It appears as though the Schiller orchard’s going to change hands after 87 years. That’s an awfully long time to own something! My dad cleared the land in 1930 and planted the first crop, which would’ve been cantaloupes, water melons, tomatoes and cucumbers.
Eventually he moved into a variety of fruit trees, like peaches and prunes, and finally it was all apples. When I grew up I had my favourite gnarly old trees in the orchard, and then Luke and Nicky did, too. It was sad when every single one of them was pulled out and burned in place.
That was because Washington State grows such huge amounts of apples they can dump them on us for pennies, and so apples weren’t worth growing. Eleven years ago mom took advantage of a government re-plant program and had the whole place re-planted in peaches, prunes, cherries and nectarines. Back to the old.
It’s now a very high-producing young orchard, and has been brought into excellent shape by our neighbour Teunis who leased it from mom. We’ve known him all our lives and of course he knew dad well. So he was so surprised and thrilled when a red delicious apple tree poked up amongst all of the newly-planted trees.
Last year he said it had five apples, but this year he gave mom a box of probably 30 of them. He said be sure to tell the new owner he can’t tear out that brave tree. Teunis pointed out the heat of the ashes as they raked them over the Earth. I said well that’s dad for sure! He was quite tenacious when you think of the effort to clear that raw land.
But we have to move on and face reality given mom’s 92 and neither Freddie nor I want to become farmers at our ages. Certainly none of the kids want to do it, so it’s going to be sold to someone who wants to farm and that’s what dad would want.
Here’s another surprise. Ira turned out to be Iris. You’ll recall I got two “male” kittens, yet one stayed kind of small and I wondered what the heck. Then I finally got wise and checked their privates and sure enough, I have brother and sister cats. George is very affectionate and adorable, but Iris is a bit standoffish.
Some nights both of them sleep with Louie and me, and some nights they’re off someplace else. They’re almost like Siamese twins in that they do everything together. It’s so cute when they’re both in the litter box peeing in tandem.
Tonight’s Halloween and I’m going to have to turn off most of the lights and hide as I didn’t buy any chocolate bars. I just can’t trust myself with 96 tiny chocolate bars, knowing I often don’t get any children at all. Louie’ll bark and bark as they’re knocking, and I’ll just have to mentally absent myself from the whole scene.
Anyway that shouldn’t be hard as I’m mentally absent a lot of the time anyway. I’m mostly in some richly-detailed fantasy world and quite happy there. So the reality and stress of the orchard negotiations have been wearing and annoying. However it appears to finally be settled.