Monday, October 3, 2011

Ooohhhhhh, can you feel it??

It's fall!!!

I love fall, but most people already know that. Apples (preferably cooked ones with cinnamon and brown sugar), hot soup, turning leaves, falling acorns, and pumpkins everywhere. I have a thing for pumpkins. It's probably not healthy, but hey, I can't help it. They are just too cute!! And the things you can do to decorate them, or with them. But I digress.

It's fall and that means it's time for apples, which for us means a trip to the mountains. Yay!!

We thought picking the Granny Smiths was tricky - trying to get one without the adjacent ones getting knocked off, until we got to the red delicious. There were so many, and they were growing so close together we eventually had someone try to stand under where some of us were picking so they could catch whatever else fell. The trees were very prolific this year.

Kind of looks like Kay is spying on someone doesn't it?
Maybe she was - she's good at helping to keep an eye on younger siblings.
T.Lynn and I looking for a good Granny Smith tree.
The first several trees on each row had been picked pretty bare, but if you went further down the rows the trees were still heavy with apples.
Beenie and T. looking for small apples for some friends with younger children.
Bree and T.Lynn.
I asked Ri how T. got into so many of the pictures and was told she is Ri's favorite subject. T. says that's because she is the only one who'll voluntarily be in a photo. Ri only partially agrees.
Bree was probably our fastest picker this year. She decided not to use one of the picking baskets, preferring to walk around and choose trees with apples still on the lower limbs. Everytime I turned around she was heading back our way with her arms overflowing with apples.
These were her secret weapons. She remembered from last year's trip, and had the forethought to wear her boots so she could get much closer to the trees. Although the pathways between the trees had been mown down fairly well, the area right under the trees wasn't and there tended to be various plants with thorns growing all around the bases. Since most of us wore our standard footwear for about 70% of the year (that would be flipflops) we just didn't want to get that close. The rest of us will have to keep that in mind next year.
All in all, we picked 6 bushels. Only five were for us. One was for one of the families at church.
2 bushels of Granny Smiths (1 1/2 for us and 1/2 for them), 2 bushels of red delicious (1 1/2 for us and 1/2 for them), 1 bushel of Fugi, and 1 bushel that was a mix of Braeburns and Romes.
Draining juice from the apple pulp.
So far we've only processed about half a bushel of the red decicious, but from that we got 13, 1/2pt jars of apple jelly, 12, 1/2pt, and 1, 4oz jars of cinnamon apple jelly (would have had a full 13, but my pot overboiled - that was fun to clean up), and 5, 1/2pt, and 16, 4oz jars of apple butter.

Now for the other 4 1/2 bushels.

In addition to the apple orchard, we went by one of my favorite country stores while we were up there. They have the best assortment of dried beans and ham side meat and hocks for flavoring those beans. All the paper sacks have dried beans - pintos, kidney, navy, and great northerns. They also have locally produced honey (we got a small one with the comb too) and sorghum molasses.
And just look at that head of cabbage. It was huge. As soon as I picked it up Ri and Bree started talking about all the soup we could make with it.
We keep peppermint on hand for when someone gets a headache, but I couldn't stroll through their candy bins without letting the girls get a couple of other things as well.:D
And finally, I'll leave you with a few mountain shots we got as we were driving down.
We were actually much closer than these pictures lead you to believe.
This is the original panoramic shot Ri took and in it you can see how the clouds kind of framed the mountains so they show up much better than they would have.
One of my favorites was this one she got as the sun was setting.
We were a bit higher on the mountain for this photo.

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  1. The fruit looks delicious and the scenery is spectacular in your area. Being tropical we don't grow apples locally. This haul should keep you going for a long time!

  2. Thank you. Though I can't take credit for the beautiful scenery, I can certainly agree with your assessment. I love being so close to the mountains. We're only about an hour or so away from the closest mountains.
    Most of the apples will be for canning. It's a bit too warm down here to keep apples through the winter unless you have a root celler or spring house. If the garage faced north they would even keep fairly well in there for a couple of months, but ours faces south, so it's gets decently warm in there off and on throughout the winter.