I know. But it's true.
We approached the outer rim of the pond with caution. Cattails grew in thick, heavy abundance for some 10 feet from the edge into the center. Red-winged blackbirds popped up from the vegetation in alarm, startled by our presence, so close to their nests. Red-winged blackbirds were among the first "new things" I experienced that first day. They were beautiful and playful, swooping like barn swallows, but staying near as though they were curious while at the same time welcoming.
The pond was a wreck. It was a good-sized pond, but it was so choked with water-plants and mud that it more resembled a bog. It would have be restored. We needed to be able to stock this pond with fish and use it for swimming in the high summer heat. It was daunting to consider the costs associated with this type of excavation, but we could see the potential in the investment: this humble pond was the first part of our sustainable plan.
We continued past the pond to a lush line of willow trees. Now, let me tell you, these willow trees were nothing like I've ever seen before. The adjective HUGE does not even touch a description of these elderly giants. They grew joyfully along the edge of a small wet-weather brook that divided our farm in half; top to bottom.
We spent a blood-pressure dropping, thoroughly enjoyable time exploring our little brook and then crossed to the uphill side and began the ascent up the wild-rose covered ravine.
That's where we discovered our own hidden apple orchard! The trees weren't very tall, as most fruit trees aren't, but their bases were thick and wide: indicative of advanced age and maturity. It was a warm September afternoon and the air up in that orchard was lightly scented with wild-rose and cider from the wind-fall, small reddish apples.
The trees were a thrill to find: more than 2 acres of God-given fruit! But like the pond, they were in need of some loving attention and care. In the ensuing few months, I read up on fruit tree restoration and we tackled our first patient: