One of our orchard trees is a Santa Rosa plum. It's my favorite plum; purple-red, sweet and tart, it bursts into your mouth while juice runs down your chin and through your fingers. You can't get them in the grocery store - the window to perfect juiciness is very short. A few years ago, we had a bumper crop and I made plum jam, plum tarts and plum cake. Not to mention the many that I slurped down, standing in the orchard.
The last few summers, we haven't had any plums. First, the tree lost a couple large limbs. I pruned it way, way back to strengthen it's core. While it was recovering from it's severe haircut -- think Rappunzul gets a pixie -- it didn't produce any plums. This spring I was thrilled to see it set fruit and eagerly waited for July, when the plums ripen.
Kersey was waiting too. Yesterday, I was coming up from the barn with the dogs and spied a perfectly ripe plum on the grass under the tree. The first Santa Rosa plum in three years. My saliva glands kicked into high gear and I headed toward the fruit. Unfortunately, Kersey saw it too. She's a bit faster than me and in my walking cast... I didn't stand a chance. She retrieved it, picking it up gently and carrying it over to me. While I considered whether I wanted it bad enough to wash off the doggy spit, she chomped down and ate it. In two bites. Pit and all. I watched the juice drool out of her mouth and thought murderous thoughts.
This evening, there was another plum on the ground. Kersey seems to think they are edible toys. She plays with them for awhile before eating them. Or maybe she just does that to torture me.
She picked an unripe one from the tree and expected me to play fetch with her. Last fall, she robbed the apple trees of "balls" everyday. She has retained the skill, obviously.
I will be doing an orchard check and slurping plums before I let the dogs out in the future. I can't let her get to these gems before I do.
At least she washed up before her dinner, rinsing her paws in the wading pool while I fixed up her bowl of food. I'm surprised she was still hungry. But then, she is a lab. Her motto: All food, all the time.