Agriculture

One Hundred Years

A hundred years ago, it was the modern fashion in the US Okanogan to train two trunks from every apple root, at a narrow angle to each other. The practice died out and was eventually replaced with dwarf trees, and all those old trees are gone now. What a delight to find one on Secwepemc Territory, at Splatsin, at the extreme northern end of the Canadian Okanagan. The native man who planted this tree used to cross the border to work on the orchards of Washington, and he brought this pie apple tree home for his family, and trained it in the American style. What a thrill to work with so much history. Here it is, on my second pruning year. It’s starting to be full of light again.

Look how it blossoms on first year wood (a rarity for apple trees), on long, hanging nets of twigs.

I give thanks to the Secwepemc of Splatsin for keeping these connections alive, ones that everyone else has pushed down with a bulldozer. What an honour to be trusted to work with these generations of life, and to pass them on.

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