Autumn is a busy time on a farm. The small dairy farm where I grew up was no exception.
The beginning of the school year (last week of August, usually) did not change the rhythm of work, but it did influence the ratio of youth and adult labor for some tasks.
The garden produced a final push of items to be dug, picked, and then stored in cool, dry places or processed in quart jars. Fields of corn were drying, the kernels drawing moisture from stalk and leaves before hardening inside the husk.
On a pleasant day during this time, my parents would discuss, plan, and take us on a trip to the orchard. In our region this meant apples. Exactly which orchard depended on which variety of apples each offered. Distance from home was also a consideration, but dad was willing to drive more than a few miles.
We didn’t “pick your own” although some of the locations may have offered the options. I remember walking into the storage shed with baskets and baskets of red and green apples lining the aisles. Their sweet and tart aromas filled the senses and begged for a sample of each.
Wealthy. McIntosh. Jonathan. Red Delicious. Northwest Greening.
Do they keep well? Do they make good pie? Are they an eating apple?
Mother asked the questions if the varieties were new to her. Selections were made. One bushel of those. Another bushel of that one. Just a peck if we were uncertain. And a gallon of cider if it was available.
Fond memories. A good family outing with delicious results sprinkled through the months in cobblers, applesauce, and pie. Mmmmmmmm.