The Night Before the Killer Frost

apple harvestTwas the night before the killing frost,

and all thru the house,

not a creature was stirring,

because they were all outside frantically picking apples!

And jalapenos and tomatoes and green beans.

But mostly apples.

Red Delicious. Golden Delicious. Red Rome. Granny Smith.

It was a bumper crop – limb breaking actually.

We filled every box and bucket we could find.

And still we had apples.

We’ve been slowly picking apples for the last two months, picking a box or bag as needed. There are several bags in the freezer, several quarts of apple pie filling on the shelf, and many, many crisps and pies consumed.

I see many, many more pies and crisps in our future.

But not tonight.

Tonight I want a hot shower, and a big cup of tea.

And maybe some chocolate.

Cherry Picking Time!

It’s cherry picking time on the farm. Our pie cherry tree was loaded this year!

basket of freshly picked cherries

The first step was to pick the cherries. Since our tree is a dwarf cherry tree, it was easy to stand on the ground and reach all the cherries. We’ve had three pickings so far, with at least one more.

pitting the cherries by hand

Once we got the cherries inside, we washed them well and started to take the pits or stones out. This can be a log tedious process. It definitely helps to have many children! I just put in a new Adventures in Odyssey Cd for them to listen too and they worked very diligently! (Learned that trick from my mom!)

It is a rather messy job and there was cherry juice all over the table.

The first year I had cherries I just used a knife and cut out each stone. Not good. It was a BIG mess and took lots of time. Then we found three little hand stoner’s. You manually put each cherry in and push the handle which sends the rod into cherry pushing out the stone. Definitely an improvement over the knife, but it was still time consuming.

Cherry Stoner

Then we discovered the mechanical cherry stoner. You could fill the hopper and just keep hitting the plunger as gravity pulls the cherry into position. What an amazing invention!

I picked mine up on clearance last fall and it definitely paid for itself this week! This one is a cheaper version and it needed a little “help” at times to position the cherries or make sure they release. I’m not sure if a more expensive version would have the same hang-ups. This one worked for us and our one little dwarf cherry tree just fine.

We actually did a little experiment and discovered that by using the hand stoner it took about 5 seconds per cherry, but with the mechanical stoner it was only 2 seconds. Hey, time is money!

Cherries bagged and ready for the freezer

Once the cherries were stoned, we put them in zip lock bags, dated them and put them in the freezer. They will make wonderful cherry pies, cobblers, and crisps all winter. If you’d like one of our favorite cherry recipes, check out my other blog The Chocolate Lady Dishes.