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It’s apple blossom time in my part of the world. One of the most beautiful times of the year.

When I was a kid, the folks had an apple orchard—not really an orchard but four or five trees that stood on a little side hill across the road from the farm house. If I remember correctly we had Whitney Crabs, Wealthies, Northwestern Greenings and Duchess apples. Varieties that we don’t hear much about these days.

How beautiful the trees were in late May.

For some reason, the crab apple trees had the most beautiful blossoms (see the photo above). Their apples were small—my mother made apple pickles out of them. The other varieties I remember as being mostly good for apple pies and apple sauce.

Tart would be too polite a term to describe how sour some of them were—at least to a kid who took a big bite out of one of them.

There is one old apple tree remaining on what had been the first farmstead on the farm we own now—going back to 1867 when the first settler, Tom Stewart arrived. He likely brought with him some apple trees from his home state of New York, always known for its fine orchards. The tree is mostly dead, but what branches remains are well over a hundred years old. I have no idea its variety. There are a few blossoms every other year.

When I was in high school at Wild Rose, the theme of our junior prom was, “I’ll be with you in apple blossom time.” So many years later, it’s once more apple blossom time.

THE OLD-TIMER SAYS: Take time to appreciate the beauty of apple blossoms.

Jerry Apps, born and raised on a Wisconsin farm, is Professor Emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the author of more than 35 books, many of them on rural history and country life. For further information about Jerry's writing and TV work go to www.jerryapps.com. 

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