Behold an avocado tree. A tree, I admit, that demonstrates a case of allowing a twin trunk to develop though I am told that is permitted with avocados. It is a tree which has had the best ever crop of Hass avocados this year. It has truly been a mast year. We are a bit marginal when it comes to avocados and they tend to crop biennially. There is no crop next year so we are making hay (or guacamole, to be precise) while the winter sun shines.
Exhibit A is the pile of avocado pits around the place. These tell us that we are not alone in harvesting the crop. In fact given the predations of waxeyes, starlings, blackbirds, rats and possums, it is a miracle that we still collect fruit by the bucket load. Possums are a major pest in this country and Mark and the dogs do a round each evening checking for them. Mark conducts an autopsy on the stomach contents of each possum he shoots – mostly to check who is eating the buds of the magnolia trees at this time of the year – and noted last week that one appeared to be full of guacamole.
But exhibit B fingered another avocado thief. None of the aforementioned raiders stashes partially eaten fruit all round the place. We had noticed that new dog Dudley was looking particularly glossy and plump. The natural avocado oils are clearly kind to his fur. Mark has taken to doing a circuit twice a day to pick up whole fruit that has fallen in an attempt to beat Dudley to the draw but any time the dog disappears from view, it is a fair bet that he can be found near the avocado tree.
Dudley is a four year old fox terrier, surrendered by his previous owner to the SPCA for re-homing. He came to us in January – clearly a well-loved townie dog used to being fed tidbits any time his previous owner was eating, allowed on any furniture and accustomed to sleeping in his owner’s bed. He was a little timid at the space here and confused by the changes in rules. But now he has taken on the role of estate dog as though he were to the manner born. He is a whizz on rats, a keen possum dog, happy to assist with moving the four beefies that comprise Mark’s little cattle herd, patrols the boundary to ensure that Sam the neighbour’s dog does not make incursions and he is more than happy to deal to the perceived surplus of avocados.