I never really remembered life without the tree.

It was one of those things that was an ever-present reality in my life growing up….along with The Love Boat and Charleston Chew and Gloria Vanderbilt Jeans.

My father had moved it as a sapling to a spot right beyond the drive-way.

And there it grew year after year……

…..straight and tall as an arrow.

As a teenager I almost backed into it.

As an adult, I sat in the back yard with on a cool, crisp fall afternoon and watched as big wheels and tricycles and scooters raced by it at lightning speed.

And the leaves fell every fall.

And grew again every spring.

As season after season tiptoed across its branches.


My father loved that tree.

He was so proud of it.

He watered it through the hot, dry summers and trimmed its leaves and watched it grow.

I think it was his favorite place to work out all his problems.

At twilight he would water the yard and pick up the branches…..

….and talk to the tree.

They were long, lengthy conversations….told in confidence to an old friend.

I was never really sure what he whispered….or what was on his heart.

But I know that the tree heard every single word.


And then one day….suddenly….early in the morning on a summer day….

….the most wonderful, incredible tree whisperer passed away.

I’m not sure that the tree ever fully recovered.

After my father died…..no one really paid much attention to it.

No one watered it or trimmed it….or whispered to it any more.

Our hearts were too sad.

A year later a lightening bolt struck the tree and it came crashing down.

And I thought that was the end of a season.

The end of the chapter.


But you see…..I have this brother.

This amazing, wonderful, creative brother.

A tree-whisper in his own right.

He took that broken tree and painstakingly carved it into a thing of beauty.

This wooden bowl full of apples on my fall mantel…..was carved from the tree that my father had guarded so closely all those years.


I had almost forgotten all about it.

It was packed away in the attic with some pumpkins and acorns and brightly colored oak leaves.

And when I unwrapped the bowl….I smiled quietly to myself…..and my heart gave a little leap of joy…..

….because another season had begun. Smile


PS  My brother just added a few more things to his ETSY shop along with those amazing pallet letters.

Stop by and check it out….all proceeds go towards his adoption. Smile

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Esther Brouwer Esther Brouwer

    What lovely story! Thankfully,.....the apple does not fall too far from the tree. (I could not resist) Hope that does not sound too flippant. (Spelling?) I LOVE your stories. you should write a Chicken Soup type book... I am an author too.

  2. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Ahh, you pulled my heart strings again. This actually brought a tear to my eye. What a lovely reminder. When my grandmother passed my mother inherited my grandmothers beloved fur coat. (they were popular way back when) She had little teddy bears made out of it for her sisters and herself. Enjoy your weekend.

  3. Image for Babette Babette

    Aww, what a beautiful story! Thank you for telling that. I know one thing, there are creative juices that run through yours and your brother's veins. Love your design style. I always look forward to reading your blog the most!

  4. Image for judy judy

    Neither the "tree whisperer" nor your wonderful brother, possess the talent of taking apples from the tree and making them look so good, as you did. What exceptional apple pictures! I felt sad when I read this post, and believe me, I understood your sadness when you lost your dad, and the apple tree lost it's caretaker. When one loses their dad, it makes it so easy to understand the sadness of others when they do. It most certainly is a painful loss in life. Thanks for sharing your brother's artistic skills with us. Tha

  5. Image for Wendy Wendy

    Your words are as beautiful as your pictures. Your blog is a true work of art. Thank you for sharing it - your home and your heart.

  6. Image for Sandy Sandy

    A beautiful tribute to your dad. My dad is 93, and he had an apple tree in his backyard. My sons used to climb it. When mom died, we sold that house with the apple tree, and dad moved to assisted living. I think I"ll take my grandkids to visit great grandpa today, and bring an apple pie. Thank you for your beautiful stories.

  7. Image for Debbie Debbie

    What a bittersweet story! I'm glad you have rediscovered the tree. I love your blog, and look forward to reading it every day.

  8. Image for Kris Kris

    I've been admiring your bowl and now that I know the story behind it, I love it even more. There's a kid's book called (I think!) The Giving Tree. Your story reminded me of that.

  9. Image for Denise at Forest Manor Denise at Forest Manor

    I love this story, Kari. It is so sweet and sad, it made my eyes tear up. I'm sorry for the loss of your father; even if it wasn't recent, the loss of a parent is such a huge thing. He sounds like a wonderful person and your brother does, as well. I love your bowl -- it's beautiful and unique and it has special meaning. Happy Fall to you! Hugs, Denise

  10. Image for KellyinPA KellyinPA

    What a beautiful story! And how special to have something handmade by your brother to remember your father. I think I'd find a place for it in my home to be displayed each and every season.

  11. Image for Robin Robin

    Lovely blog post. This reminds me of "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein. It was my favorite book as a child. You have such a talented and loving family!

  12. Image for Jessie Perry Jessie Perry

    Loved your story. Very touching and heartfelt! My father at age 88 has spent over 60 autumns picking apples from his backyard tree and sharing them with neighbors. Knowing that this may be his last wobbly year up on a ladder, I will be relieved, yet deeply saddened as that final apple comes down.

  13. Image for Anita Anita

    Wow, what a wonderful story...just the kind of thing that touches my heart:-) We made a china cabinet from a tree my dad cut and pieces of trim from the house he grew up in, so I can relate to the meaning.

  14. Image for bj bj

    This is the sweetest story. A thoughtful and loving thing to carve things out of the tree. We are about to move away from our home of 40 years and a huge pecan tree which my husband did the same thing with as your dad did with his tree. It was also hit by lightening, and came back stronger than ever. Now, you see, I have to do a post on his tree. :) You always inspire me, K.

  15. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    When my eyes first caught a glimpse of that bowl in your pictures, I thought....oooh, wow...gorgeous bowl...I love it! How wonderful that it also has such a special story behind it and that it was so lovingly carved. What a treasure!

  16. Image for Joanne Joanne

    Touched my heart and made me remember our weeping willows, in our back yard growing up, that my dad planted. And our walks in the woods behind those trees. Thanks for your story.

  17. Image for Kelly Reber Kelly Reber

    You have a wonderful way with words! I love your gift for telling a story and painting a picture. This one got me a little choked up... reminded me of one of the best books of all time "The Giving Tree". You really should write a book!

  18. Image for Renae Renae

    Now I'm crying at work...such a touching tribute to your dad. I hope you treasure this piece now and in the years to come and that one of your kids will keep it with them forever too. It's beautiful!

  19. Image for Nancy Carr Nancy Carr

    I am touched by this story and that your brother thought to create something from the tree. Beautiful. Blessings

  20. Image for Gwen Gwen

    I got teary eyed. For you see my Dad loved his peach tree. We had moved to sunny California and beside the patio a little peach tree had started to grow. We figured a workers lunch leftover pit... Dad sat at the table and admired it. It could never decide if it was truly a freestone or a cling...it would switch year to year!!! Dad watered it but never used chemicals on it. It grew and we ate and ate peaches and Moms peach pie and their "peach sauce" which is now simply called canned peaches. The years rolled along and my brother in law was upset it had a low branch. And he had to pick up all those falling peaches but Dad was still happy to eat a peach and have some pie. At 90, 45 years years of tree history, my dear Papa died. And within the month, mysteriously, his tree also died. Filled with termites, my brother in law said so not a branch did we dare take. But it's okay. I still see it. Still remember the white bucket we'd be asked to pick up the fallen peaches and haul to the green barrel. What an honor to have a brother see beauty in ashes. A gift that's part of your Dad that you unwrap and really "get" it's significance. I did salvage logs from the liquid amber in the front. Dad watered and loved those trees too. But their roots were after forty years lifting the sidewalks and so they'd lived their glory. My logs sit in my fireplace with green moss attached and in my entry in a tall wire thing. Yes, I'm the only one who saved logs!!! For my never ever been used fireplace! Memories in logs.

  21. Image for Rosalyn Rosalyn

    KariAnne, You write so beautifully and this tribute to your dad, brother, and family tree touched my heart. How wonderful that your brother possesses the same creative spirit you do. I know how you cherish that apple tree bowl for all the memories it holds. I have pottery mixing bowls from my grandmother, mother, and mother in law that take me back to people and places I can only see in dreams now. Keep those stories coming.....they will be part of your legacy to those who follow after you. ♥

  22. Image for Andrea at Opulent Cottage Andrea at Opulent Cottage

    Oh Karianne, you have the most incredible family. I can't believe that your brother lives in McKinney, only about 30 miles north of me! When you come to visit your new niece or nephew, we'll have to meet up and shop the adorable town square :) We'll be keeping your brother in our prayers, and awaiting the day you announce their new arrival. xoxo, Andrea

  23. Image for Cheryl @ Living Design Cheryl @ Living Design

    This is beautiful. I think of my grandparents whenever I see a willow. They had one in their backyard and every winter Grandad would have it pruned all the way back to the trunk. I have no idea if this is the proper way to do it, but it always made me and my sister laugh to see the tree look so funny! I'm lucky to have many heirlooms from my grandparents,the most precious to me being grandmom's engagement ring, which my husband then proposed to me with. Even though my paternal grandparents never got to meet my husband, we're both surrounded by their love every day.

  24. Image for Regina Regina

    Another great family story to add to your collection! We had a tree that fell across our driveway several years ago. It was a wild cherry tree, VERY messy, and one day, after a few days of rain, it just came crashing down - about 10 feet from the front of the house we lived in on Fords Ferry Road. Dad salvaged the wood, and made me a set of shaker boxes from the "Fords Ferry Cherry" as he liked to call it! :) Your family will cherish that wooden bowl from now on, and will know the history behind it. Beautiful! Have a great Fall-y day! :)

  25. Image for marieDee marieDee

    What a beautiful story, beautifully told! My grandfather planted a sycamore tree before I was born and a couple of redbuds that I remember. I seem to have inherited his love of trees; a few years ago, I had a friend bring me a sycamore sapling from his property and it is thriving in my back yard, prompting thoughts of my wonderful grandfather and his beloved sycamore tree.

  26. Image for Bliss Bliss

    Good Lord do I have to scroll anymore to get to the leave a comment form! Can you fix that for me, I'm getting old. So old in fact did I forget a post about that awesome Farmers Market sign I am now considering knocking off?

  27. Image for dawn@joyfulscribblings dawn@joyfulscribblings

    What a beautiful story. Have you ever read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein? It's one of my favorite books. I love the bowl your brother made. What a wonderful keepsake! I shared your fall home tour on my blog today :)

  28. Image for Kelli Kelli

    I love your heart. Sweet little tears sprung into my eyes. What a treasure that you have. I had admired your bowl before...but now....even more. A big hug to you...from me! ~k.

  29. Image for Michele/Finch Rest Michele/Finch Rest

    KA, OK. You got me now with tears streaming down my cheeks. I never know what I'll find when I visit you. Sometimes I howl with laughter, sometimes I am so blown away with inspiration I swear I may actually DO something DYI around here one day............and always always always I am a better person for stopping by. I love love love your blog, and, well, YOU. YOU are your blog - creative, sweet, fun, tender, and pretty remarkable, actually. Any Pop who was a tree whisper is happily smiling that your brother made you such a wonderful and precious thing from that tree - the tree of memories. The Family Tree. Hugs.

  30. Image for debbie booth debbie booth

    Thanks Kari really, a lovely story . You are so fortunate that your brother thought to keep some of that wood to have as a wonderful reminder. thanks for sharing ~ D

  31. Image for Mary Feguson Mary Feguson

    Oh what a beautiful story. I am so glad that you have something that your father loved. How talented your brother is and to make that beautiful bowl for. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful story. Mary

  32. Image for Danielle Danielle

    I have tears in my eyes right now thinking of your father, the tree whisperer! Beautiful story and beautiful bowl your brother created. Thinking of you Karianne and heading over to your brother's etsy shop. x

  33. Image for Sandy Sandy

    Such a beautiful heartwarming story! I hung on every word. This touched my heart and soul and I know it gave your heart a great big leap of joy as you tenderly filled that wooden bowl with apples for your mantel. The tree whisperer, I love it! The tree lives on in another form! I'm off to check out your brother's shop!

  34. Image for Maaike Maaike

    What a wonderful story *snuffling into Kleenex*, I'll be giving my own father an extra big hug next time I see him. Also? Your brother is wonderfully creative - it must run in your family!

  35. Image for Jeannie Jeannie

    Hi KariAnne, What a lovely story, I love the way you tell a story, and hope that you are writing a book in your spare time, because I'd be the first to buy it. You've probably already written a book with all of your posts. Just a thought. Hope you have a lovely weekend. Jeannie

  36. Image for Diana W. Diana W.

    Oh you wretched woman! How dare you tug my heart strings and put tears in my eyes at Midnight?! We are for bed, the husband and I. Yet when I saw an unopened missive from my friend KariAnne, I just had to open it. You see, my favorite blogger always has something important to say. A beautiful picture of words to go with the pictures she takes. Thank you, as always. You are so very special.

  37. Image for Robin Robin

    Sitting at my computer on a rainy Saturday morning, with Fall nipping at Summer heals, tearing up and missing my Dad too. What a wonderful story you weave. I agree with so many others, you have a writing skill that is extraordinary and I would love one of your books with your beautiful stories and wonderful photography in my home and I'd give them to all of my friends so they could have a taste of your talent in their homes too. Maybe the universe is talking to you about your future....

  38. Image for Sue Sue

    What a beautiful story and so well-told! I would suggest you print up the story and frame it. Situate the framed story near the carved bowl so that your children will grow up knowing about it and finding meaning in it. That way, after your time on earth is done it won't get discarded; they will know the value of that beautiful carved bowl. Hopefully, they won't be fighting over it....they could take turns passing it around from home to home.... ;-)

  39. Image for Sue Sue

    KariAnne, I forgot to say in my previous comment that you should use the bowl year 'round...fill it with oranges and nuts at Christmas, lemons in the summer, etc., etc. Don't let that bowl ever get put in the attic again. Let a piece of you dad always be with you!

  40. Image for Pam Pam

    Such a wonderful story Karianne. You write straight from the heart and right to my tear ducts girlie. The love you have for your family touches me. My own Daddy is 81 and he loves his pear trees. He had heart surgery about 18 years ago and having been a smoker most of his life he was told not to smoke and of course my Mom feels its her duty to make sure he doesn't. One day I got a call from Mom saying "you won't believe what your Dad did! He put out a cigarette butt in the crotch of the pear tree. Minutes later I was looking out the kitchen window and the tree was on fire!" I'm happy to report the fire was quickly put out and the tree survived. But I lovingly tell Dad that his smoked pears aren't really my taste. And we laugh about that every time. Love you and your creative spirit.

  41. Image for Julie Hall Julie Hall

    Your story also reminded me of another children's book - Apple Tree Christmas by Trinka Hakes Noble. It is a favorite read aloud with my children from years ago. It is based on a true story and centered around an apple tree that is MOST important to this family and their survival (as well as the children's amusement). A winter storm brings down the tree, but the father surprises the daughters with Christmas gifts he crafted from the tree. A lovely, touching story.

    1. Image for Mary Sue Mary Sue

      I'm a retired school teacher, and always loved reading Apple Tree Christmas to my first graders ~ a beautiful book in more ways than one. Thanks for reminding me of it! There are special trees in my life too.

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