There is a mystery going on in our orchard and I can't quite figure it out. Somebody has been eating my apples and leaving half eaten apples on the tree. The apple looks like it was snapped in half. Literally. Here's an example of what I picked off the tree this afternoon.
We've never had a problem like this before. Occassionally a bird will peck at an apple or pear and leave something that looks like this:
Or a slug will nibble one near the ground. But we've never had apples that are bit right through the core. A deer is the obvious culprit, but we have a good deer fence, and the orchard has never been bothered by deer.
Still there is no denying the facts. Yesterday when I went out to pick this box of apples for making sauce, ten apples were eaten in half. And the fence was bent over and wound up into the branches of the walnut tree. It would really surprise me if a deer could have jumped through that mess, much less made it. It looked more like a bear sat on the fence on his way over the top. Don't ask me how the walnut tree branches were threaded through the weave of the fence.
And this all happened yesterday. I was out there the day before eating apples and checking on things and everything was fine. No halved apples and a perfectly intact fence. hmm.
We have been seeing oodles of fresh bear scat all around the place, in the woods, in the blackberries, on the hillside above the road. Looking at that fence made me wonder...could a small black bear crawl over the fence? They do love apples.
I looked all around the trees scouring the orchard for scat. Didn't see any. But still. What else could bend down a six foot high fence and mangle it like preztel baked into a walnut tree. Something big must have done that.
Either it was our friendly neighborhood Bigfoot or our busy local bear. Guess I ought to be glad whomever it was had the courtesy to leave me some apples. They sure taste good!