Monday, May 19, 2014

The Crooked Apple

Our infamous crooked apple tree is the namesake of our homestead!I'm sure you're scratching your head at the moment - why is your apple crooked and what makes it so special? Well, I'm actually talking about an apple tree (see left), and it how it became the namesake of our home.

When Matt and I were searching for our second home - the one we knew our kids would spend their childhood years in - our main priority was the school district. I had my heart set on a specific elementary where I'd done field work while I was in school to be a teacher, and I was absolutely determined to have my kids attend school there someday. When this house came up in our multiple searches, we always gave it a big "nahhh" because of its kitchen. That's a story for another day, and something that we've since renovated, but we nearly passed this place over entirely because of that. One afternoon, we were touring another house that was for sale, and Matt suggested that we swing by and check this one out since we were close. I was hesitant, but agreed. The kitchen was as horrible as we feared, but the view out the back door - well, it took our breath away!

There, right in the middle of a busy suburb, was a personal rural escape. We had our very own acre covered in trees and nature - it was gorgeous, and we immediately wanted our kids to grow up on such a beautiful location. It just so happened to be down the street from the school I coveted, so everything fell into place perfectly.

Our first summer here, we fit this house so well. It's gotten a bit tight with two extra kids, but I'm learning that it's kind of wonderful, actually. It forces us to simplify, be closer together, and spend more time outdoors, which are all things we value. With all of this land and nature at our disposal, I was instantly desperate for gardens when we moved in. It was too late in the season that year, so I decided to do some research to be prepared for the following year.

It started with a very old gardening book that I desperately wish I could remember the name of now! This particular book had some really great quotes and tips from "the old days" that I've stored away through the years. One of the first tips was to find a prominent feature on your property to name your homestead after so people would recognize it. Our hilariously crooked apple tree was the obvious answer!

This little apple tree is a source of laughter for us (why is it SO crooked?!), but we really love it! It makes our property kind of quirky, and because of the way it leans, it's at a perfect height for little ones to pick apples to eat (and they do every summer! at least until the bees move in and take ownership of the apples themselves), and also for all of the deer in our area to walk up and snack on it. There have been many sleepy mornings where we sit with our cup of coffee and watch the deer have their breakfast at the apple tree - usually full families with babies in tow. They've even appeared while we're in the back having an evening fire, and we love to sit and watch and take pictures.

So The Crooked Apple is a singular tree, but it's also the namesake of our homestead. It's kind of generous to call this a homestead, but I love to think of it that way, and I hope to grow closer to a homesteading way of life as the years go by. We have a lot of amazing perks on this property! Check it out:

The Crooked Apple Specs:
  • Just shy of an acre (I believe our lot is .95 acres - so close!)
  • Our Home is a cozy brick ranch with 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and modest living spaces, built in 1953. We've painted every room, and completely renovated the kitchen.
  • This plot of land has a sprawling history, dating back to the 1700's on our deed. This land was used as farm land for the majority of its life, and there were other dwellings here through the years. There have been multiple owners of this plot named Henry - something I find fitting since that's one of our children's names!
  • The back of our lot is wooded with a large pond at the back of it - it is gorgeous, especially in Autumn.
  • We have all kinds of wildlife here! Most often spotted: deer, squirrels, birds of all kinds (we often see Robins, Sparrows, Blue Jays, Crows, Woodpeckers, Finches, and many more!), bunnies, chipmunks, geese, ducks, and bats. We occasionally spot a fox or skunk (we also smell the later quite often), and we have a resident groundhog that lives beneath one of our backyard sheds. We also have blue herons that visit our pond from time to time - they are fascinating to watch!
  • Our backyard has a build-in fire-pit/patio combination that we use all the time! My kids adore collecting firewood and kindling, and they're both crazy about helping start the fire and keep it going.
  • We also have a large cedar play set for our boys (it has a fort, slide, rock wall, swings, and a "lemonade stand" bench with an awning), a large (but old and dated) pool and deck, lighted horse shoe pits, a sandbox, and a mini driving range that consists of a tee box near our patio, and a hole at the back of our lot, near the woods.
  • We have two raised garden beds we use for veggies, a separate in-ground herb garden, and a few fruits in our landscaping (blueberries, strawberries, black berries). And of course, a crooked apple tree!
The beauty on our property is limitless, and with each season I am once again in awe. There are so many times when I just sit among all of the beauty and thank God that we ended up here. Don't you just feel so at home when you're surrounded by trees, breeze, and singing birds? 

Check out some more of the beauty here:

This was our veggie garden in 2013

The woods on our lot are gorgeous in the fall! This was taken in 2011.

Because I want to document and share more of this natural beauty we've been blessed with, I'm going to share some tours of The Crooked Apple as things change and I notice new gorgeous things pop up. I hope you love seeing it all as much as I do!

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