Hand-hooked Wool on Linen, 42" x 60"
Completed Anno August Two Thousand
by Peter & Cherie Christensen, Shaw Island, WA.
Click to enlarge.

One in a series of hand-hooked rugs to celebrate the history of Shaw Island. Heirloom apples are a special part of life on the island, thanks in part to the hard-working settlers who cleared the ground, split and erected cedar rails to keep out the deer and planted hundreds of trees, not with seeds as did Johnny Appleseed, but regulation nursery stock. Many of these antique, but still productive orchards from the 1870s and 1880s, survive on private property, as indicated by the red dots on the map and the text in the border.
      For country folks, an apple is not an apple. A research survey was sent to several elders with an intimate personal history of living on Shaw Island.  Some of those respondents were still living on the island, and some had moved to the mainland. The answers to the question regarding their own favorite island heritage apple––yielded no surprise–the blue ribbon goes to the juicy, sweet Gravenstein. Dell D. Hoffman told this writer he was fond of the Wolf River for the red beauty in a bowl on the kitchen table. 
Leon Fonnesbeck, in his handknit tuque,
retired from law to serve on the Opalco board
and press apples into cider on his little estate.
Photo mid-1980s.
      In the early 1970s, Leon Fonnesbeck planted 300 trees and built his own cider press. When the trees started producing and with aid from his trusty Gravely equipment, he cheerfully made gallons and gallons of cider for thirsty friends. 
      Names of another hardworking duo are inscribed on the wooden heart on the trunk of the tree, under Pomona's crown. When island friends Jack and Bess Temple picked apples for cider––they picked a truckload. Peter repaired the old wooden press parts and made strong, wooden apple crates from milled, windfall Douglas fir trees, courtesy of the back-to-back winter storms in 1989 and 1990. Over the decades hundreds of gallons of Shaw Island apple cider have been put by for winter. Here's a tip of the cider glass to all the crew that have, and do, add richness to our life on the rock.

No comments:

Post a Comment