Susanna allowed the pioneer family to glean fallen apples as they looked for a permanent home in Orchard Valley. When the children discovered blueberries nearby, Susanna shared her own wagon train story as she helped bake a blue apple pie.
“That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him:
The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,
And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,”
—Ephesians 1:17-19 KJV
“Because of Bully Fred’s actions, Fred’s parents loaned him out as a harvest worker in Jeb’s orchard. He cleared away damaged limbs, planted trees to replace those lost in the war, and picked baskets of the ripe fruit. He wasn’t allowed to eat from the harvest table, and his only payment was one bag of peaches per work day.”
“Let Israel hope in the Lord: for with the Lord there is mercy, and with him is plenteous redemption.”
—Psalm 130:7 KJV
Peach Orchard, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania: “Brother Jeb met me at the Gettysburg station in a downpour. As we traveled down Emmitsburg Road, Jeb gave me an overview of the battle. The battle heated up on the second day in Jeb’s orchard, and his barn burned. Artillery and musket fire damaged many trees, but some still produced that luscious blend of lemon and orange tang—refreshing even in a cold rain.”
“So I came to Jerusalem, and was there three days.
And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me; neither told I any man what my God had put in my heart to do at Jerusalem: neither was there any beast with me, save the beast that I rode upon.
And I went out by night by the gate of the valley, even before the dragon well, and to the dung port, and viewed the walls of Jerusalem, which were broken down, and the gates thereof were consumed with fire.”
—Nehemiah 2:11-13 KJV
The Belmont Brothers generously allowed Susanna and June to stay in the cabin above the Blue Apple Bakery, which remained closed. June found work harvesting apples, which the Brothers shipped worldwide.
“Then she said, Let me find favour in thy sight, my lord; for that thou hast comforted me, and for that thou hast spoken friendly unto thine handmaid, though I be not like unto one of thine handmaidens.”
—Ruth 2:13 KJV
In July, our family committed to re-painting the subdivision signs. My husband and daughter carried one sign to our garage, so we could work in a protected space.
After driving by the subdivision signs for over 14 years, I suddenly realized that the apple stands in for the “O” in “Orchard.”
While rain poured outside our garage on the Fourth of July, we scraped and wire-brushed the metal sign, readying it for fresh paint. Mystery solved: underneath the small red apples, the original color of the trees revealed nature’s green instead of faded teal.
The scraping experience reminded me of Peter’s fishing story in Luke 5:1-11: “Master, I’ve worked hard …” I scraped the brown trunks off easily but the trees frustrated me. I brought my husband out to see the work in progress.
“Deep water”: I used the scraper angle side up; my husband flipped the scraper angle side down, and with the different angle and stronger wrist movement, the green began to slip off.
The black lettering was the only surviving appliqué in fair shape. We used black paint to freshen fades and cover torn corners. The apple had melded with the metal, so we chose to paint over the appliqué.
I had Valspar® paint swatches chosen from Lowe’s but found few options smaller than a quart. Home Depot had exterior paint available in a small sample size. I re-chose Behr® swatches, and panicked as the clerk opened the Red Red Wine sample to show a chalky red mix. As the dot dried to a deep red on the lid, I relaxed. I chose a quart each of flat black and white Rust-oleum® Painter’s Touch® Ultra Cover Premium Latex Paint. I also brought home a craft paintbrush set from our local grocery store. This included a tiny angled brush that was a lifesaver for the lettering.
Five days later, painting complete, we hung the west sign. That evening, after viewing the east sign, we realized the original inside of the “D” on the west sign was green, but it had eroded over the years. The next day, we painted the west inside “D” green, added one apple and clear coated it.
The east sign showed worse condition, but the process moved faster from experience. On the west sign, I spray painted a clear protective coat. This left a faint white film in a few spots—disappointing after so much effort. For the east sign, I brushed on a clear coat—no white film!
Our daughter contracted to paint the trees. On both signs, my husband, daughter and I painted apples on the trees.
The signs hang via a hidden metal bracket screwed into the stone wall. Two top screws attach the sign to the bracket.
Project complete. Hoping time will be kind, but for now, a fresh, clean sign announces our subdivision amidst blooming lilies and crepe myrtle.