This weekend Steve, Silas and I made our first trip to the orchard. Just a short 10 minute drive outside of the city, but a completely different vista of rolling hills, valley, and nothing but green; we should have done this ages ago.
There was a tractor-pulled wagon that made the rounds to bring us to the apple varieties that were ripe ("Summer Treat" and "Burgundy" were what we chose to pick, if you're wondering), which were scattered throughout the orchard. The farmer made a big production of the tractor getting "stuck" in the small stream that snaked its way through the property and required chants from us all to free the wheels and save us from the alligators. This made a huge impression on Silas. He was enchanted.
When we finally hopped off it was just the three of us walking among the trees on a beautiful afternoon with enough sun to be warm and enough breeze to be pleasant. It didn't take long for Silas to master the twist-and-pull and our basket was soon full. He made a great show of setting each apple down as gently as possible. Of course, a bite was snuck here and there.
We walked back up to the barn, having to ford the creek along the way. There were frog sightings and toes dipped into the cool waters.
The house that I grew up in was built by my great-grandfather and it is where my grandfather was raised. It sits on a corner lot in a very small town (about 900 people) and when my great-grandfather lived there the rest of the block was an apple orchard. None of his trees remained to be seen in my lifetime, but my mom re-told us stories that had been told to her of her father building radios and threading a long antenna wire through the canopy of all the apple trees to get better reception, picking up signals from even as far away as London.
Someday, someday I'll have an apple tree (or twelve) of my own to train and prune. Until then, I foresee many more trips to this, our adopted orchard.