Cider Press Hill

Eight pounds of incentive

Friday, 6:32 am

By Kate

Sep

30

2005

sunny

Well, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. This morning the lad came steaming into my room holding one of his favorite sweatshirts. He stuck it under my nose and said, “Smell this!” I took a deep whiff and said, “hmm, cat pee.”

That’s one odor that I can’t stand. And it’s rarely a problem around here. If it was, Abbie wouldn’t be living here. Guaranteed. She is well behaved 99.9% of the time. But I also know that a pile of clothes or a wet towel on the floor are really hard for her to resist. That is her weakness. And, currently, the lad has quite a pile of clothes on his bedroom floor. Again.

Up until now Abbie has never bothered the piles of clothes in his room. But, there may be a bit of acting out involved here. I changed her kitty litter this week from clay to shredded cedar. I have a feeling she doesn’t care for the cedar or the general idea of change.

But, I seized on the opportunity to point out that if he’d pick up his clothes, she wouldn’t be tempted. All he has to do is Pick Up His Stuff. We haven’t made a lot of progress in that regard. In a way, I find it kind of amusing that a little 8 pound cat can accomplish, with one short squat, what I haven’t been able to accomplish in years. The fear that she may do it again will have his room cleaned up in no time tonight. That’s a fact. And the fear that she may do it again will linger for a long time. That’s also a fact. Kind of interesting how these things work out.



 

It's a long way to the bottom

Thursday, 10:01 am

By Kate

Sep

29

2005

partly cloudy

You know, I’m certainly not complaining about this, but I think I have a bottomless pile of wood in my driveway. Would that it be so. Nevertheless, I’ve been hauling and stacking a good portion of the morning, having probably stacked about 3/4 of a cord already and I can’t see that I’ve put much of a dent in the pile in the driveway. I wonder how much wood my wood guy gave me, anyway. Unexpected bounty is always welcome, but man, I’m pooped.



 

Holiday cheer

Thursday, 8:50 am

By Kate

Sep

29

2005

partly cloudy

I stopped by KMart a while ago to get some new work gloves. The old ones being thoroughly worn out. I rounded the first corner toward the tools and garden supplies aisle when twinkling Christmas lights stopped me dead in my tracks. There in the middle of what used to be the garden section was a display of fake Christmas trees and wire form reindeer and candy canes and other sparkly, twinkly, blinking light displays. And Christmas music! In September! Granted, it’s almost October, but we are still officially in September.

What made it even weirder were the Halloween displays surrounding the Christmas oasis.

I found my work gloves, but I still walked out of the store a little dazed. And then turned amused when a man holding his little girl’s hand met his wife outside the store and said to her, “Holy Geez, they’ve got the Christmas stuff up already.”

Glad I’m not the only one who thinks they’re pushing things a little too far.



 

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.



 

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