One of our favorite fall traditions is to head north to Erie Orchard. I checked their website and saw that they were open for Labor Day weekend and would be serving ribs, etc, and that the end-of-season peaches were ready along with some earlier apple varieties. Dada has started a low-carb diet (fool, just kidding honey!) and wasn't exactly thrilled with the idea of getting fruits high in natural sugars, but he gamely drove our crew up there anyway. When he tested one of the plump, juicy peaches, he brightened up considerably and figured he could always freeze them until he's allowed to weave them back into his diet. Three-fourths of a bushel of peaches later, we also had some apples and three pumpkins and a dozen donuts (half apple, half blueberry, all with sugar and cinnamon dustings) and a gallon of cider to take home!
Erie Orchard also has blueberries to pick, but we haven't made it up there to do that the last few summers. They also host hay rides, a corn maze, and a million crafters especially on their busier weekends. I prefer going at the very beginning of the season when there's a million apples to pick and way fewer people. I'm just not into crowds.
It was pretty empty on Saturday, just a handful of families doing their own apple picking, and the lady who checked us out was astounded that we'd found that many peaches. She told us we were the only family she'd even seen pick any! We had had a tip from the guy who checked us in and told us which apple varieties were ready. He told us the peaches that were still on the trees were just perfect right now. I think Dada was pretty skeptical, but as I mentioned, he quickly became a believer. Damon was harder to convince:
For whatever reason, he just wasn't digging the fresh-off-the-tree peaches. I guess he takes after his mother.
The kids love picking and love that they can ride around in the back of Pepe the Pilot with the door up and no seat belts. We have a lot of favorites at Erie Orchard. Carrie loves the goats, again, for whatever reason. Liam loves all things apple. Damon just loves to run around like a nut, but I expect donuts and cider rank right up there with his favorites.
Haha, that one was a little tart! (The apple, not Carrie.)
Have I mentioned our dehydrator has been working overtime? We have already given a big baggie of apple chips to our favorite Richards crew, and we have a bag and a half here. I'M TALKING APPLES FROM OUR OWN TREES! We haven't dried any of the ones from Erie Orchard, knowing ours are on the tart side and that we wanted eating apples. I've even made a batch of applesauce that has the Pap seal of approval:
We are going to have apple-flavored everythings coming out of ears. I'd bake more, but my oven runs hot:
Weeping. That's the sound you hear. Burnt pretzel crust. Weeping. Weeping, raging, fury.
So what does one do when one is desperate for strawberry jello pretzel salad and the stupid oven crisps it?
One simply chisels out the middle and proceeds:
Where was I? Oh, apples.
"Is this a kissing book?" ~The Princess Bride
No, sorry. Just got carried away. Speaking of Carrie:
We have been hunting for Hinrew corn, but because of the flooding in early summer, the corn is all sizes this year and nobody is standing out like a Hinrew. This whole field was about TwoCarriesHigh, or probably Hinrew sized!
Then there's the processing once you get home:
We haven't done anything peach-related since living in The Last Resort, which was pre-Liam, so we had to Google how to blanch peaches and peel and process and all that jazz. Now we have 5 ziplock bags of frozen peach slices and chunks, peach pits to scrub clean, dry, freeze, and attempt to plant just for the heck of it, and a brand new compost bin full of apple and peach discards and dried, crunchy leaves, eggshells, coffee grounds, banana peels, etc. We're giving it the old college try...
Grandma Barb got to listen to Liam do some of his 400 oral reading minutes for the month:
Yes, you read that right. All our kids devour books, but Liam's teacher is of the belief that if they read out loud then they're really reading. Soooooo, we listen to a lot of books with a lot of inflection around here. Four hundred minutes a month. She has three children of her own- what was she thinking?!
Now that it's fall-ish, we're seeing tons of pretty bugs and sneaky bugs, and lots of bugs in general:
And we're having plenty of silly conversations and living life. I'll close with this original comic strip by Carrie (remember to click on it to see it larger):