Posts Tagged ‘apples’

Here Be Dragons ~ And Faeries, Too!

Like the otherworldly birch tree in my last post, I’ve been waiting to blog these photos and stories for awhile. Some over the top synchronicities at last Tuesday’s Township Board Meeting let me know it would soon be time. Background: a very active neighbor and I compared notes a few weeks ago and discovered that she, her daughter and I are really in this sidewalk battle to preserve our trees. Others love our mature tree lined streets, but for the three of us, it goes much deeper. Trees, nature spirits, the Fae … for us, these represent something spiritual, the link between spiritual and material realms. The passion fueling each of us arises from the core of our being.

On that evening, our neighbor showed me her nextdoor neighbor’s yard, the apparent center of an old apple orchard from 50 years ago. She pointed to circles of thicker, greener grass and said, “Those rings drive them nuts because they can’t get their lawn to stay even after mowing. They’re the circles around old apple trees that have been gone for half a century. The Earth remembers.”

“They’re faery rings!” I said, “Apple trees are sacred to the Otherworld.”

My neighbor said in a hushed, amused voice, “That’s what I told them! Faery rings. They think I’m joking.” Continue reading

Gleaning

A group of us in Goshen got together last night for an evening of gleaning, and ohhhh, what a lovely, lovely time! Transition Goshen has a project called, “The Low Hanging Fruit Press,” which many of us crowd funded so that we could purchase a community cider press. As a side part of this project, we also began to map fruit trees in town — on private or public property — in need of harvesting.

Many people buy homes that already have fruit trees planted, and they find these trees a nuisance rather than a boon. With permission, those people who do appreciate the abundance of free fruit can save the homeowners a lot of work. In some cases, a timely harvest will even save tree limbs from breaking with the weight of unpicked fruit. A number of websites help to match up gleaners and fruit trees, and David and I found something similar when we lived in Madison. I believe Transition Goshen has decided to use http://fallingfruit.org, which can be used for wherever you live around the world.

I have eaten a lot of apples in my life, but I’ve never actually harvested one from a tree. (Just crabapples.) Most apples in the grocery store are four months to a year old and waxed. Even “organic” apples may be sprayed with antibiotics. The apples we gleaned last night had not been sprayed at all, and you could tell. Many did not look “shelf quality,” because they had little marks on them or odd shapes. Our group harvested these for cider pressing and to donate to a local soup kitchen that will turn them into applesauce. I arrived after a foraging walk with and going away gathering for my friend, Kimber, so I had forgotten to bring any kind of bucket or barrel. That turned out well, though, since my backback swung around front to become a highly efficient harvesting set-up.

Something magical happened to me as I approached the trees at sunset. Long time readers know I feel a strong connection to Avalon, also known as “The Isle of Apples.”

apple tree

This particular property sits on an old orchard, with rolling hills and twisting trees. I said a little prayer to the faeries and trees to help me find the nicest “low hanging fruit” so that I didn’t need to climb a ladder. I felt an immediate response. Amazingly, even when I’d approach a tree after someone else had already gleaned the lower branches, I kept finding flawless or nearly flawless apples — enough to fill my backpack within the first half hour. I then helped others collect for their own harvests or the donation. While picking, as twilight settled in, I could feel the mystical energy of Avalon. A huge well of joy bubbled from my heart up through the crown of my head as I walked under the trees.

We took a cider break to enjoy pressed cider from last week’s similar outing, which I missed due to a friend visiting from out of town. I had donated to the crowd funded community cider press just to support the project, not because I usually like apple cider, but this was the sweetest, richest tasting cider I’ve ever had! Something about drinking a fresh community harvest that would otherwise have gone to waste or broken tree limbs just felt right. This project also dovetails with the Youth Engagement Grant I’m working towards with some neighborhood teenagers to plant fruit trees in a nearby park. I had sensed the community potential of planting the trees and beautifying the park, and I love the idea of providing free, local food to neighbors. But last night, I also realized how healing and empowering the community harvest is. Again, bubbles of joy from a deep well of gratitude.

It’s not just about the apples … although I must admit, the one I ate last night upon returning home has forever changed my attitude about Red Delicious apples. Normally, I find that a completely ironic name! Not this time. Sweet, crisp, fresh, no wax, no spray … and with that extra magical something I sensed while picking:

apples 2

We can heal our planet and our communities. Indeed, we already are. I encourage people to check out the http://fallingfruit.org website and see what gleaning opportunities exist in your area. What a treat! Free food. An evening in Nature. A gathering of friends.

Blessings abound!