October 22, 2013

Pin the Eye on the Cyclops, and other fun

On Sunday in mid-October, we held a joint birthday party for Violet and Millie. Violet is turning 7, Millie is turning 5. It is a lot of work for us to do the party, and they share many of the same friends, so it makes sense to have a combined party. The weather was great, and everyone had fun.

October 7, 2013

Apple Picking 2013

A few weeks ago we took a trip out to our usual apple picking venue, Red Apple Farm. Every year, they seem to add new facilities, and every year it gets a bit more crowded. Still, we all had a fun day and hauled home a decent sized load of excellent fresh apples.

First order of business was to get everyone lunch. There was a big group of guys with motorcycles there, and one of the bikers came over to ask if we were Mennonites, pointing to the head scarves the ladies were sporting. He looked a little disappointed when I said they were just cloths treated with insect repellent, the better to keep the lyme disease laden ticks at bay.

Child 1 was ready to get on with it before anyone else was done eating.

After lunch, we picked out our pumpkins from the pumpkin field.

Baby pumpkins too

Good thing we had plenty of helpers to transport the bounty.

Of course we had to feed the animals on the way to the apple trees

It was too early in the season for the Roxbury Russets I usually like to get loads of, so instead we focused on Rhode Island Greening, with some Empire thrown in for fresh eating.

The last couple years we have been short on acid in the cider mix, and Greening has a good measure of that. It makes a fine pie filling, and is pretty good out of hand as well. Here is Child 1 wearing my shoes, munching on an Empire (I think).

So we picked 5 bushels of apples (~90kg). One bushel will be turned into pie fillings to go in the freezer and to cider weekend dinner, some will be eaten fresh, and the rest will go into the cider two weeks hence. The kids helped pick, then they discovered all the milkweed seed pods interspersed in the orchard rows.

Milkweed fiber is lovely and silky; has anyone tried to spin it? Maybe the fiber is too short a staple to get anywhere with spinning.

The evolutionary pressures which have endowed the species with nice fiber in the seedpod indeed resulted, in this case, in improved chances for reproduction (assisted by certain mammals).

We took a hay ride

and took a walk to one of the farm ponds to poke around.

Finally, we returned to the farm store to fortify ourselves with more cider donuts and apple dumplings, then drove back to town.