I come into the peace of wild things


When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

The Peace of Wild Things
By Wendell Berry b. 1934 Wendell Berry


Will you come forth tonight, my love, to meet me in the forest in the pale moon light? The moon-flowers will be blooming, and scenting the air. Remember last month when we met there, under the full fish moon? We spent the night together and fell asleep, and I awoke alone with dew in my hair.

via Daily Prompt: Forest


Johnny was a tree person

John Chapman (AKA Johnny Appleseed) was not a character in a children’s story. He was a real flesh and blood human being. With gentle hands and calloused feet he traversed the great wilderness many times. He planted apple tree nurseries and shared his gentle version of the Christian Gospel wherever he went.

Johnny, I wish I could have met you. Perhaps we could have rambled together for a while? I would have loved to listen to your stories of adventure. Like the time you got caught in a blizzard, could not go backward nor forward on the trail, then took shelter in a giant root-wad, and noticed it was already occupied by a giant she-wolf. Johnny spent the next few weeks living in that root-wad with that she-wolf, subsisting on butternuts together until the waist high snow started to melt. Obviously, this gentle man was also an incredibly tough man.

In honor of Johnny’s memory I am offering scions for grafting from an authentic Johnny Appleseed tree for $5.00 per scions, plus shipping. Having this tree in your backyard or orchard is sure to be the topic of conversation and would be a great teaching tool for children.

The Chain


The chain has often been broken. Children grow up and leave the farm and move in to the cities. They grow old and sometimes tell the grand kids about the farm life they used to live. The old ways of doing things. The old apple varieties. Some young people could not care less. But sometimes even they grow up and begin looking back, perhaps inwardly, remembering the stories told to them. They begin to yearn for some land of their own, of reconnecting with the land and with their collective past.

Some people are disgusted with the selections offered by the supermarkets. Varieties that ship well, that store well under Controlled Atmospheric Conditions, that are grown without much regard to nutrition, wholesomeness, or regard to food miles.

Others are seeking new flavor sensations. Sometimes referred to as “foodies”, they share their disappointment with the above group for diversity of food but for different reasons. Have you ever experienced the cherry twizzler taste of a Sweet 16 apple? Or the pineapple rush of a Pitmaston Pineapple apple? Of course not, at least not from your local big box grocery store.

There are others that fall somewhere in to the groups of homesteaders, survivalists, permaculturists, and other types of strategists that seek to make the apple a part of their over all plan of living. If you are going to plant apple trees on to your property why would you plant the same big 3 or big 5 varieties found in the big box grocery stores? Why not diversify?

Heritage apple varieties can play a part in all of the above. They were promoted and grown before the widespread use of sprays and therefore have some resistance to common apple pests. Many of the apple varieties developed in the 20th century are extremely susceptible to various pests because the attitude was “Just spray them more often.”. The apple is frequently listed in the top 10 list of poisonous fruit. Some years they are the #1 fruit for having residual poisons
on them. The only way to be assured that you are eating the most wholesome apple fruit possible is to 1) Grow your own, or 2) Buy from a grower that you know about and accept their growing standards.

In growing your own fruit trees (or supporting a local grower) you are:
1 Sequestering carbon that is taken up in to the wood and fruit of the tree
2 Providing a valuable nectar and pollen source for both domestic and wild bees
3 Providing yourself and family with wholesome food
4 Perpetuating valuable and diverse apple DNA to future generations

Don’t let the chain be broken during your watch. Add a new link to the chain. Plant a heritage
apple tree. Or two. Or 50.

An interesting analogy – Trees are like people

~ by Andrew Tash Not too long ago, I awoke from a dream of an orchard and it felt like I’d been there before. And in that dream-awareness that comes when the narrator starts talking, I realized that I had been. I’d seen these as mere twigs poking out from their root stocks. But now […]

via The Arborist’s Long View — Practicing Families

Apples of Uncommon Character

Apples are the creator’s gift to man and beast.

Rocky Mountain Land Library

Thanks to over a thousand Kickstarter supporters, we’ll be completing renovation on Buffalo Peaks Ranch’s Cooks House (pictured above, in the center of Jay Halsey’s photo) next spring. Besides providing lodgings and the ranch’s first library, the Cooks House will also have a kitchen — one large enough for weekend cooking classes!

As we have gathered books over the past 30 years, food has always been an important theme for the Rocky Mountain Land Library. Food is such a vibrant intersection between people and the land.

We hope to highlight some of those favorite food books over the winter. With a nip in our autumn days, we thought we should begin with apples. Henry David Thoreau said it well in his essay Wild Apples: “It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of man.” Here’s one we love:


Rowan Jacobsen is one of…

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Grafting: Before and After Pictures


2014 May 10: Top working on to wild stock. Two Dabinett and one Cortland


2017: Considering the 3 inch girth of the original rootstock I should have grafted two or three scions on to each of the three trunks for faster healing.



2016: All Kingston Black scions grafted on to wild stock. 4 scions on the bigger trunk, two on the smaller limb.

2016 June: Beginning to grow (main trunk).


2016 June: Beginning to grow (smaller side limb).

2016 June 26: Details of the use of wood screws to prevent blow-out on the main trunk.


2016 June 26: Details of the use of wood screws to prevent blow-out on the smaller limb.


2017 November: Explosion of growth in 2017.


2017 November, details of the graft on to the main trunk.


2017 November, details of the graft on the smaller limb.




May 2015. Two Dabinett scions on a 2 inch wild rootstock.



June 2016


A Standing Ground


However just and anxious I have been
I will stop and step back
from the crowd of those who may agree
with what I say, and be apart.
There is no earthly promise of life or peace
but where the roots branch and weave
their patient silent passages in the dark;
uprooted, I have been furious without an aim.
I am not bound for any public place,
but for ground of my own
where I have planted vines and orchard trees,
and in the heat of the day climbed up
into the healing shadow of the woods.
Better than any argument is to rise at dawn
and pick dew-wet berries in a cup.

“A Standing Ground” by Wendell Berry