Sunday, September 12, 2010


I used to live here. I moved. What was I thinking??

As a keeper of cats I have been there, done that, have the t-shirt.

"Love should be the only way for men and women to live together. No other ritual is needed." -anon.

"If you are playful about meditation, mind cannot destroy it. Otherwise mind will turn meditation into another ego trip; that will make you dangerously serious." -anon.

"Don't take yourself so goddam serious." -Alcoholics Anonymous

"Just let things be in their own way, obey your own nature, and you will walk freely and undisturbed." -anon.

Johnny Appleseed’s name was John Chapman. He was actually a fairly wealthy man at least at one point because he had so many orchards of his own. He really did plant apples freely, not only on his own land, and he was a purveyor of applejack. The apples of his time were not the sweet eating apples we know. They were largely inedible but they did make credible alcoholic cider. That was the principal drink of his day. The grain fields did not yet exist, and what grain there was went into breads and such, so there was not much beer or whiskey either. Rum was imported.

John was well known as a complete eccentric, one of a kind.


In those days, they drank
apples. Applejack, Chapman's
gift to the frontier.
Johnny Appleseed
brought them good strong drink
and they paid him very well,
so well that he grew
orchards all over
those long valleys and low hills,
good cider makings,
safer than water.

July 16, 2009 12:48 PM


  1. Excellent disambiguation. The apples being better suited for -OH drink than to be used for pie might have been the root cause of the confusion (thinking John Dey was the same man as John Dye).

    The funny thing is saying they are the same guy may be more accurate to some linguists than it is to say they are completely unrelated (John Dey was rumored to be John Dye's uncle and both reportedly married Applegate daughters. Not first sisters though as the two daughters had different Applegate fauthers.

    (redgish was my word verifyer :)

  2. dirt clustit,
    You present an interesting puzzle. There is such a thing as John Dey connected to Applegate, roughly contemporary, but as far as my cursory check makes out neither are tied to John Chapman/Johnny Appleseed. He seems to be well documented in land claims and in recollections.

    As for apples, it seems that there was an industrial push for making the apple an eating fruit a bit later than Appleseed's time. My authority on this was Michael Pollan's book "The Botany of Desire". In that book he traced the history of the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato, all delights to different forms of human desire and all showing remarkable adaptations by plants as if to please humans to the plants' own advantage.

    Johnny Appleseed's endeavors are the greatest individual contributions to the American history of the apple.

    I hope that your disambiguation comment meant that I have woven the various contributions to this evening's post together well but I really don't know what you mean.

    Thanks for your visit here.

  3. I love everything about this post. Here the rough sour apples are ripening in the hedges and small plots, and our very old neighbour will soon be plodding about gathering them in sacks and making them into cider, which then gets made into Calva, our applejack, or used to. He's one of the few people old enough to have the right to do this. There used to be a wonderful old still - *l'alembic*, it was called - that travelled around and parked on the edges of the village, you could smell it at a distance, but I've not seen it for years, so I don't know if or how he does the Calva now.

  4. Michael Pollan asserts that left to their own devices, apples turn into several varieties of basically inedible fruit, and that from one tree to the next there is no predictability. However, many varieties still make applejack okay. I love the idea of an old fella going about a task that few others are allowed to do.

    He also claimed that the apple originated as best they can guess close to the same area that the proto indo-europeans are thought to have arisen, that proto-apples still grow wild in the deciduous forests there in such a profusion of varieties that some are barely recognizable as anything called an apple.

    Thank you for sharing.

  5. Devon is the place for cider- otherwise known as scrumpy...

  6. I have never had hard cider...I love the name scrumpy. I liked apple cider as a kid. My mom would get it for us often. I liked the winey flaver better than the juice. Now I have been diagnosed with borderline diabetes and probably will avoid all fruit juices, all sugars to make room for the carbohydrates that are more important. I have been in alcoholic recovery for 27 years, so no hard cider for me.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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