Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A is for Apple

The apples trees up on the Crowe had been planted years earlier. We used to climb them. These days I'd worry more about knocking their dry bluish white moss/lichen off them or their just giving up the ghost and snapping. Climbing these trees I used to think they had to be related to roses what with their knobby thorns that broke off, marking your climb.

We had a potato piece with the apples off to the sides up on the hill shared by my aunts and uncles. I'd always thought that potatoes were something you grew with other families and that everything else you did yourself. Now there is no shared piece. The families do their own thing, grow their own things or buy them.

I didn't like working on the potatoes. It was so dry. There'd be us kids who'd walk along the dusty hills scouting the leaves for the nefarious speckle-shelled potato bug and then plinking them into a coffee can. The rows seemed to go on forever and it was thirsty. You don't plant potatoes in the shade.

The piece was along a stone wall, it's largely overgrown by trees now. It's the same wall where three years ago when the weather was so warm that instead of going out hunting I went out with a chainsaw and an over/under (just in case). Of course I saw a deer then. By the time I'd set the chainsaw down the bouncing white tail was out of sight.

We used to ride up to the potato piece on a wooden trailer towed by Uncle Elvin's tractor. You couldn't get there in a car - the road wasn't very accommodating that way.

After we'd worked in the potato piece we kids would climb the trees. Cousin Bucky and I would climb up into the apple trees, we'd eat the apples, mainly light green-skinned and sour - I know of stomach aches. Mom would make pies, the apples would fill the two crisper drawers of the fridge, she would cut them up and freeze them into bags she kept in the fridge in the cellar.

Not all apples were destined for pies - my cousins, brother and I would find saplings and use them to launch apples. Every time I see the sticks people use to throw tennis balls a long ways for their dogs I'm reminded of launching apples.