PRINGLE — The apple tree in Dennis Kachmarsky’s yard on Pringle Hill was planted by him 47 years ago and judging by the number of blossoms and buds, it will once again produce hundreds of Empire apples.
The dwarf tree is old by apple tree standards, as evidenced by the many wooden stakes needed to prop up the branches to keep them from the ground.
The center of the tree looks like it was cracked open by a lightning bolt. Large gaping holes can be seen in the main branches. Yet the tree remains productive.
The tree is — pardon the pun — the apple of Kachmarsky’s eye. And as is the case with the tree, Kachmarsky, who will turn 89 in August, uses a wooden stick to help him navigate. He was wearing a T-shirt that read, “Pringle Hill, PA,” under his flannel shirt.
“We won’t have any apples until October,” Kachmarsky said. “And we have to watch that the deer don’t get to them like they did last year.”
So proud of this tree is Kachmarsky, that he penned a letter to the editor that recently appeared in the Times Leader. He said he just felt the world should know about his tree and its incredible fruit-bearing performance for 47 years.
Here’s how Kachmarsky described the tree in his letter:
“Believe it or not, in my yard is growing an apple tree that is 47 years old and annually bears fruit. The description of this dwarf tree: 4 to 5 feet in height and the circumference of the extended limbs is approximately 70 feet. Limbs are supported by sticks and props. I believe this tree deserves recognition.”
Kachmarsky is right — the tree is truly amazing. Reading about it is one thing, but standing next to it is another.
But before you marvel too long about the 47-year-old apple tree, know that Kachmarsky’s yard also sports a concord grapevine that his son, Tom, estimates to be 80 to 90 years old. The grapevine serves as a sanctuary for Kachmarsky, his son said. It’s where he likes to sit in the shade and drink a beer once in a while.
And then there is the vegetable garden that already has some growth. The tomato plants are yet to be planted. Tom Kachmarsky said he told his dad he didn’t want to plant too many tomatoes this year.
“I think there are 109 tomato plants in the cellar,” Tom said, shaking his head and smiling. “I’ll have to give some of them away.”
As far as the apples, Tom says they make the “best apple pies you’ll ever taste.” His dad just smiles when he hears that kind of talk, like a proud father — of his son and of the apple tree.
Kachmarsky, whose wife Mary is now in a nursing home, loves to spend time in the yard. He grew up in the house, leaving it for 30 years while he worked as a food inspector. He came back to Pringle Hill and his homestead when he retired.
“I don’t have a computer,” he said. “But I do have a telephone — I got rid of my homing pigeons.”
Kachmarsky said a man from Pittston called him after he read about the tree in the Times Leader. The man said he will be down for a visit and to see the tree. Kachmarsky hopes many more people stop by.
“Some people think it’s ugly,” he said. “But it’s beautiful to me.”
Reach Bill O’Boyle at 570-991-6118 or on Twitter @TLBillOBoyle.