Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 65

SINGING IN THE GARDEN

Even if I
knew that
tomorrow the
world would
go to pieces,
I would still
plant my
apple tree.
-Martin
Luther

Apples on the Hill
The

Text and art by GINNY NEIL

W

hen I hike, I look for clues that tell the
stories of the settlers who homesteaded
the mountains. Sometimes I'll find a lilac growing in the middle of a clearing,
or a line of daffodils marking where an
old yard fence might have stood, but
more often it's the remains of old
orchards that tell me to search for the
square indentation of a long-ago
cabin floor or a tumbled foundation of rocks that marks a barn site.
There's nothing more satisfying in
the middle of a long hike than enjoying a sweet, sun-warmed apple from a tree
possibly planted a hundred years ago.
My own farmhouse is surrounded by apple trees in
various states of decay. I know the house was built in the
late 1800s, and I suspect that the trees on the hill above it
were planted shortly thereafter. Many have succumbed to
age, but even from their tangled heaps of limbs and twigs,
they send up a shoot or two. Each fall, I find the gift of an

apple dropped by the hollow tree above my studio and
delivered to my doorstep by gravity.
I would like to add some new trees to the orchard, so
I decided to get educated. My friend Kirk, who owns Big
Fish Cidery, told me that the apple trees on the hill above
my studio were planted there so cold air would flow
down past them rather than settling around them.
He also told me that the best time for planting here in Appalachia is early April.
I'm planning for that planting
now. I started by asking my mountain-native friends about their favorite apples. I've learned some interesting things. My friend Richard said his
family loved one called the Crow Egg for drying. They
hung screens over their woodstove and put the snits (thin
slices) there to dehydrate. Other families dried them on
screens placed on a south-facing porch roof and covered
with muslin to foil the flies.
Richard also told me that any apples growing around
the farm that were unfit to eat were called hog apples

SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2018

65



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018

Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Intro
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover1
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover2
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 4
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 5
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 6
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 7
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 8
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 9
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 10
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 11
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 12
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 13
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Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 15
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 16
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 17
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 18
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 19
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 20
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 21
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 22
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 23
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 24
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 25
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 26
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 27
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 28
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 29
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 30
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 31
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 32
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 33
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 34
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 35
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 36
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 37
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 38
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 39
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 40
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 41
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 42
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 43
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 44
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 45
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 46
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 47
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 48
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 49
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 50
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 51
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 52
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 53
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 54
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 55
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 56
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 57
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 58
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 59
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 60
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 61
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 62
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 63
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 64
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 65
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 66
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 67
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 68
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 69
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 70
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 71
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 72
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 73
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - 74
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover3
Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2018 - Cover4
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