We had a bumper crop of hedge apples this year! The ONE hedge tree in our yard produced somewhere in the vicinity of 3,000 hedge apples! Hooray! We have proven that we can grow something at Four Sisters Farm that has little use and causes much annoyance! The grandkids couldn't even walk across that part of the yard without falling down!
Oh well. I am so very thankful for a pickup stick my dad gave me. It saved my back and my hands. And I had some time to think about possible fall games for families involving this yearly falling of the hedge apples...hedge apple crochet, hedge apple relays, contests for picking up the most in an allotted time, hedge apple throwing contests, and much more!
As I was picking up all those pesky, gooey, near-soft-ball-size fruits, it did get me to thinking...
What in the world did God make these things for anyway???
According to Hedgeapple.com, they are not poisonous but have been known to choke livestock to death. I would think this is not the best thing about hedge apples; but then again...I'm still pondering! If I understand correctly, the Osage Indians used to make sturdy bows that were very valuable back in the day...hence another name for this tree: "Osage Orange." The Osage Orange is a cousin to the mulberry tree; which ironically also grows well here at Four Sisters Farm! Another common name for the tree is "bodark" from a french word (d'arc) that means "bow wood."
Another goodie I gleaned from my research is that the tree produces a bright yellow dye that can be extracted from the wood...maybe someone should replace the FDA approved yellow food dyes with it!
At least the wood is hard, long-lasting, and burns hotter than any other wood...that's what we do with it...burn it! But really, the wood is still valued today...Pop has a nephew who makes a living harvesting the trees and installing fence rows and I've read about folks who make instruments from hedge wood.
Hmmm...maybe I should be planting these hideous balls and growing a hedge tree plantation?? I can't see Pop going for that but I'll ask him. Stay tuned. Hee hee.
In the meantime, there are still some hedge apples holding onto the tree...I'll get them all yet!