Thursday, August 28, 2014

An Emergency Apple Picker

We realized earlier this summer that the apple tree by our garage was growing apples in places that were going to be hard for us to reach while standing on a solid surface and using only our hands.  The tree was (is) of such a disposition that climbing to the very limits of its human weight support system (or setting up a ladder in the most clever way we could conceive) would not improve our harvest by much.  What we needed was an apple-picking device attached to the end of a long pole.

In typical fashion for us, we allowed this deficiency to persist until the last possible moment, when the apples were ripe and starting to pick themselves (with some help from the local squirrels and raccoons, who charge a fee of several bites per apple picked).  So, we needed an apple-picking device immediately.  The tool we needed is available from the local DIY centers, but for a hefty fee.  The tool can be found online for considerably less, but the urgency of our predicament would have required that we shell out for expedited shipping, again at an exorbitant sum.  And then, why pay anything at all when we could build one at home for free (save for a half hour of our time) from the leftover scraps of our other projects?  Thus, last Saturday saw the birth of our homemade emergency apple picker, and the collection of every last apple daring to dangle from our tree.

An example of the challenge with which we were tasked and the bounty that awaiteth.

The tool itself is pretty simple: a handle of leftover electrical conduit from the row cover chicken tractor and a section of woven wire fencing trimmed from the strawberry cage, held together with a section of scrap 2 x 4 and a 2" stove bolt. 

The connections of the wood to the pole and fencing.  We added some glue to the wire-holding holes for extra support.

Add a couple of old socks to pad the fall, and it's ready to go!

The reach can be extended significantly with some duct tape and a section of broken pole vaulting pole. (Who doesn't have one of those laying around?)

A small fraction of the harvest: delicious and pristine Macintosh apples, destined for apple jam, apple sauce, apple pies, apple crisps, and the like.

What do you use to pick your high-up apples?  What other tools for fruit picking have you devised?  Let us know in the comments section below!

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