Uncommon Ground

Fall Chores

Thousands of local donors gave to dozens of nonprofit organizations during the Great Fish Community Challenge, a fundraising effort pushed forward by the Whitefish Community Foundation

By Mike Jopek

Those fall rains grew the fruit big. The apples look great. We’d been waiting for the seeds to brown up a bit before harvest. It was time. The taste was right, the fruit crisp, the seed brown-enough.

They hung by stems on the branch in clusters. The fruit dangled by stems off the little spurs, about an inch long, along the branch of the tree. Months earlier they flowered. Both leaf and fruit now occupy the same spur.

Lift and twist. Pop the fruit off easy. Take the stem with the apple. Leave the leaf and spur on the tree. Those small spurs produce apples for many years.

Into the harvest bag, the next and the next. Don’t bump the apples on a branch, the ladder or another apple. They bruise easy, then spoil fast.  When I picked, we got a penny a pound harvested into the bin. I’m sure it’s a couple penny by now.

Apple harvest feels familiar, like fall. Signifies the end to a long hot season. Hopefully fall weather proves kind. Garlic planting may close our season yet fruit harvest remains a meaningful transition. Fall harvest provides time to think, to put it into perspective. Slow down the chaos. Reconnect with what’s important. Only you know.

What a great community we live in. There’re so many good organizations in the valley doing right by people, helping out to make it better. We, like thousands of other local donors gave dollars to dozens of nonprofit organizations during the Great Fish Community Challenge, a fundraising effort pushed forward by the Whitefish Community Foundation, raising millions of dollars.

It’s good to see the capacity of local nonprofits being built so successfully. It’s meaningful. I’m cheering for them all, especially the North Valley Music School as they seek to build a facility at Smith Field in Whitefish, on land provided to the organization by the city. Help kids bring more music to the world. It’s big effort. A long campaign. Do your part.

Whitefish has long partnered with nonprofits to bring good things to the community. People like Frank Sweeney have donated years of time serving Whitefish on the city council. Much of the good that you see in town is thanks to visionary leaders like Frank Sweeney.

Frank lives down the hill from the farm and is running for reelection in Whitefish. Frank has good sound judgement. He’s done a great job. Proven to look out for the people of Whitefish during a time of fast change and plenty of newcomer ideas.  He’s a steady hand in turbulent times.

Locals remember, Sweeney was there helping twenty years ago, as Whitefish first sought to conserve the public lands surrounding the Lake for people and wildlife. Frank was there helping when it was time to protect Beaver Lake, he was there when it was time to conserve the Haskill Basin watershed and he’s helping to keep Smith Lake in public hands for quiet family recreation.

Frank Sweeny is the person locals want and need on the council. He’s good with people, the economy, and community. He’s smart and been around a long while. A trustworthy guy. 

Frank Sweeney is a friend to Whitefish. He’s solid. On the side of community. Trust him with your vote for another term serving on the city council when ballots arrive next month for November elections.

November seems far off. It’s not. Hope the garlic is in the ground by then. Lots of work ahead.

I put the crates of apples into cold storage. They felt heavier this year than other seasons. I mused and glanced at the fall pears that hung heavy on the long branches of the weeping trees in the adjacent orchard. How great. How lucky to be alive.

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