Country News

Me, apples - and other exotic species

By The General

I heard The Boss and the Missus having a minor dust-up the other day after he expressed minor pleasure in the blossoms on a wild cherry sprouting along the river.

The Missus thinks such rude imports don't belong on the river, whereas The Boss seems to be fairly relaxed about it.

He reckons there's plenty of exotic species along the river these days - including me - but moreso since the cattle grazing was cut back and the tomato weed has got right of control. 

He admits that a few blokes ran their cattle too hard on the crown frontages and cattle grazing right to the river didn't do the banks or water quality any favours - but thinks a month or two of grazing at the right time kept down the weeds and the fire risk.

"Everything in moderation, General," he says to me, nodding at the great old Peppercorn down on the corner.

He says he grew up with Peppercorns and Willows along the channels as shade and climbing trees and has a soft spot for the smells. 

Then I heard him suggesting to the missus that the odd fruit tree in the bush was just a sign that people had been there camping and enjoying themselves and maybe tossed a core or a few pips away without thinking much about it.

"Maybe it's not ideal," he says, "but at least I can pick a piece of fruit off into and then - which is more than you say for the tomato weed."

The Boss had a hero when he was a lad called Johnny Appleseed, whose mission in life was spreading apple seeds wherever he went.

His real name was John Chapman. He was born in Massachusetts in the USA way back in 1774 and is credited with seeding apple nurseries and orchards in six states, from Ohio to Indian to Illinois, before he died in 1845. He was an early environmentalist and something of a missionary.

Anyway, The Boss reckons Johnny Appleseed gave a lot of people the idea that "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" and it's even more true today, he says, when there's a lot of unhealthy fast food around.

Which is why he says things could be worse than the odd fruit tree sprouting along the river.

But the Missus shakes her head and frowns, saying they have no place there. So I don't want to get mixed up in this one.

But then again, any good Goulburn Valley dog doesn't mind half an apple, now and then. Woof!