When I was grown I lived at the old home place a few years with my daughter when she was about five. The house had been remodeled and a bathroom added (yep I have made the long walk to an outhouse many a time). The apple tree was still there but years of neglect had taken its toll. My daughter was able to eat some of the bounty but I dared not to let her climb too far into its fragile limbs. Due to circumstances beyond my control we were forced to move from the old home place and it fell into decay. Someday I might write more about that story but not today.
When I moved into the property I currently live in, I was thrilled to find an old apple tree in the front yard. It is an old fashioned Milam. I was told the past owners brought it with them from their old home place when they were forced to sell to the government for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. So many people were displaced and scattered to the wind when they were forced to relocate. It was a devastating time for the people who occupied the area that is now the National Park. Most were paid a small pittance and moved with a heavy heart to the areas surrounding the now established Park boundaries.The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the only Park in America that was established through the forced removal of the original property owners. This left many people bitter. As the years passed the wisdom of the Parks creation has proved to be the saving grace for the treasured Smokies range. I shudder to think what our area would look like now if the Park had not been established. But back to topic, apples. My Grandfather Rayfield had an apple orchard in the area of the Park that is called Greenbrier. Most of my moms family came from that particular area. I have many relatives in the small cemeteries scattered through the long forgotten communities.
Anyway, the tree that is currently in front of my house was almost dead when I moved in twenty two years ago. It had a few small apples and I really thought it was a goner. The following winter I placed my bird feeders in the tree and around the base on shepherds hooks. The next spring the tree was full of blossoms and an amazing harvest of apples soon appeared. Nothing like a little help from bird poop to snap a tree back to life! So I have left the feeding stations at that location and God bless her she is still thriving to spite a huge hollow area in her trunk and being riddled with wood pecker holes. For some reason, maybe all the heavy rain, the tree is so full of apples that limbs are breaking and falling to the ground.
|Old Fashioned Milam Apple Tree in my front yard|