Grandfather Apple

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Meri eats at least one apple every day. Sometimes, she will eat five. It’s not unusual for all the kids to have apples and peanut butter for lunch. If you do the math, that makes 4-6 apples a day on the low end, and 10+ on the high end.

Every day.

You have all heard the saying: “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, and I believe it must hold some truth. The more fruits and veggies my kids eat, the healthier they are. And I don’t mean fruit servings in a fruit snack or energy bar, or a drink, but an actual piece of fruit. One of the kids friends referred to apples as “nature’s toothbrush” once, in telling a story about someone that didn’t use a regular toothbrush and how “…he wasn’t very wise”. Whether apples are good dental care stand-ins or not, they are definitely part of our family’s diet, and the number of apples we require is almost embarrassing.

You may remember our Farm Day post, where we spread woodchips around our yard, and made plans for our urban farm. Part of our strategy included at least two apple trees, so that we could offset our apple purchases with home grown fruit.

Last week we were the happy recipients of a free espalier* apple tree, which is actually two trees in one, grafted together. One part of the tree is “Melrose“, and the other part is a wild apple from Kazakhstan! I have been doing some reading on the wild apple forests of Central Asia, and everything about it is fascinating.

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We may have to do an apple research project for school!

Here are some things I learned over the last few days:

“The Latin noun malus can mean either “apple” or “evil,” which is probably why the “tree of knowledge of good and evil” in the Garden of Eden is often depicted as an apple tree, even though the biblical book of Genesis does not say what sort of fruit tree it is.” via National Geographic

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The wild apples of Central Asia are the grandfathers of all apples, worldwide, and every apple you see at the local grocery store is one of those grandbaby apples. {Also, the apple forests are in danger of disappearing due to pests, climate change, and deforestation.}

The Kazakhstan apple graft came from a retired CDP {customs and border patrol} agent, who seized it from a traveling scientist/professor. You can read more of that story here.

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*es·pal·ier
iˈspalyər,-yā/
noun
  1. 1.
    a fruit tree or ornamental shrub whose branches are trained to grow flat against a wall, supported on a lattice or a framework of stakes.

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We brought our tree home, and planted it in the front side yard, where it will get plenty of sun. When spring comes, and the tree starts to wake up and grow, we will continue training the branches by building a support system for them. Eventually it should look like a mature dwarf apple tree, just flattened out.  My hope is that is will be the friendliest fence, providing snacks for the neighbor girls, as well as a bit of privacy for us.

One small piece of our farm objective has been implemented. On to finding a Salt Cedar!

Avoiding cleaning for Thanksgiving,

Shelley

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