The town I live in, Watsonville, used to be known for apples and apple orchards. As a matter of fact, Martinelli's Apple Cider is still based here (They've recently opened a store, too! Click HERE for more info). Our apple orchard was purchased by my great great grandparents for my great grandpa, Tom Howes. Tom went to UC Davis and was a farmer. He walked the apple orchards every day with his dog and daughter, Helen (my grandma). My grandma grew to love the apple orchard and she raised her children and grandchildren to love it, too.
Some of my earliest memories are with her and my brother in the orchard:
- We used to set gopher traps and check them the following day. It's probably weird for many, but it was always SO EXCITING when we got one!
- There were certain times of the year when the grass would grow tall and my brother, cousin, and I used to make forts and play. We'd have to get "tick checks" when we got back, to make sure we didn't get any ticks on us. Ok, this one is gross. HA!
- In rainy season, we had rain boots that we'd put on, we'd have to check to make sure that there were no critters in them before putting them on. Sometimes, we found a cricket in them and again...SO EXCITING. We'd find spots that had the "best" mud and we'd get our boots stuck. The more muddy we got, the better, until we got home and in trouble for having gotten so dirty.
- My grandma also taught us about BB guns and that "there's no such thing as an unloaded gun." This saying drives my husband nuts, but if you feel that way, it's very unlikely you'll ever have a gun accident.
- One summer, we got paid to pick apples. $5/bin. Not sure if you know what an apple bin looks like, but when you're 8 or 9 years old, it took close to a WEEK to fill that puppy up.
I feel so lucky to have grown up in such a great environment. We learned a lot about hard work, playing outside, and using your imagination. It's great to see my brother and my kids have the opportunity to play in the same orchard that we played when we were kids. The tradition carries on.