Fuzzy AppleNappers. I have an infestation under my tree.


Do you have an infestation of fuzzy applenappers?

Evidently, these scraggly nappers are of the green fruit-eating variety.  They are relatively small, compared to other fuzzy nappers, yet they have a ‘persistence quotient’ paralleled by none.


First, let me introduce you to the object of their affection and extreme obsession… the apple tree.  Now, this apple tree may look like any other apple tree.  But, it isn’t.  This apple tree is an over-achiever.  Every spring, it bursts forth with as many blossoms as its little trunk can muster and then by Fall, this brave and powerful little tree has so much fruit, its branches droop with the weight of its luscious harvest.  This little apple making machine is so prolific, we cannot possible eat them all…  Which is precisely why the fuzzy ones lurk beneath it.

The object of their obsession


This is Slick.  He comes by his name honestly…  You see, this fuzzy little piebald or skewbald Shetland applenapper was a teasing stud at a Thoroughbred farm.  Yup, he thought he was ‘all that’.  Besides prancing about snaking his neck, if he felt like letting himself out of his stall to run the aisleways talking to the ladies, he did.  Well, the farm wasn’t too thrilled with his antics so their problem, Slick, became mine.  He was immediately gelded (although you wouldn’t know it) and came to live with us here.  That was 14 years ago.

If he was a human, he’d be be a cross between Ferris Bueller and William Macy’s character in Fargo.  I mean, Slick is very slick until he really, really wants something.  Then he becomes totally frazzled and nonsensical.  Oh, and his hair is like Rod Stewart’s.

Slick becomes a frenzied dervish under the apple tree...


His name is Dodger.  We call him Dodger because he dodged the bullet at the meat packer plant.  Yup, this fuzzy Shetland napper was originally on a circular kids’ pony ring but he didn’t like it.  So, off to the meat packer.  But, HELLO… this boy stole my heart and it was both of our lucky days.  I purchased him for $35.16, his meat price.  He’s been snorfulling under fruit trees here for 13 years now.

Dodger is a very stoic and polite fuzzy applenapper.  He is also the Boss fuzzy applenapper.  He’s the walk softly, carry a big bite/kick kind of napper.  I think that is why his feet are all banded in white… they are the WATCHOUT warning lights as they whiz by your ear.

Dodger, the leader, waits patiently while I pick


This is Norma.  She is the “one of these things is not like the other” fuzzy nappers.  For her entire life, she has been the round with the squares, the swan with the geese and the angel with the devils.  Norma does what the boys do, only better because she’s smarter.  They give her the idea and she improves it.  Hence, she is the most charming and the most successful of this motley crew.

Norma, not quite hiding in the magical apple tree


The apple tree is a mainstay for all of the horses if they are out and able to get to it.  However, the fuzzy ANs are waaaaay shorter than the other horses (who harvest the low hanging fruit with ease) so the poor fuzzies have to try harder.  Either they run to the apple tree and hoover up the apples that have fallen, or they don’t get any.  Unless…I’m out picking some apples.  Then, they put on their cloaking devices and become super stealth.  You see, as I’m picking, I invariably drop one or shake a few more out of the tree than I can catch and, WHOOSH!, it is gone.  Instantaneously picked off like a ball girl at Wimbledon.  It is amazing, really.  If I drop two apples, WHOOSH WHOOSH!, two immediate saves by the fuzzy team with the next player now first in line to swoop in for the next steal.

Appearing nonchalant as they prepare their strategy under the apple tree

The problem here is that Fargo Slick always blows his cover.  He gets too excited for the green and he becomes frantic and frenzied.  Slick is so overwhelmed by his first ingestion of the green nectar that his brain hiccups and he starts whirling about under the tree — “WHERE WILL THE NEXT ONE FALL?    I GOTTA GET IT!  AHHHH, WHICH WAY?  WHICH WAY SHOULD I GO????!!  THIS WAY.  NO NOOOO, THAT WAY… ARRGHH, I’M SO CONFUSED!!”  And so it goes.  The skewbald piebald fuzzy ruins his chances by over-thinking his strategy and letting his greed take over.

Contrastingly, Dodger is a perfect and patient applenapper.   He stands there politely and either waits his turn to pick up what has fallen or he just looks at me in his very cute way and I toss him one.  Works every time.

Norma is a bit more bold.  She will come up to me and tap me on the shoulder, just to make sure I know she is available to help.


At one point, the fuzzy ANs made a discovery — the glorious apple picker from Home Depot.  The orange apple picker must hold secrets and magical powers.  After all, whenever I put the pole in the tree, the orange picker cup comes back with apples in it.  “IT MUST HOLD THE POWER!”  So, the fuzzyones went about claiming the orange picker cup for themselves.  Hence its current condition:  smashed and beheaded.

The customized (wrecked) apple picker

Of you look closely at the picker cup, you will see that it is caved in on one side.  Also, the cup has separated from the stick – which doesn’t help.  You see, the three fuzzies  (Three Stooges, more aptly…) stole the apple picker and tried to possess it.  They chewed on it, stomped it and did whatever they could think of to make the stick surrender its magical powers.  Sadly, this effort was fruitless.  All they succeeded in doing was wrecking the picking device.  Thanks.

But, Mom repaired the picker, sort-of, and continued to let the stick perform, albeit one-sided and awkward.


The most fun part of apple picking with this hedonistic band of apple nappers is their constant attempt to rob the Basket of Love.

The basket of Love.

The Basket of Love is the front basket of a wrought iron bicycle I have on my porch.  As I pick, I put the apples there for temporary storage.  They are safe there, most of the time.  But, if I’m not vigilant, they sneak towards the bike, anticipatory drool marking their path as they tippy-toe ever so quietly.  But, really now, can 250 lbs of excited pony really be quiet?  No.  And that really ruins it for Norma because she can tippy-toe.  She can be quiet and she doesn’t drool.   Many, many times Norma as gotten her delicate donkey lips around an apple from the Love Basket and the only warning I had was the sound of her initial CHOMP.  But, pushy and excitable Slick ruins it for everyone as he bulldozes his way towards the Love Basket.  So, I can generally head them off at the pass…


Now the whole reason I was having trouble today with the swarm of fruit nappers was because my Security Team was gone.  Nomar the Mastiff and Dex the Kelpie were nowhere to be found.

The Security Team really doesn’t care about apples.  In fact, they wonder why anyone would want to eat apples.  Patooey.  But, they are extremely protective of their waterer which sits right beneath the apple tree.  So, if the applenappers are near the apple tree, they are also near the waterer and that is a no-no.

Reporting for duty, Ma'am... can I bite them?

Luckily on this particular day, Nomar came back on duty just as the nappers were starting to do their end-runs (headed by Norma) and overwhelm me.  Here is a photo of Nomar asking me if it is OK to bite them… not hard, just a nip or two.

And another day is foiled for the poor fuzzy applenappers of Grass Valley.

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