Over at RevGalBlogPals, SingingOwl writes:
Raise your hand if you know that today is Johnny Appleseed Day!
September 26, 1774 was his birthday. Johnny Appleseed" (John Chapman) is one of America's great legends. He was a nurseryman who started out planting trees in western New York and Pennsylvania, but he was among those who were captivated by the movement west across the continent.
As Johnny travelled west (at that time, the "West" was places like Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois) he planted apple trees and sold trees to settlers. With every apple tree that was planted, the legend grew. A devout Christian, he was known to preach during his travels. According to legend, Johny Appleseed led a simple life and wanted little. He rarely accepted money and often donated any money he received to churches or charities. He planted hundreds of orchards, considering it his service to humankind. There is some link between Johny Appleseed and very early Arbor Day celebrations. So, in honor of this interesting fellow, let's get on with the questions!
First of all, big thanks to Singing Owl as Johnny Appleseed is one of those figures of American legend that mean very little over here. I'd heard the name but had no idea about the story...
1. What is your favorite apple dish? (BIG BONUS points if you share the recipe.)
When we were living at Lower Farmhouse, we had a mini orchard with 3 apple and 5 pear trees. Irritatingly, none of the apples was a cooker - they were a rather small eating variety called the Rissington Redskin (yes, really)...and I got so weary with trying to find ways to use up all the fruit that I no longer really enjoy most apple dishes...though the apple/lemon cheesecake recipe from The Penguin Freezer Cookbook is very nearly the exception that proves the rule. Too late and too weary to hunt it tonight...but will dig it out if there's any demand.
2. Have you ever planted a tree? If so was there a special reason or occasion you can tell us about? In, I think, 1996 there was a big diocesan festival at the Cathedral at which every church leader was given a fruit tree to take back to plant somewhere in the parish as a sign of spiritual growth. For assorted unfathomable reasons the Rissington tree came to live with the Flemings - which would have been fine if I'd not known what it was supposed to represent. Any sign of ailing in the tree (which was familiarly known as "spiritual growth") sent me into advanced panic. The good news is that it survives and flourishes still, though we've yet to see it produce a solitary cherry.
3. Does the idea of roaming around the countryside (preaching or otherwise) appeal to you? Why or why not? Yes please. Not bothered about the preaching, but if I could rove the inland waterways of England in the lovely Polyphony I think I'd be perfectly happy.
4. Who is a favorite "historical legend" of yours?
When I was a child, I was very keen on being Mary Queen of Scots. Perhaps losing my head at such a young age explains alot about the subsequent course of my life...
5. Johnny Appleseed was said to sing to keep up his spirits as he travelled the roads of the west. Do you have a song that comes when you are trying to be cheerful, or is there something else that you often do?
If I'm really struggling, then the Haydn C Major cello concerto usually puts things to rights....or in contrasting vein the Tiger Rag (specially the Baroque variation thereon which features on marvellous CD put together in memory of the baroque oboist David Reichenberg). Music always always helps. Or playing with the puppy, of course.