Archive for February, 2007


February 5, 2007

When my grandparents were building their house in the early 80s, my folks prevailed on them to save a small wild apple tree that gave good tart green apples.  So they let it be, there on the north side of the garage, and all the time I was a kid on the North End the tree grew bigger and bigger, and it gave bushels of apples, which we ate and turned into cider.  Over time it seemed to get tired, perhaps because of the shade, and a couple of years back it failed to leaf out in the spring.  We sadly cut it up for firewood, but I saved out a few of the gnarly chunks for woodworking.  I roughed a couple blanks on the lathe and set them to dry, and late last year finally finished one off and sent it as a belated wedding present to JD and Anne, friends in Philadelphia who share our interest in apples.  Here it is:

I left the rim of the bowl uneven, showing a bit of the shape of the trunk, and finished it off with walnut oil.  The wood had a great variety of colors and texture, including some embedded bark and the stubs of a couple branches that had been pruned off when the tree was smaller and grown in over time.  It’s fun to think that the tree lives on in a way; I just wish we had thought to graft scions from it onto one of the other trees in the yard, so that that one nameless variety could have stayed in the family.