Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Brown’s Fort

I finally made it to Ogden and went to Brown’s Fort to find the old Pear tree. It is now called Fort Buenaventura and is a state park so of course I just hopped in the car and drove up there, after all state parks are always open and eager to help. Imagine my surprise when I found a big gate across the entrance with a sign that said "Park Closed." 

I immediately got on my phone to look up their hours and there was nothing on their website that had any type of hours. I called and only got a voice message that said to leave a message. hmmfff!

So I did the only thing a normal person would do. I walked into the park. It was a a beautiful warm fall day and there was not a single person in sight. It was a little eerie and I felt kind of uncomfortable being all alone. The picture above is a shot from the top of a small hill looking down on the fort and park. You can see how deserted it is. 

From my research, this is what I found out about the pear tree before going to the park. Brown’s Fort is the first Mormon settlement in Ogden, Utah. The 160-year-old pear tree that is planted on the site does not bear fruit anymore. But you can still pick pears from ten-year-old tree grafted from the historic pear nearby.

I managed to find the younger lone pear tree by the fort and take some pictures but I could not locate the oldest pear tree. Maybe if I go in the summer when they are open they can help me. 

Well, at least I learned a little about this historic pear and a little about the disorganization of our parks system. I definitely will be back to Fort Buenaventura State Park, even in its loneliness, it was beautiful. 

I managed to write up my pear cozy pattern as well. It and the Cottam's Acorn Hat are both on my pattern page. I will be on the lookout for more historic trees. But in the meantime, I better get back on track to finish the many other patterns I am in the process of creating. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cottam’s Grove

While I am on the subject of historic trees, I went to Red Butte Garden at the U of U campus the other day for a meeting with other museum educators. While there, I serendipitously learned about Cottam’s Grove and I was intrigued by it’s history.

In 1954, Dr. Eugene Cottam and graduate student Rudy Drobnick discovered a hybrid oak in the Oquirrh Mountains south of the Great Salt Lake. After years of research, the two scientists hybridized many species of oaks and planted them in Cottam’s Grove in Red Butte Garden near the University of Utah. These oaks are known for their large acorns.

I wish I would have learned about this a week or so ago to take pictures during the beautiful fall colors. But the big storm just hit and covered everything so all my pictures are snowy. I still managed to gather some leaves and acorns from the hybrid oaks though.

Over the years I have developed a little newborn acorn hat that I have been knitting and giving to everyone I know (including my own babies). I have never written the pattern down but I have been inspired by Cottam’s beautiful grove to get it on paper. So stay tuned for a cute little Acorn Hat pattern. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Huber Grove Apple Cozy

So I jotted down my pattern for the apple cozy and put it on my pattern page. I also have a cozy for a pear in my head that I want to write down. I just heard about a very old pear tree in Brown’s Fort near Ogden, just north of Salt Lake. Maybe I will go check it out and it will inspire me to write down my pear cozy pattern.

I am excited to visit a place I have never been before. This last year learning about the Great Salt Lake environs has been enlightening and fun. And my goal of learning, being inspired, and knitting the inspiration has really paid off!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Wasatch Mountain State Park

A couple months ago I was able to visit Wasatch Mountain State Park for the first time. I went there to evaluate an exhibition for work but was lucky enough to be there during a beautiful early fall day. In the park is a pioneer cabin, a creamery, and the original apple grove with the most fantastic trees.

In the late 1800s, Johannes Huber settled the area and planted 350 apple trees. There are about 80 of the original trees left and you can pick the apples every fall at their apple picking events, apples from 135 year-old trees! The park is grafting some of the plants to newer stock in order to keep the grove healthy but one theory as to the trees’ longevity is the long, hard winters of the valley.

Some of these apples are heirloom varieties like Wealthy, Yellow Transparent, or Red Astrakan. The state park employees told us that the Hubers would give an apple tree to every couple getting married in the community. That is why there are a lot of apple trees around.

My colleague just sent me some pictures from that day and it reminded me of those great apple trees. I have a pattern for those funny apple cozies that I have been making but have never written down. In honor of the Huber Grove apples, I think I will put it down on paper.