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  For years, it was my habit to drive east on Route 5 toward Avon and to stop on the hill on the south side of the road just before you go down into the Genesee River valley. I would gather the large green “monkey brains” as my kids called them. They are actually Osage- oranges, sometimes called “horse apples” or “hedge apples”.  And this time of the year they drop from the trees.  They can break car windows and are dangerous if they fall into the road. This stand of trees runs south from the road quite a distance. It probably was one of the dense hedges that were popular before the introduction of barbed wire fence in the 1870s.  As the forests were cleared, the source of fence wood became scarce, and farmers needed a way to keep cattle confined to certain fields, and out of the corn, wheat and oats. Osage-orange hedges were described as “horse height, bull strong and tight.” . . .

Not an Ordinary Orange

by Lynne Belluscio

 

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