Henry David Thoreau It is rare that the summer lets an apple go without streaking or spotting it on some part of its sphere. It will have some red stains, commemorating the mornings and evenings it has witnessed; some dark and rusty blotches, in memory of the clouds and foggy, mildewy days that have passed over it; and a spacious field of green reflecting the general face of Nature, — green even as the fields; or a yellow ground, which implies a milder flavor, — yellow as the harvest, or russet as the hills.
Apples, these I mean, unspeakably fair. . . . Yet not so rare but that the homeliest may have a share. Painted by the frosts, some a uniform clear bright yellow, or red, or crimson, as if their spheres had regularly revolved, and enjoyed the influence of the sun on all sides alike, — some with the faintest pink blush imaginable, — some brindled with deep red streaks like a cow, or with hundreds of fine blood-red rays running regularly from the stem-dimple to the blossom-end, like meridional lines, on a straw-colored ground,— some touched with a greenish rust, like a fine lichen, here and there, with crimson blotches or eyes more or less confluent and fiery when wet, — and others gnarly, and freckled or peppered all over on the stem side with fine crimson spots on a white ground, as if accidentally sprinkled from the brush of Him who paints the autumn leaves. Others, again, are sometimes red inside, perfused with a beautiful blush, fairy food, too beautiful to eat, — apple of the Hesperides, apple of the evening sky! But like shells and pebbles on the sea-shore, they must be seen as they sparkle amid the withering leaves in some dell in the woods, in the autumnal air, or as they lie in the wet grass, and not when they have wilted and faded in the house." Ralph Waldo Emerson
The wonder is that we can see these trees and not wonder more.
Thomas Jefferson, Poplar Forest, Letter to Charles W. Peale, Aug 20, 1811
I have often thought that if heaven had given me choice of my position and calling, it should have been on a rich spot of earth, well watered, and near a good market for the production of the garden.No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, and no culture comparable to that of the garden. . . .
But though an old man, I am but a young gardener.
Thomas A. Ashby, The Valley Campaigns (1914)
The country around Markham is one of great natural beauty, of fertility, and healthfulness.The foothills of the Blue Ridge surround Markham on all sides, dividing the landscape into valleys and elevated plateaus, covered with forests, grazing fields, and rich farm lands.
Henry David Thoreau, Wild Apples (1862) (excerpts):
It is remarkable how closely the history of the Apple tree is connected with that of man….The apple tree has been celebrated by the Hebrews, Greeks, Romans, and Scandinavians. Some have thought that the first human pair were tempted by its fruit. Goddesses are fabled to have contended for it, dragons were set to watch it, and heroes were employed to pluck it….The tree is mentioned in at least three places in the Old Testament, and its fruit in two or three more. Solomon sings, "As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons." And again, "Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples."
The apple tree is also mentioned by Homer and Herodotus. Ulysses saw in the glorious garden of Alcinous "pears and pomegranates and apple trees bearing beautiful fruit." And according to Homer, apples were among the fruits which Tantalus could not pluck, the wind ever blowing their boughs away from him. Theophrastus knew and described the apple tree as a botanist….According to the prose Edda, "Iduna keeps in a box the apples which the gods, when they feel old age approaching, have only to taste of to become young again. It is in this manner that they will be kept in renovated youth.
The flowers of the apple are perhaps the most beautiful of any tree, so copious and so delicious to both sight and scent. The walker is frequently tempted to turn and linger near some more than usually handsome one, whose blossoms are two thirds expanded. How superior it is in these respects to the pear, whose blossoms are neither colored nor fragrant!
Early apples begin to be ripe about the first of August; but I think that none of them are so good to eat as some to smell. One is worth more to scent your handkerchief with than any perfume which they sell in the shops.
Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits.
The apple tree may be considered a symbol of peace no less than the olive.
by John Burroughs (excerpts)
Not a little of the sunshine of our northern winters is surely wrapped up in the apple. How could we winter over without it! Especially to those whose soil of life is inclined to be a little clayey and heavy, is the apple a winter necessity. It is the natural antidote of most of the ills the flesh is heir to. Full of vegetable acids and aromatics, qualities which act as refrigerants and antiseptics, what an enemy it is to jaundice, indigestion, torpidity of liver, etc. It is a gentle spur and tonic to the whole biliary system. Then I have read that it has been found by analysis to contain more phosphorus than any other vegetable. This makes it the proper food of the scholar and the sedentary man; it feeds his brain and it stimulates his liver. Nor is this all. Besides its hygienic properties, the apple is full of sugar and mucilage, which make it highly nutritious. It is said, "The operators of Cornwall, England, consider ripe apples nearly as nourishing as bread, and far more so than potatoes.