apples, etc.

As far as I know , there is only one type of apple that will grow in most of southern California , in the Los Angeles basin , the Anna’s apple . When ripe it is sort of striped red and green . Most apples need a colder climate than we’ve got in Arcadia and around the area .

So , moving right along , here I am in Poland with a borrowed electric chain saw chopping branches from apple trees . There’s a cherry tree in the yard too , and a pear tree , but the apple trees dominate the property . They cover so much of the yard that I was asked to saw several  branches off to open things up to the sunlight .

How did I get myself into this situation , you might ask . Another fine mess you got me into ? Well ,  Ada’s sister has a friend who has apple trees in her garden and we were visiting there a couple of days ago . So , afterward :  ” Dan , if we could borrow a saw , would you …..?  “Poland 2016 art etc 085

I’m a sucker for gardening work . And there was a promised Polish beer or two in it for me , so why not ?  Luckily , as it happened , it was a good electric chain saw with a sharp blade and there was plenty of cord to get from tree to tree , and the weather was good , not too hot , not too cold ; just right like the three bears’  porridge , and a couple of beers were getting cold waiting for me for whenever I might finish the work . Me , Dan Sawyer . American lumberjack in Szczecin .

This was German land previously and a German house before what my generation calls ” the war ” . Mr. Fawlty : ” Don’t mention zee war ! “. These days , of course , no one knows for sure what war you’re talking about when ” the war ” is used , since the routine day to day , year to year , decade to decade has become one war and then another war and then another . Congress never seems to feel it necessary to declare war these days  . Presidents, and Eisenhower’s ” industrial-military complex ” of corporations and generals decide those things now , I guess .  The cost in blood and treasure is written off , I think , and is off the books . ” From another pocket ” , as a friend of mine used to say about outrageous school district expenditures . It all doesn’t really bother most of us in the USA too much . Now we’re in endless war ; but that’s a discussion  for another time . So , as Dostoyevsky wrote in The Gambler :

” To my story , however . ”

The ground was covered with apples . I’ve never seen so many apples , except perhaps once , up in Portland with my friends Joe and Susan . We all went, Ada and I and our friends ,  to an apple festival there with various types of apples on display . Maybe there were hundreds of varieties ; or maybe I exaggerate just a bit .Poland 2016 art etc 095

Anywho , moving right along , this dude named  Johnny Appleseed was up in Oregon , apparently , spreading seeds around the place a long time ago . You’ve heard of him ? Kind of a homeless vagrant with bags of apple seeds , tossing them out here and there as he wandered across the nation , presumably hitchhiking and sleeping under freeway bridges .  He may or may not have worn a tin pot on his head . Johnny Appleseed ( an alias ) wandered around the country tossing apple seeds out and about . Why ? It sounds to me like he may have had some mental issues , but that’s neither here nor there .

Why he didn’t make it down to southern California I don’t know . Too hot for him , maybe. He was from somewhere back east . Probably good that he didn’t show up here in the Southland , because he might have fell in blind and hopeless love with the mild climate. Good for sleeping outdoors . He might have staked out a corner of a canyon along the coast or maybe a little copse on a cliff somewhere and never left . Then where would the apple industry in America be today ? See my point ?  Evidently , the only apples available in that case would have been Anna’s , and Anna obviously was no J. Appleseed .

To my story , however .

To jump to the end : yes , I enjoyed my  Polish beer sitting in a newly aerated garden . The saw was a good one , but it weighed about 25 pounds , which is heavy for an electric chain saw . When the blade began to clog with debris I wasn’t able to loosen the bolt that held the plate that covered the chain-wheel , that trapped the debris , that lived in the house that Jack built .

On top of all of this , I’m supposed to go back in a few days to finish the job . I have a sneaky suspicion , however , that ‘the job’  will never be done . It’s a lot like the so-called War on Terror , or the fight to destroy ISIS , or , for that matter , Operation Enduring Freedom , or any of those gloriously but disingenuously -named military efforts of ours .

Tell me when we win , will ya ?  Give me an idea about victory . How will we recognize it ? Any markers to indicate victory ?  As Serling said : “ There is a signpost up ahead ……..”  I’m afraid that we are all now in the Twilight Zone , tweeting on our devices , building and padding our nests as best we can , and missing the BIG PICTURE .

I sipped my Tyskie , anyhow , as Ada’s sister and I discussed Donald Trump and the current Polish government that has neutered their equivalent of the Supreme Court and has commandeered the Polish media .  She was cracking , peeling , and eating freshly picked hazel nuts .  An old bird’s nest had been dislodged from one of the trees and Ada’s sis wanted me to take it to the grandchildren as a gift and it sat between us on a little table , a well-made nest , but dry and hard-looking , and evidently unconcerned about the state of the world . Sis then talked art to the house owner and so I , not speaking Polish , bugged out and took a walk over to a church next door to have a look , but the church  was locked up tight .

Rain began to fall a bit , and the skies darkened . Storm clouds gathered  , turned like they were celestial armies  maneuvering , positioning , preparing for a coming battle . Suddenly , unannounced , there was  some massive mobilization of  forces and a massive storm seemed about to strike  .

We made it to the tram to head back before the heavy rain began . I wondered if Johnny Appleseed might have been Polish , given all of these apple trees , or German , and I also wondered if the approaching heavy rain would hold off just long enough for me to get home . It did , after all . Sometimes things seem worse than they really are .


Filed under humor

19 responses to “apples, etc.

  1. really wonderful post – enjoyed it and I also wonder if Johnny Appleseed was polish of German – but do know he was one wise and giving person to want access to such a healthy and satisfying fruit! the power of the apple for immune fortification (from pectin to fiber to absorbable C and so much other cellular goodness —mmm and mmmm) and I see “Ana’s” apples in the store and have bought them a few times – but I usually rotate apples snd but what is on sale – but I think our least fav is a Soft Macintosh –
    lastly – we also have a self-pollinating apple tree – bought from Home Depot years ago – by the third year had enough to share with neigh is and my son learned how to make apple pie and it is one of the few desserts he can make –
    anyhow – enjoyed your writing with the twilight zone and “the war” references – peace

  2. I’ll label this a “Classic Dan” post and then tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love the way you veer into and bounce off subjects but somehow seem to have an actual point. I was ready to say “and lived in the house that Jack built” so that was perfect timing. Very nicely done!

  3. Good one… No exaggeration on the apples at the Apple Fest. Will you make it this year?

  4. I wonder if this type apple tree would grow in south Florida? I think we’re just too hot for much of anything lately. Great post tho, a terrific read!
    [and I agree with your friend – it is one endless war placed on top of the others).

  5. Reblogged this on No Facilities and commented:
    Dan (the other Dan) entertains those of us who follow him with stories like this and thoughts deep and profound. Well, stories like this, anyway. I always enjoy his writing, but sometimes, I feel like sharing it. I’m going to close comments here. If you feel the need, comment on Dan’s site.

  6. Dan, apples in CA come from WA! Enjoyed the SOC (stream of consciousness) post. Reminds me of the other Dan! Both of you do it so well, I read every word and love the jump around topics! Seems so natural, effortless! 💛 Christine

  7. The phrase, “But I digress” springs to mind, not that it bothered me. On the contrary, a good digression now and then is good for the reading soul, I think. Thoroughly enjoyed the post and love the fact that there seem to be more types of apples available, at least in the farmers markets, these days.


  8. That was a charming post.
    I have two apple trees, and they seem to always need trimming. A year goes quickly for apple trees…
    Anyway, I’ve read quite a bit about both Johnny Appleseed and apples, but this was a real treat 🙂

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