Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Peaches

Summer 2006, we planted one peach tree. One year later, we had one fuzzy little peach ... Garrett and I split it, and it was the sweetest, tastiest peach either of us had ever tasted. We could hardly wait until summer number three when we surely would have a bumper crop! Spring of 2008 brought hundreds of tiny little flowers, which fell off a couple of weeks later in a hard frost. Summer 2009 brought dozens of tiny, hard green peaches, to be lost a few weeks later in a late and extended spring feeze and ice storm. This summer, summer number five, was surely to be THE YEAR OF THE PEACH!

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...

15 comments:

Jeanie said...

Oh my, what a lot of plagues your peaches have had to deal with. I'm glad you were able to salvage some and it sounds like the survivors were yummy indeed. And maybe next year......

Michele R said...

Those peaches left were definitely the survival of the fittest! Ewww, the worm....I'll take the sprayed peaches over the organic variety......

Timoteo said...

Humorous post from a real GEORGIA PEACH.

Wine and Words said...

Wow! What a battle. That's gonna be one fine cobbler though. I can taste it now. Yummmm

Bernie said...

I am not sure I would have your patience but a peach cobbler sure sounds good. What work you have to do to keep your peaches healthy, I had no idea.......:-) Hugs

My Aimless Infatuation said...

Worms,oh my,I will think twice before ever biting into a whole peach again. But I do loooove peach cobbler.

glnroz said...

Awww Mannnn,, peaches are my favoritest things in the whole world. That is what i missed most about not living in SC anymore. There were giant orchard all around where we lived... but glad you got some. Those dangeed beetle used to eat my shurb trees. I gave the old Seven(sp) treatment...

Jules said...

Thanks to Bernice I found you. Love this peach story and the photos. I love Georgia Peaches.

I'll follow along if you don't mind.

ethelmaepotter! said...

Been there, done that!

When we lived in Nashville, I planted a tiny sprig that eventually grew into a fine peach tree. Took FOREVER. Flowers, just like you said, then a year of tiny little rock hard peach-colored balls. I well remember one spring night during a hard freeze - I went out with sheets to cover my flowers and the peach tree, and when I got to the tree - I looked up, and up, and up! I could not believe how much it had grown, and there was NO WAY I could spread that sheet over it!

And that was the only year we got peaches off it. No beetles, no worms, no Olivers and Eva Jeans, but the birds took potshots at them. Then we moved at the end of the summer, and the peach tree belonged to a stranger.

Sometimes, though, I still go park at the church around the corner from the old place, and gaze at the old house...and the peach tree that sprang from the earth beneath my hands.

yaya said...

When we bought this house there were tons of trees and I didn't even know 2 were peach...until one find summer day I found one of them loaded with peaches and they were great. However, that was the only time it happened. Both trees died within a few years of each other. I'm a peach killer I guess..But yours do look wonderful and your blog sure made me laugh. I hate those stupid beetles too..so do my roses!

Ginger said...

You did a great job on telling the story of your peach tree. Kind of sad though, all that work for just a few peaches without worms.
We buy Utah peaches from a farm south of us about 30 miles. They are very sweet and juicy. We pay $25 for a box of them. (I think it weighs 20 lbs.). I don't know how to can them, so I freeze them.

CHERI said...

From one GA PEACH to another...I love peaches. I actually grew up in PEACH COUNTY. My husband says one of the happiest days of his life was the day his daddy plowed up all their peach trees on the farm! I worked many hours in the packing sheds during high school with all my friends. It was the most fun work I've ever done! And I do love peach cobbler, especially the old GA recipe with 1/2 cup of everything and no stirring. Hope you have better luck next year but peach trees are very temperamental!

CHERI said...

Oh...I got so involved with my comment on peaches I forgot to tell you THANK YOU for the wonderful quote you left on my blog. I will definitely add it to my collection. I really need to work on organizing my quotes somehow...I'm getting so many!

dana said...

We're still waiting for peaches. Joe planted a peach tree 5 years ago so that he could have a tree all to himself and I planted a plum tree at the same time. My first plums were delicious, then the tree died. His tree is tall and glorious, but without a peach to be found.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Beautiful peaches. They are ready here in Texas also, but yours have such beautiful color. Guess that's why you're the peach state and we're not.