Sunday, April 26, 2009

Petals Like Snowflakes

We are blessed to have many fruit trees on our farm (we're fruit rich!), but I refer to the old, yet still graceful, Stayman Winesap tree as "the" apple tree. The smaller, younger apple trees don't make me swoon when in full bloom. They don't hold a special place in my heart--and won't live in my memory the rest of my life.

The last two nights, I stood on the porch in the dark and took in several deep breaths of apple blossom perfume.

Our peach tree blooms before the apple tree and holds its cotton candy-pink blossoms for ten days to almost two weeks. Not so with apple trees. It is a brief, gorgeous show that lasts 48 hours, at most, before petals begin to fall, like large snowflakes slowly tumbling down from the tree to the ground.

This morning I awoke to see that petal drop had begun.
Scattered about the new green grass are petals lying everywhere, from afar they resemble large snowflakes that refuse to melt as they lay next to fresh yellow dandelions.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Apple Tree Splendor

This is my humble paean to the hundred-year-old Stayman Winesap apple tree that graces our farm, and thus, our lives.

We moved to our farm in Check (northeastern Floyd County) in October 2000. We've been privileged to witness the tree's blossoming to full glorious bloom nine times.

I wait for this day and when it arrives, it nearly moves me to tears.

I stand close to the end of a low-hanging branch and hold the tip so I may examine the delicate petals of the pale pink blossoms. I sit or lay underneath and gaze up, taking in its full splendor. I desire to be one with the tree when it is in full bloom.

I walk to the top of our long driveway/hill away from the tree, so that I can slowly walk back down and fully appreciate the beauty and magnitude of this stately tree.

Last Spring, the tree was covered with blossoms but one-quarter of the branches did not fully leaf out and held only a smattering of new leaves. Bare charcoal branch were revealed, like it was still winter.

I sought answers to my questions about the health of the tree, but failed to search hard or soon enough. I'm ashamed to say the tree's health became a back-burner issue, I had too much going on and other issues were deemed more pressing. It was summer before we realized that something was truly wrong with the tree.

It was autumn before I thought to track down Tom Burford, an apple tree expert in Virginia. He suggested that we take a leaf sample to a chem lab for analysis, but by then the leaves had fallen and it was too late.

This spring we observed the blossoms developing, but from a glance we could see that those bare branches of last year would not bear blossoms and were dying or dead. As sad as that was, I was thankful that the rest of the limbs appeared healthy.

Today is the day. The one I've looked forward to every spring since moving here: the apple tree is in full majestic bloom. And though, this year, every limb is not covered with blossoms, the tree lives on. The humming buzz of happy bees is heard from the front porch. I hope that you have the chance to experience an apple tree in full bloom, it's a moment to hold in your heart and memory. (Bottom photo was taken in 2008.)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Country Friday in Floyd

Friday late afternoon I checked online for a credit card payment. Yes, I had paid it. I had a vague memory and wanted to double-check, but something else caught my eye. We have two Chase cards, one with a small balance and the other with a zero balance. Except the second card didn't show a zero balance. It showed that we owed $2,187.40 and six purchases had been made to in the last four weeks. What?!? We didn't make any purchases. The payment was due that day.

I called Chase and explained that we didn't make any purchases. To their credit, they were very good about it. I was concerned about making a payment so we wouldn't have a late pay on our account while this was sorted out; but they said to not worry, they would remove all charges. That was a huge relief. They cancelled the card and issued a new one. They would launch an investigation.

Wait, it gets better.

At 7 p.m. our live-in resident announced, "Hey Lisa, there are two cops outside on the porch." Scott, back from work, had retreated to the basement to practice until dinner was ready. I hollered for him to come upstairs ASAP. He didn't hear me.

Oldest son walks in the door. He asks why the Deputies are here. I'm just thankful it doesn't involve him since he's asking, which I'm not proud to say was my first thought. I tell him that I have no flippin' idea.

I stood there, surrounded by my sons, and opened the door to Floyd County's finest. They stated, with one hand on their guns, "We're responding to a 911 call from your house."

I must have had a stupid, blank look on my face when they tell me they received a 911 call from our house. I can imagine what they must have thought. My face was completely flushed--bright pink--I had soaked in a hot bath for my left knee and hip (not to mention the credit card fraud!) and had been out for 10 minutes. I was wearing my pink bathrobe over sweats and a t-shirt.

The Deputies say that they tried to call back, but couldn't get through--hence why they showed up. I explain that our phones weren't working (left uncharged for too long), so they couldn't get through. I apologize for wasting their time and tell them that I have no idea how or why they received a call from our house. I don't know if they believed me, but we didn't make a call. It's a mystery.

The Deputies ask if we're okay. I nod and tell them "We're all fine." Though I must look half-loony standing there in my pink bathrobe with a dumb look on my magenta face at 7 p.m. on Friday night, they must have ascertained that 'all was okay' because they turn around and leave.

Thank heavens.

At which point, I go downstairs and tell my husband what he just missed and decide I'd enjoy a barley pop with my dinner.

This has not been your average, run of the mill month: a car wreck, a birthday, a used car purchase, credit card fraud and Deputies showing up for a 911 call we didn't make.

And people that don't live in the country tend to think country livin' is slow and simple. Maybe even dull at times. Ha!

It can be. It has potential.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Starting again... and again!

This is embarrassing. Last Friday I ran into a friend from my mortgage broker life (it surfaces as I bump into former clients/friends). He asked when I would write again, pointing out my last post--three months ago--with Shock! Outrage! No, neither.

Then, today, at a food order pick-up, less than a week later, one of my food group 'co-workers' told me she was #7. Two of my now seven (SEVEN!) fans have spoken! Seven is lucky, right?! It is for me.

Naturally, I heroically thought, "I must start AGAIN!" Because, heck, starting is what I do best. Follow-through not so much, but if you need something, anything, started then I'm your gal. I can start anything. I may not finish, but does that matter?! Well, yes, sometimes it does.

I should start a business where I do nothing but start various projects for people. I get it up and rolling and then my client takes over. What a great idea. I'm full of them (ask Scott--he can vouch for me).

Lest you think I never finish a darn thing and my life is endless incompletes, this gal writes a two-page Christmas letter every year and has for nearly a dozen years. Wow! How's that for an accomplishment?! How does she do it? It isn't easy, people. It must certainly count.

And while it isn't finished (this is a good thing), I'm making good on the 'follow-through' of being married. I could add, "It isn't easy, people. It must certainly count." But that's not true, it's way easier than it looks. [He could say the same about me. But he hasn't. Today on Facebook (where I've been since January--I'll be your friend!), he wrote that I was the Best Wife Ever. He's right. What a guy.]

I've had at least lucky #7 different types of careers, er, jobs in my vast work experience. Finished every job but my current one. I've worked retail, in restaurants, for an airline, for law firms, doing personal care and another one that escapes me, but I'm sure it was divine.

I'm not finished raising sons though I've (we've) made great progress, which is one of my favorite things to say.

Isn't all of life a work in-progress? If you're making 'great progress', you must be moving forward and doing okay, even if you haven't finished. Don't you agree?

I've rationalized that not finishing something isn't so awful. (I'm pretty good at rationalizing, too.) And you can't ever finish if you don't ever start. So here's to starting again... and again. C'est finis.
[Photo courtesy of Creative Commons.]