Sunday, December 2, 2007

Last Gasp for Apples

The apples are pretty much done for the year. A week or two of on-and-off below freezing made sure of that. It was a tough year for apples altogether. The Empire Macs were small, really small, and several of our Jonagold trees took the year off entirely. The Mutsu muscled through though, as usual. And as usual, they were the hardiest in withstanding the cold. Above, we have a little poetic license along with a fine batch of mitsu apples bathing in our sink, awaiting the juicer. We canned about five big jars of juice and that was that. The unprocessed apples on the porch, the ones we meant to turn into pies and applesauce and whathaveyou: toast. Frostbitten toast.

We don't sell our apples, as we have an agreement with a local orchard: They care for the apples all year and, aside from the reasonable number of trees we request, they collect and sell them at their farm store. Someday maybe we'll have the equipment and time to make a go with the apples, and to grow them organically, but for now, they are a hobby at best, the source of a multitude of yellowjackets at worst. This year, we gave a ton of our apples away to friends and family and also invited the kids' classes to come out for a day of applepicking, but we didn't ever get serious with our own harvest. We were SO busy, occupied with unexpected events of every stripe, AND the ATV (used for trucking carts of apples) is broken indefintely AND all Dan's scant spare time has been tied up in building the sheep shed forever (See "Any Day Now") AND, antlike, we've been trucking loads of (very expensive) hay up the hill in the minivan whenever we have a chance. This year's apples just got lost in the shuffle.

Next year we'll do better, we'll be more organized, perfect our cold storage room down in the barn, can applesauce and applebutter, make and freeze dozens of pies. Right? um, right.

Here's to facing next year with high hopes, anyway...

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