Monday, September 17, 2012

Hidden Treasures

Our land has been undergoing a lot of changes in the past few months. If you know us, or have been following my blog for quite a while, you know about the terrible flood we had last year. In a sense, we are still battling the flood as we now prepare our land for a drastic change. We have already overhauled it in preparation to move our house, an extreme measure that seems inevitable, given the high probability of our flooding repeating. I have probably mentioned before how much I loved our driveway. It's like a nature trail winding through the trees, beautiful and wild. Only now we have built a new driveway. It is wide and straight. Civilized. I do like it, but I can't help but be sad about the old one. It was damaged in the flood and it is on lower ground than the new one, plus the new one runs directly to our new location, so it makes a lot more sense.

A few days ago I was driving home from somewhere with the boys. (As usual, I can't remember where. Maybe it was the same trip where I was attacked by the snake. Who knows?) Anyway, as we drove down our old winding driveway, I slowed right down and took a good look at the trees beside me. Many of them were dead, which surprised me. I hadn't realized so many of our bigger trees had died and I was concerned about disease. But then I realized it must have been the flood that killed them. For months the forest floor was underwater, and I guess the trees were affected badly. I continued scanning the forest as I drove around the corner and then I spotted something I never expected in a million years. A good twenty or thirty feet into the trees stood an apple tree. It was sparse and pathetic, like a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. But there were apples on it, and they looked quite big. I can tell you that around here, lots of people have apple trees, but they do not just grow in the wild. People plant them on purpose. I could not imagine how this tree got in the bushes like that. So I took some pictures.

Can you see them in there? Hiding in plain sight, in the middle of the photo. I was so shocked. I showed them to Mike later that day and he went right in and picked them. He came out covered in burs, but he was holding seven apples. (I am not sure, but I think he picked every apple on the tree, if that gives you an idea how pathetic it is.) He tasted one, though I have not yet. He said it tasted like a goodland apple. Apparently those are really delicious and are great for baking with or even eating by themselves. 

I was wrong. He picked eight. You can see there are several bite marks on them from animals or bugs, but maybe next year we will get to them before the wildlife does!

This one is the biggest one of the bunch, and also the only one without any bites or marks on it. I wonder if next year we might even get a pie out of it. Funny thing is, I have wanted an apple tree here for a long time, and I have never noticed this tree before. Even funnier, Mike said it had a fence around the bottom of it, so obviously it was planted deliberately. But why in the middle of the trees like that? It could have been planted a long time ago, but if that were the case, you'd think it would be bigger by now. Either way, I am thankful for our apple tree. This land has always been beautiful to me, since we bought it, but I have loved finding the little treasures that I did not originally know were here. The vast and beautiful sand, for one thing, is amazing. The endless water supply has been a blessing, even though last year it kind of crossed the line into curse territory. I remember the day I found a wild cactus growing on our ridge. I had no idea they would grow wild here, in Manitoba! I was thrilled. We have an abundant supply of saskatoon berries when they are in season, and they make the most amazing pies. We also have a ton of wild raspberries, which we have not taken advantage of because they are well guarded by a sea of poison ivy! (But one of these days we will find a way to breach it and pick a whole bunch instead of just the few that are in arms reach of the path.) And now we have our very own apple tree. It may sound silly, but that day it felt like the tree was just a little gift from God. So I guess this is a post about counting your blessings. Sometimes they are all around us and if we just open our eyes, we will see them everywhere.

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