Fixing up this old fragment of a farm has had its share of unwelcome surprises, but this weekend the place gave us a gift.

At the front corner of the property, out by the road, stands an old apple tree. Like much else around here, it had been neglected — unpruned, full of suckers and deadwood, hollow. I did not expect it to amount to much, maybe pretty blossoms in the spring and later some windfalls for the deer, but certainly no apples of any quantity or quality.

But this fall, the branches hung heavy with ripening fruit, and last weekend we harvested half a bushel’s worth. Not the prettiest or largest apples you’ll ever see, but plenty for a small batch of applesauce and maybe a pie. Enough, or at least more than I asked for.