Cider Press Hill

YAY!

Wednesday, 11:26 am

By Kate

Sep

28

2005

sunny

Maybe there is a God and maybe he isn’t a Republican after all. One slimebucket removed, who’s next?



 

Wood delivery

Wednesday, 6:07 am

By Kate

Sep

28

2005

sunny

My wood guy called this morning. I will be the happy owner of two cords of two year old oak and maple wood by late this afternoon. He’s not exactly charging cheap prices this year, but less than last year, so I’m not going to quibble. It’ll still end up costing a lot less than heating with gas—assuming we’ll still have gas by December. He provides me with excellent wood and he’ll drop a little more than 2 cords in the driveway. Which means, I’ll be very busy stacking wood for the next three days.

The lad has an away track meet this afternoon, so he won’t be around to help. Bet his heart will drop to his toes when he sees the monstrous pile in the driveway when he gets home tonight. On the other hand, he’s been dinging at me to get wood for the past three weeks, so maybe he’ll just be relieved. He’s a good worker, so any help he can give me in the next couple of days will make the job go that much faster. I’ll be very happy when it’s all stacked and tarped. Then I can stand back and heave a huge sigh of relief. Having a big wood pile gives me a real sense of winter security.



 

Freshly picked apples

Wednesday, 4:22 am

By Kate

Sep

28

2005

sunny

Yesterday while I was out and about, I decided to swing by the nearby apple orchard. It was a spur of the moment decision, but since I was already out and in the general vicinity....

Autumn is all about fresh apples and bright orange pumpkins. For me, anyway. Add a bright blue sky, a big white barn, and a few turning leaves and it’s a postcard scene. The apple farm has been around for many years. It used to be a working dairy farm and the barn still has its stalls and pens intact. Each is used for a particular product—lots of home made preserves, pickles, and relishes are sold on consignment during apple season. Off to the side in one section of the big barn is a bakery devoted to fresh donuts. They are made pretty much the old fashioned way without a lot of commercial equipment. The result is the kind of donut that makes a Dunkin Donut or a Krispy Creme pale by comparison. Walking into the barn is a pure holiday for the nose.

There were a dozen or so varieties of apples for sale yesterday. All freshly picked that morning. The small handwritten signs attached to the huge bins of apples tell what they are best used for and why. Some hold their firm flesh during baking. Some nearly melt into a smooth sauce. Others are tart for baking and some sweet for eating. I chose a peck of McIntosh. They are best for apple sauce. I like their consistency in pies, too. On my way out, I bought one donut to munch on the way back to the car. Only one. It’s a yearly treat reserved for visits to the apple farm.

On the way home, the bag of apples sitting in the passenger seat next to me started giving off an incredible aroma. A few miles down the road the whole car sweetened with apple scent. I reached over and selected one from the top of the bag. Partly green and partly red, it looked plump and firm. Now, for most of the year, I’m accustomed to biting into supermarket apples, which are mushy and mealy by mid-winter. I forget, every year, what a fresh McIntosh is like. I bit into the apple and it was crunchy. And juicy. And so tart that my face puckered up, yet sweet at the same time.

According to the farm’s handwritten signs, the McIntosh are best used within three days of picking. They’ll last for much longer, but with time the tartness fades and sweetness grows. For baking, they are the very best soon after picking. I didn’t get to work making apple sauce or a pie yesterday. Which leaves me with two more days before the apples begin to lose their tartness. The canning jars are all assembled and waiting for their hot water bath. I think I’ll get started with apple sauce making today. The house will be redolent and as the fragrance pours out the back door, it’ll make the honey bees crazy. Before I’m finished there will be at least a couple clinging to the screen door trying to figure out how to get to the source of that fragrance. It happens every year.