a hundred years ago the era of hardscrabble farms in the valley of the waterbury river was coming to an end. many of the less fertile farms up on the hills had already been abandoned, but there was still a little community, some lumber mills, and a few successful farms in the early years of the 20th century.
Green Mountain Power was already buying up land along the river for a hydroelectric plant.
and then in 1927 the flood came down. water rushed down the valley with sufficient force that when it reached the winooski river the water itself dammed up the flow of the winooski and backed that river up to flood a long way upstream with tremendous loss of life and property.
the state of vermont along with the federal government laid out plans to buy what was left of the community on what is now called the little river and the CCC went to work building an enormous earthen dam. it was determined that as part of the new flood control project the land surrounding should be purchased under eminent domain and the hills reforested.
the river behind the dam is now the waterbury reservoir and all around it is state forest, and the land is set aside for recreation.
the farms are all gone, but some of the handsome orchards that were the farmers' pride still stand.
apple trees do not care if the farmer is dead and the house is gone to a cellarhole. they just keep being apple trees. they bear fruit pretty much as they always did.
i like to collect the branches that drop sometimes, in a storm.
it's pesky wood to work with. it has twisty grain sometimes, and because it's naturally dropped wood there are spots with rot, or insect holes, and you can't so much predict where all the flaws are going to be, but a lot of it is still good wood, and it makes me happy to reclaim it and put it to use.
applewood smells pretty when you work it, and if you can tame it, it has a pretty grain.
oftentimes when i start out to make a thing i don't know exactly what it's going to be or who it's going to be for, but usually as it takes shape i begin to know who it's for and what it will look like.
this is the most recent one.
if you can't find me, i'm out on the res.
on a sunny morning i might could be walking the old orchards, looking for dropped branches.