Repost from September, '07:
Tomorrow, September 26th, is the birthday of Johnny Appleseed!
John Chapman was the first to see the need to introduce these trees to the west. Did you know that it was a requirement in America at the time of westward expansion that homestead claims have an orchard? The apple tree isn't native to this country and had only come to the American eastern coast from Europe with the first settlers. The pioneers didn't have seed catalogues from which to order, of course. So, it was a mission of far-seeing charity that motivated Johnny.
It appears from early accounts of his life, that John Chapman was a welcome visitor wherever his westward wanderings brought him. Though he was quite an eccentric ~ a vegetarian who, more often than not, dressed in rags ~ he was known for being a gentle spirit, as well as a generous one, and apparently had more than one brush with heroism. He is known to have been an intermediary between settlers and Indians, solving various disputes. One story goes that during the war of 1812, when Johnny was in Mansfield,Ohio, the murder of a local merchant gave rise to fears of an iminent Indian uprising. Johnny, with all the walking he had done, seemed to have developed the swiftness and stamina of a marathon athlete, as he volunteered to run to the nearest town, Mount Vernon, to get help. This was a 26 mile run!
Johnny planted his first orchard near Licking Creek (Yeah, that's really the name!), Ohio, and I haven't been able to find if there are actually any more of his orchards or original trees in existence. If anyone knows of any, please let me know!
But you can get a graft from original Johhny Appleseed stock at raintree nursery. How cool would that be?
To celebrate the day, I think we'll go up the street to the farmstand and get some of the apples grown up the hill from us ("Honey Delicious"----SCRUMPTIOUS!), and make some baked apples, using Clarice's recipe over at Storybook Woods.
I think we may try Dawn's apple stencil idea at By Sun and Candlelight. The Littles may even be able to manage this one and a good time and a mess will be had by all (I say this with a smile on my face, really!).
I hunted around and found a fun, educational 'puter game called Bad Apple for the children to play as a treat. And maybe we'll go outside and see if we can find any apples on our 100% organic (read: "full of worms") apple tree to eat or make into applesauce.
It's good to be homeschooling again, so I'm spurred to do all this fun stuff! (*Lisa in 2011 -- misses doing all these things with all her children around her...)
Happy Johnny Appleseed Day, everyone!
Here is a sweet and simple little prayer to end with -- attributed to the original Mr. Appleseed.