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Monday, September 25, 2006

Gathering apples in Eden

I can not stress this enough, if you want to homestead, then talk about the things you want or need.

I was talking with my mother-in-law, asking her about an orchard that was down her way selling pick your own apples for twenty nine cents US a pound. Not a bad deal, considering our local grocer is selling them for $1.29 US a pound. After losing the phone number to the orchard, and not remembering the name of the place, my mother-in-law said she would ask someone at her work and see if they knew. Lunchtime the next day, I had the phone number and name of this orchard, and my mother-in-law saying that there was a man she worked with that wants me to come out to his place and pick all the apples I want. . . FREE. I immediately jumped on that one, and told her we would be out Sunday. We needed to justify the drive {about an hour} and my niece's birthday party was down in that area on Sunday.

We followed my in-laws further out into the middle of nowhere, one of those places where what is labeled as a public road is really a private drive. And found ourselves in Eden.
Picking apples in Eden. My in-laws think I am slightly more odd then before, because I got a big kick out of this, and had to take a picture. I digress, we arrived late in the afternoon and were greeted my the biggest {overweight} dogs I have seen in awhile. Very friendly, and just a little too excited to see children. My 2-year-old- was face licked to the ground twice, and my 5-year-old- was bum rushed from behind. My oldest discovered that they liked eating rotten apples, and distracted them with fetch until the owner could gather the dogs up and put them away.

We brought with us one bushel basket and two boxes that held slightly over one bushel. The property owner showed us where his apple trees where and explained which ones were good for "eatin" and which ones where the best "bakin" apples. Then left us alone to pick. My parent-in-laws stayed to help, as my 3 children found it more satisfying to beam each other with the rotten apples. Our 2-year-old got his grandpa a few times, and my husband shook out a tree, only to have the apples fall on his mother's head as she gathered from lower branches.

My father-in-law and I started with the baking apples. We had our bushel basket full in no time.

I left the basket under the tree and went to help fill the other two boxes. The next time I looked up, Grandpa had found a wooden crate in the woods and was gathering more baking apples. I walked back over to him and helped gather them up. My children were coerced into helping as well.
With the wooden crate filled, it was back to helping the other's fill the last box. We where having a grand time. We laughed and joked, it felt good to be apple picking as a family. And then I looked back to grandpa. He had found a milk crate and was filling it with the green baking apples. Maybe he wants some for himself? sure sure. Then I hear the owner calling out to us, he had found an empty box for us to use. My 5-year-old discovered a plastic bag inside our new box and was excited! He took the bag and began to place apples into it, as we filled the box.

What started off as a little adventure to gather 3 bushels of free apples turned into an expedition that landed us over 6 bushels. Approximately 250 lbs {113 Kg} of apples!

Our car groaned a bit once we finagled the boxes into the trunk. I will be making apple butter, applesauce, apple chips, apple pie filling, and apple juice until I choke. My question for you is. . . what else should I do with so many apples?

I adore old barns and windmills. While we were picking apples, this barn was to our backs. I looked inside, and noticed that is was not being used as a ground floor storage as so many old barns are. We are going to talk to the owner about pulling it down for him, if we get to keep the barn wood.

The owner of the apple orchard on Eden, invited us back out next year to gather as many peaches as we want, and he would let us know when the apples are ready again. We found a wonderful hook-up until our trees start producing. 250 pounds {113 Kg} of apples, and all we spent was about $10 US on gas. Of course there is labor involved, but nothing that I do not enjoy doing.

On a side note, my blog has been critiqued. You can read what was said here at Critique my blog


lisa said...

What fun! I love apple picking, but I agree that such "sucess" can be a bit overwhelming. One lady I used to know canned up "apple pie filling"-pre-spiced and ready to go, so she could just open a jar and make a pie whenever.

Cheryl said...

Wow, it looks like you hit the jackpot! And peaches too?!
Lucky duck.

Merry said...


There's an apple dessert that my grandma gave my mom andI the recipe for - it's good, but I don't think it's cannable. I'll post it on my LJ later today - I have to hussle to get ready for class and drink my tea. Oh no...20 minutes?!

Carl said...

Well you could do what we are doing.
Hard Cider is always nice.

Stephanie said...


Jessie said...

That's a bunch of apples! My mom used to make baked cinnamon apples that were delicious. We would have them with pork chops. I don't know where the recipe is now but I'll look for it...

alrescate said...

Ooooh. Baked apples with pork chops! Yum....

Of course now I've got the Brady Bunch stuck in my head. ("Pork chops and applesauce.")

Julie said...

Any good recipes for apple dumplings? I've been thinking about trying that this year. Maybe try that and let me know how they turn out?

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