to either fall early or bruise heavily.
And when you cut them open, no matter how beautiful the peach may seem on the outside, there will be a teeny tiny squiggly white worm on the inside at the pit. And after you've cut open a few dozen peaches, your stomach begins to do this funny little squirmy thing, and if you weren't raised to do this on a regular basis, you just flat give up and say 'no more'.
When all was said and done, there were only enough peaches to freeze five two-cup bags for future cobblers. I'd have taken a photo of the one that we already made, but it didn't last long enough! It was simply scrumptious. And next year, if we don't have an early frost or heavy freeze, and if we spray in a timely fashion, and if they can time their ripeness before or after the invasion of the Japanese beetle, maybe, just maybe...