Christmas--the bitter and the sweet

At the risk of being redundant, I am moving this to is own topic. I place this under fruit growing because for me, it is inextricably linked to my orchard and my love of fruit growing.

In this time of year there is rejoicing and there is sadness. I wanted to share my feelings and hope others can too. This site has become a second family.

My dear chocolate lab Katie passed away in her sleep last night. She was 12. I have never known a more loving and dedicated companion nor will there ever be. She would sit often for three or four hours in the heat and the cold to be near me when I was outside in the trees. She was beside me when I planted my first fruit tree almost 12 years ago, and thru every one of those 300 or so grafts I have done She was my apple tasting companion. We started a tradition of sampling apples together from the very first one I picked almost 9 years ago to the newest apples I picked only a few months back. She was out there yesterday, walking the trees with me on my daily walk through the orchard and waited patiently until I turned to walk up to the house. To continue caring for those trees without her is unimaginable right now, but time helps heal those losses.

We buried her in the same spot where we sat and looked at the orchard and the beautiful view hundreds of times.

Fly high sweet girl.


Dogs give so much to us and ask for so little in return.

Our lab was like a sibling to our only child and gave her a lifelong love of dogs (as well as a certain amount of allergy immunity I suspect.)

I only regret that we didn’t let daughter sleep with the dog. She would be a much better sleeper than she is.


Great pick! And in the best horse country too! Your Katie will be happy there.


Please accept my deepest sympathy. Rest in peace, Katie. I am very sad for you. Take time to grieve, look at your photos, and walk wherever you were together. And read The Rainbow Bridge.

I lost my horse not long ago–much too early. We had a connection to my orchard. In the fall we would ride to the orchard–he always picked up the pace as we neared it. He didn’t need any encouragement to do a perfect “shoulder in” move under the tree. He would patiently wait for me to pick a couple of apples which I would feed him from the saddle.

Someday my own ashes will nourish those trees and perhaps some rider and his horse will pass by there.


Beautiful, thanks for sharing.