Apple Tree, Apple Tree…

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I just found this book at a nearby library and decided to bring it home on a whim, after all, it is way past Christmas and we are all a bit tired of winter around here. I am happy that I allowed myself this opportunity. I was attracted initially, I think by the “Little House” quality of the pictures and of course the old fashionedness. (I know that is not a word) I now love it because of the tree. That apple tree is reminding me of my own from my early years, right outside this door. Mine is not doing too well these days but is well over 100 years old and still hanging on, barely.

This book, “Apple Tree Christmas” by Trinka Hakes Noble was published in 1984 by Dial Books for Young Readers, New York. I believe she also did the illustrations as the dedication page says,

‘For my wise and wonderful Father, who made a drawing board for me many years ago… on which I drew this book for him, many years later…’

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In this book the family still live in a cozy, barn “apartment” with the animals below as the father has not had time to build the house yet. They are preparing for winter by picking apples to save for cider, pies, the horse and Christmas decorations from the large and lovely apple tree in their yard. Once the apples are harvested the girls can get back to their tree house activities. One likes to swing from a vine that grows with the tree and the other, the author, likes to sit in her special spot that she calls her studio, to draw. As Christmas approaches they must batten  down the hatches and stay inside as a three day blizzard comes. (We can relate this year!) The blizzard takes down their tree. The only thing Dad can do is chop it up for firewood to keep them warm. The girls are very sad about losing their friend. Enjoying the Christmas preparations is not easy this year. Ah, but Dad has a plan, as he is chopping away down below, he saves the very most important parts of the tree for special, always to be remembered, presents.  He hangs the vine from the rafters for a swing and he built a desk from the “studio” branch.

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My Tree

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This picture is what is left of my childhood tree. It is hard to tell with all the snow but it sits close to our driveway, below a stone wall. It had a natural border of bushes and smaller trees so it was close by home but still private. This limb is one of two that used to run parallel. The other is gone now but was right underneath this one and ran along the ground until meeting a large rock and then swung up and over the rock. It was my house, my horse, my garden and kitchen, elephants on safari, whatever we happened to be playing at the time. The best part were the two rocks that were right underneath. The large roundish one made the perfect throne with the flowering limb right above and the other was a flat, moss covered wonder that made the perfect floor to all the games we could come up with. Paradise really.

Someone recently asked if I wanted him to prune and take away the dead parts in return for apples for a cider press. He can have all the apples he wants but I don’t think I will let him do the trimming, yet. Maybe someday I’ll be ready for my own desk or horse made from that branch.

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This is the look we are dreaming of these days.

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