Monday, October 10, 2011

Orchard Memories 1986

These apple polishers and tractor driver (Tasha) searching for her hat gathered one day at the Canyon Park Orchard.  Apple maven Susan on the right was directing operations for her sister in law Barbara and niece Holly in rubbing the bloom off the gorgeous orbs.  The farm held 5 acres of apples, two houses and a large pond in front of which sat the apple stand where customers bought from the selection of 37 varieties of apples from 2000 dwarf trees. The action was quick and constant. Apples were harvested, sorted, polished, boxed, labeled. Earlier in the year there was much ado about pollinating, fertilizing, mowing, thinning, watching the weather. The first row of trees was right outside Susan’s kitchen window and the beautiful apple blossoms filled her whole view........

 The whole apple production process was great for kids and visitors who only got a glimpse of the incredible work it took to take care of 2000 apple trees that produced giant, crisp apples. Selling season was very quick in October. Boxes of apples flew off the hill into the hands of waiting customers.  In the beginning both farmers Susan and Tom worked outside jobs to help support the fledgling business. The work was hard and wearing but they loved it.  They loved seeing the fruits of their labors! The unusual varieties of apples attracted the attention of scientists and media and they had more than one story done on their operation.

Making apple cider was an October celebration. The honey from the bee hives was delicious. Tractor rides for the kids was a regular feature, and 25 years later, new grandsons get the privilege. The orchard is gone, pulled down by the problem of apple maggots, and the trees rotted in piles and are now only a memory, and part of the earth.  A pretty pasture and vegetable garden anchor the hillside.  Two weddings were conducted there. Little kids still run through the property which farmer Tom has rigged with places for pushing toy dump trucks through dirt pathways, a fort in a wagon with a pulley and basket, a swing on a stage that has held musicians and diners.  The farmer couple like to sit on their wide front porch, in a house constructed so many years ago by their nephews, and watch the vines creep up one tree and across to the others, making a quiet, secluded place for contemplating life and its surprises.

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