Thursday, July 1, 2010


When I was walking along the sidewalk of a small town, taking photos of an early Lancaster, Kentucky house, I noticed this tree in the front yard -- its apples were all over the ground and had spilled its fruit out to the sidewalk and beyond into the street. Hundreds of the same size small apple.

This pattern of so many dropped apples brought back memories of the old crabapple trees of my youth. I rarely see these types of trees anymore. Only around older houses or homesteads.

I did some research online about crabapples. I found that if they are used for fruit production they are called apple crabapple trees. If they are used for ornamental flowering they are called flowering crabapples.

I believe that I do not see many of the old apple type any more because folks just don't bake and cook like they used too. Its lost its stature as an important part of household food. Also, I believe that the extensive fall of the small apples would be looked upon as messy in today's culture. Gotta keep those lawns neat and tidy.

The apple crabapple tree provides fruit for jam, jellies, cider, spicing up sauces, pickles and probably other uses that were not listed online.

Here is the definition of an apple crabapple tree provided by TreeHelp.com:

Crabapples are differentiated from apples based on fruit size. If the fruit is larger than two inches it is classified as an apple. Fruit is borne in the summer and fall. Colors range from dark-reddish purples through the reds and oranges to golden yellow and even some green. On certain selections the fruit can remain attractive well into the late winter. The larger fruited cultivars offer a bonus because the fruit can be spiced or used in jelly.

Here is the front view of the early house where I found the tree. It has had some updating over the many years of its existence.

I will venture to say that the architectural trim around the porch was added sometime before the 1900s. New storms or windows were added some 30 years ago. The outdated landscape bushes look like from the 40s or 50s. The house is fairly devoid of any mature landscaping other than an old hydrangea bush and the old crabapple tree. Perhaps at some point within the last 50 or 60 years there began a landscaping shift toward the barren look that seems to be still popular with many today.

A shot of the northwest front corner of the lovely early brick house appears to be in good shape structurally.

This close-up shot shows an original Federal type light (window) over the front door. This would date the house pre 1850. Usually Federal front doors also had side lights as well as a light over the door. But, this house would fall in the vernacular architecture type so therefore it was built simply incorporating only some of the styles of the time.

Now getting back to the lovely old crabapple in the front yard. I thought about the fruit laying on the ground. Luckily birds and some mammals will find these apples a treat, especially as they ferment. The tree apparently is in mid-age of its projected 70 year life. It has some producing years left. Surely it will produce memories to children passing by -- like the memories I have from long ago. So now the tree is for wildlife and children only. But that is OK.

The Appalachian town of Lancaster, Kentucky was founded in 1797 and in 2008 the population was 4,403.


  1. Wouldn't you just love to wave a wand and turn that sterile yard into a beautiful cottage garden, full of vegetables and fruits and flowers?

  2. Vicki -- I sure do. Or even just let it get some wildness look to the landscaping. Sterile landscapes are difficult on the eye. I do observe many lovely natural and cottage type landscapes around the quaint and charming homes of the countryside and small towns. Usually it is the newer homes that are lacking in planting material. Thanks for the comment--- barbara

  3. Interesting old house. Could sure use a garden!

    I didn't know that about crabapple trees. Making things like crabapple jelly is largely a lost art, but there is a movement to help people regain these lost skills. It's called Transition Town. I think it started in Ireland, but seems to be spreading. There is a Trasition Town Ottawa group in my area. My daughter took a cheese-making course.

  4. barefootheart -- what great info on Transition Town. I searched it on internet and came up with this wiki site,


    I had not heard about it before now. I know the the Department of Anthropology at Oregon State University has "back to the land" type of classes -- learning survival skills that were once common a hundred years ago.

    We have lost so many skills that allowed us to live with the land rather than against it.

    Thanks for the information! And I agree with you, the house certainly needs some warming up with some live plantings. -- barbara