Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Summer Time Is Apple Time

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Over 30 years ago we purchased this 2.5 acre plot to build on.
(please pardon the compost heap on the right)

My husband was raised on an acre and we thought the idea of having a little space around us as we raised the children to be a dream.
He had milked cows and fed chickens as a child and he wanted that 'opportunity' for the kids.
I had warily watched a cow being milked, ate goat's cheese with a face, and our house was a stone's throw from a freeway exit, literally.

Well, to get on to it.
We thought our dream was to have fruit trees on this  land.

Before there were forms for the foundation of the house we planted...
Two Cherry trees
Two Plum trees
Two Peach trees
Two Pear trees
Two Apple trees
And other trees like cedar, (it far exceeded our expectations as you can see in the first picture) pine, and birch. We like trees...
And vines and shrubs, well you get the picture.

Picture me, 5 months pregnant with our fifth (oops!) child hauling water in buckets (2 per tree) from an irrigation ditch from the property next door. Hey, I was strong, I was willing, I was not overburdened.

Well, to make a long story short.
The fruit trees died one by one. I don't think it was the water hauler, it was just that they didn't like the ground where they were planted. With a high water table, most of the trees didn't like their 'feet wet'.
But, the apple trees flourished!
So, we planted more apple trees, after all, you can't have too many apples, right?
And, the little trees were not even giving off any fruit yet...

A small 'orchard' came to be... and each tree was someone's responsibility, especially when it came to picking up the fallen fruit.

The kids had the summertime (I don't know why our tree always started dropping apples early), anyway, the kids picked up apples and ran them through the juicer. They set up a station outdoors and they looked like they were having fun. I remember one occasion that they brought in some juice for me to try with a smirk on all five faces... after tasting and declaring it delicious they then told me that they ran the whole apple through, worms and all!
Lots of applesauce and apple butter came through my kitchen. Desserts were apple pie. Each girl (four by this time) had to make an apple pie that met their father's approval. If it needed more sugar next time, then they could make another one, we had plenty of apples.

On some years we invited friends over for a apple night. I supplied peelers, (I scoured yard sales and had maybe five at a time), zip lock bags, sugar and cinnamon. The peeled and sliced apples were readied for apple pies to come with the addition of sugar, spice and everything nice. The bags went home to go into freezers or to be forgotten - at least I had done my part.

Now, it is just two older (ahem) people living here with lots of fruit. and a visiting deer from time to time.


  1. I was just thinking about all those times doing the apples yesterday as I was making an apple crisp for dessert (S&B and kids came over). I was going to call and ask if I could come by and pick a few for the dish, but never got around to it (imagine that!) ;-) Those are such fun memories, even if we were all tired of apples by the end of the summer.

  2. I was really hoping someone would come and I wouldn't have to go out and clean up what's on the ground, but I think my hopes are a little too high.

  3. Helen: Loved your writing and your post. It is so "comfortable!" Wish I had a little more "space" but I need it inside. Looking forward to our next blog forum!

  4. I never knew you all had so many apple trees. Maybe I should have come your way more often as a child. :) Unfortunately, in our house we don't do apples much. If you can believe it, my husband has an aversion to anything apple. My kids and I like them though and every once in a while I'll make something apple just for us. I usually make it up to him though by making something berry along with or later!

  5. Things can change so fast! Not that long ago all our seven kids and their families lived in town. Now they're spread to the corners of the country. We have too many plums!


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