It’s hard to believe I took these photos weeks ago now and have been meaning to share them here. Are our little days really so busy? But they are. Each new school year brings longer school days it seems, and more activities in the afternoons. Although I’m happy with the schedule and rhythm we have set up, it is a challenge making time to get on here and blog. Day’s end finds me exhausted as I crawl into bed, however a good and satisfied kind of tired it is.
Anyway, back to the belated photos. A few weeks ago Brandon’s parents came for the weekend to visit and we decided to take everyone to a local orchard. It was one of the first chilly days and we (happily!) pulled out our sweaters. We live in the heart of apple country with many orchards to choose from (though we wish there were more organic options). Hoping to avoid the crowds, we kept to the rows picking fruit rather than doing the other activities the orchard offers. It was a sweet time together, everyone becoming like children again hunting for apples without blemishes and filling up boxes and wagons with their finds. Walking amongst rows spiced with that particular sweet, musky scent of fallen and decomposing apple, everyone on a treasure hunt for hidden red and green baubles, one can’t help but feel rejuvenated and refreshed. We took home one small box and a few days later I washed and peeled them and made a delicious batch of applesauce, about the easiest thing you can do with fresh apples. Sweet memories were made and fall feelings began to warm our hearts . ❤
We live in the vicinity of many, many apple orchards. It’s become a fall tradition of ours to go apple picking, which is always a really sweet time. I mean, don’t get me wrong–there are plenty of whiney moments, too, from all of us. This particular Saturday a few weeks ago was a scorcher, so we were all pretty hot and tired by the end of our venture. This particular orchard had an apple gun, so we treated the kids to a round of shooting apples, but only philippa, our fearless one, really wanted to give it a shot. We let the kids each fill a basket and B and I filled one, too. We ended up with more apples than we really needed. It’s good and important for the children to connect with our food in this way, to see how it’s grown, to pick it and wash it and then eat it. To understand it comes from seed and soil and sun, to smell the squashed apples around the orchard. It really does seem to make a difference in how they/we consume food. I wish there was a good organic orchard nearby, but there isn’t. I made a large batch of applesauce which the kids all love and have been enjoying, as well as an apple pie recipe that a friend shared with me (a family recipe), which I adapted to be GF. I still have a large amount of apples in my fridge waiting to be processed and enjoyed. The children and I have so enjoyed leaning into the change of seasons here, dancing a bit on the edge of the last heat of summer and the cool crisp mornings of autumn. My roses and hydrangea are still blooming, most trees are still green, but summer is on its way out, and I am so glad.
Every fall we make a trip to a local apple orchard. It was busier this year than ever before, a hustle of bustle, so maybe next year we will hunt for someplace more obscure. The introvert in me was a bit bewildered. I barely pulled myself together to get out the door that morning, having had a night of insomnia and only a few hours sleep. But my sweet nephew E was in town, and I wanted to take him and my kids to do something fun, so we pulled ourselves together. No pretty outfits and not much fanfare, but I did manage to grab a library book we had called “Apple Pie Tree” and coloring sheets/crayons. Why not squeeze in a bit of school (said every homeschooling mom ever)?
The kids hunted for apples, we sat in a quiet place between rows of trees after picking a few and learned about the parts of an apple. We looked around for a few more apples, only picking enough for the children to be able to carry. I have no hopes of canning up applesauce as I have done in years past. We explored the orchard, visiting the ducks and sheep and goats, the peacocks and playgrounds. Rainey treated them to a tractor hayride, which was the delight of all. Then we spread out our blanket again and had a picnic before heading home. I read to them from our apple tree book, and as always, little munchers are rapt listeners. After we were home and children were resting/napping, I peeled and cored and sliced and made a gluten-free apple pie using the recipe from the back of the library book. Simple ingredients and a heavenly smell.
You can read about our visit to the apple orchard with friends last year here.