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Hedge apples: Curative powers

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I saw my first mess of hedge apples littering the ground this morning while rambling with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.

hedge apple09-23-10rs

Not sure what it means, other than another sign of the seasons passing.

My wife saw some by the road a week ago, so I have been looking on our morning ramble around the town pond ever since. There's several Osage orange trees (hedge apples fall from them) along our route, primarily by a ditch.

There they were this morning, a couple dozen haphazardly rolled around on the ground, as though bowled by someone with one too many beer frames in him. Not sure if the wind hurried them along or if it was the storm a couple nights ago.

hedge apples09-23-10rs

I am fascinated by hedge apples, by the size (bigger than a softball), skin (dimpled like an outsized light green Titleist) and scent (I can't put a good description to the scent).

But my wife is far more fascinated by them than me. She imbues them with secretive curative powers she read somewhere. Each fall she collects a batch and fills a large colorful ceramic bowl with them.

They dominate the dining room table.

It's looks like the setting for a still life, as though she expects an impressionist painter to arise from a couple centuries past and come shuffling through our door with an easel under his arm and a beret on his head.

We have something of a freaky family connection to them.

The kids love them.

I just looked up my first account of them from last year. And it was with our youngest on Oct. 20. He was picking them up and tossing them into the town pond.

Now, he is in school all day and I pad around taking photos of hedge apples on the ground.

Hope the two guys fishing for fall crappie in the town pond didn't think I was too strange.

Maybe that is the secret power of hedge apples: they draw us out of ourselves.

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When I grew up in the suburbs in the 1970s, there was a crazy lady in the neighborhood who used to pay us kids a quarter a piece for hedge apples. I think she made pies out of them. So we used to stock pile them and wait for her to show up. Sometimes we dipped into that stock pile and hid behind parked cars and rolled those hedge apples under approaching cars. That was great fun!

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on September 23, 2010 9:46 AM.

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