Climbed Tree to Harvest Grapes

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Tuesday, September 15, 1914:  Climbed an old apple tree after grapes, and got well scratched up.

Source: Wikimedia Commons
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:


It sounds like harvesting grapes is challenging and dangerous work. At least you didn’t fall out of the tree.

Old-fashioned grape vines were much larger than more modern ones. I suppose that the apple tree served as a trellis for the grape vine—and that the grapes were Concord grapes or another similar variety with seeds and slip skins.

26 thoughts on “Climbed Tree to Harvest Grapes

    1. It is a fun turn of the phrase–thought it’s not how I’d say it either. 🙂 I think that the way some things are worded have changed across the last hundred years.

    1. mmm. . . that sounds good. I thought about making jelly from Concord grapes to illustrate this post, but the only Concord grapes I could find were in little one-pound boxes at the supermarket and quite expensive. . . .so I just bought 1 one-pound box and enjoyed eating the grapes,

    1. I wish I could still climb trees, too. I remember that my favorite tree to climb when I was small was a Seckle pear tree. It seemed like the branches were spaced just right for a kid to climb. 🙂

  1. I wonder if her grapes might have been wild ones? I think the muscadine would have grown in her area. It’s amazing to see how high the wild grapes here will climb — well above the height of an apple tree. Hooray for the people who learned how to tame the grape, so we can pick them from a position on the ground!

    1. I bet that she had fun, too. I bet that she still enjoyed climbing trees; and the need to harvest the grapes would have given her an excuse a “kid” activity. 🙂

    1. So do I. I think that she sometimes found it difficult to fit into the role of a 19-year-old adult–and that she enjoying having a reason to climb a tree.

    1. I found some slip-skin “table grapes” at the supermarket. They have a wonderful taste, and I’ve been enjoying eating them–though they are much slower to eat than more modern grape varieties. 🙂

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