The old orchard

On the south side of our farmhouse is a small patch of grass, which leads into the old orchard. There were seven old, gnarly trees when we moved here, and there's only one tree left. Harsh winters, especially ice storms, took their toll on these big fruit and nut trees. In January 2012, huge limbs from the walnut tree scored a direct hit on the apple tree that stood just outside the pasture fence, knocking it to the ground. There's only one apple tree left now, it's a beautiful yellow Pippin that still sets fruit each year (although the crop dwindles each year). I love how the tree frames the original pump house for the well, leaning protectively over it, making a beautiful photo whatever the season.

In the spring, the birds build nests in the tree, and in the surrounding cedar trees. We occasionally see deer grazing on the lush grass. I always had plans to fence it in and let my horse graze there; it would have been a perfect night paddock, with the added bonus of bringing a horse right up near the house. I would have loved that! We never got around to fencing the orchard before the last horse moved on. But it's something I think about each time I walk outside in the early morning with my coffee mug in my hand, enjoying the view from the porch. The orchard is quiet and serene, and I can see my mare standing at the gate in my imagination, waiting to say hello.

This is the orchard, taken during last winter's snow. It will always be one of my favorite views on the farm.

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