Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Read's Apple Orchard remembered...

It's one of those wonderfully 
mysterious mornings 
here in the center of Indiana.

One of those mornings where you wonder 
just WHY you choose to live in this state.

It changes from ice and then back to rain several times
in a ten minute period.
The trees are iced over
so, of course, 
the wind is blowing briskly.
I was laying in bed this morning 
I am listening to the branches 
breaking off of the trees.

Why do I still live in Indiana?

Pure and simple.
My children,
So, here I am.

"Temptation" is completed and it has been framed.It is approximately the size of a record cover (remember those?), it is in oil and the cost is $350.  
It would make a great addition to anyone's home or business.

I have another painting on the verge of being completed.  

It has been rather complicated here of late to get art work done.  
I have been in a "real" job for the last month or so.
Getting back into the swing of holding down a job
and painting too has not been easy for me.
It is a stress issue for me.

This next painting coming down the line is of a grey wolf.  
He will be the first in my North American Animals Series.  
He has beautiful amber eyes.  
I am very excited to bring him to completion.

My Grandfather Read's tractor.
I got a call from my brother a few weeks ago 
asking that I come out to his place and take a few pictures.
He had been working on our Grandfather Read's John Deere tractor. 

To be honest, I was rather hesitant to go out to his place.  
You see, he lives at my (our) grandparent's old home place.  
still miss my grandparents keenly, at times.
Al and I decided to make a trip of it and drive out to 
Russiaville, together.

I grew up with two sets of wonderful Grandparents.
I was also blessed to have Great Grandparents 
for much of my childhood.

As the oldest grandchild
I got to spend a lot of time with
all of these people before my sister 
came along four years later.

When I was a child my mother's parents had an apple orchard.  
It was normal for me to be out in the orchard, 
even as a toddler.  I drank cider out of a bottle.  
They made me my own apple picking bag
so that I could feel like I was a part of the family business.

Those memories come back to me in my dreams, sometimes.  
Playing in the apple trees and the sun shining down through the leaves.
My Grandmother Read in her head scarf 
picking up apples from under the trees.
And in the background of those memories is my Grandfather 
and the "chug" of that tractor.  

My brother (Matt) has been working on this tractor for a while with his youngest son (Matt Jr).  I knew that I would cry, but I also knew how important it was to my brother to have pictures taken.  
He works on engines and enjoys painting cars.  
His artistry comes out in his abilities with things on wheels. 
He is very good at what he does.

My Grandparents bought this tractor sometime in the mid 1960s.  
I do not know if it was specifically for use in the orchard.  
My mom has told me in the past that my Grandfather wanted to have a business to fall back on outside of Crosley Radio (Delco).

My dad said that Grandpa Read had several acres of peach trees, 
but in the winter of 1963 it got to 26 below zero
and the trunks of the peach trees cracked.
He had apple trees then also and they survived.  I would say
that there were around 20 acres of apple trees when I was little.  

My dad had a few stories to tell me about the whole operation.  
I'll share those in a later blog.

Because....I really should be painting right now.

here are some pictures of how the tractor is right now:   

Nice work on the seat, Matt.

Looks complicated....

I was always afraid of this round thing
when I rode on the fender.

Yup, she's an "A".

Nice job, Matt.

So, I probably should go on with my story so that I can go paint.

I was okay (as okay as I can be) until Matt wanted to start it up
and take some pictures outside.
When I heard the chug, I lost it.
I miss those times.

I miss my Grandfather.  

I miss hearing that tractor and knowing that he is out there
working in the orchard.
My brother Matt.

So many memories wrapped up in steel, green paint, tires 
and the chug of  a "one lung-er".

My brother is carrying on with the making of John Deere memories.  
He is making them with one of his sons.

The original steering wheel.

OK, guys.
I have to go find some Kleenex and clean up.
Then...to the easel to PAINT!

Have a wonderful Indiana day.
Ice is over, rain has stopped....next snow!
Where or where is Spring?


  1. Sherry, I know EXACTLY how you feel every time I look at all the walnut trees Daddy planted 30 years before he passed away. He'd be SO excited to see just half a dozen nuts on them, & NOW, they're just covered every year!!! Now I need that box of Kleenex!!!

    Are the trees from the orchard gone or just overgrown? If they're just overgrown, with a couple of years of pruning, they could be productive again.

    1. Well Abs,
      All but a few are gone now. When we found out that my Grandfather had cancer my family decided to pull out the larger part of the trees. The few that remain are between the house and either Tami Bennett Davidson's place or her daughter's place.
      I wish that my Grandparents could know my grandchildren. I know that it would be a stretch age wise, but it would be glorious!

  2. While I really do not remember the farm when the sold apples etc I do have many fond memories of the place. Birthday parties, where we got ride Jane's horse. Visits when Mom and your grandma Mary chatted away. Always loved her and growing up in Russiaville and knowing the Raed's are things about my life that I will always treasure! Susan