Apple Picking & Changing Seasons

Sunday afternoon was one of those perfect fall days – with the sun shining and warm temperatures.

And we spent it in apple trees.

ApplesWell – actually one apple tree mostly – but it had 2 kinds of apples growing in it.

No – I’m not kidding. It is one tree with both the tart Jonathon and the sweet Yellow Delicious apples growing together, side by side.

It’s one of those apple trees from the seed catalogs that’s supposed to grow four different kinds in apples in one tree – except that only 2 of the grafts survived.

An older couple from church planted it several years ago and have blessing people -including us – with apples ever since.

But this year was a little bittersweet.

Apples 2After we spent several hours picking the bumper crop, filling up every container we brought with us, removing the back seat of the van just to get the apples in, and still leaving half of the apples hanging in the tree – we drove in to see their “new” house in town.

Sometime in the next few months, they’ll pack up and leave the farm.

It’s the end of era.

On one hand – I’m so happy and excited for them! They were almost like newlyweds as they showed us around the new house and served us ice cream cones.

But on the other hand – the move will be hard. While they are leaving behind the work and upkeep of the farm, they’re also leaving their home of over 50 years, their livelihood, their lifestyle.

It’s a needed change, but not an easy one.

Bittersweet.

Kinda  like a tree that grows both tart and sweet apples side by side.

Poppers

popperTomatoes best friend- the peppers – are finally starting to really produce. We’ve been waiting all summer to start feeding our popper cravings!

Now I know some people get really fancy with their poppers – with breading and bacon and the whole nine yards.

Personally – I really love them that way, but just can’t justify the time or extra calories several times a week.

So we’ve come up with a much simpler version that allows us to each poppers 3 or 4 nights a week – which is a very happy thing!

We wash the jalapeno peppers, cut off the stem end, and slice them lengthwise. Then we use a metal measuring spoon to dig out the seeds and fill the cavity with cream cheese.

We put them on a foil lined baking sheet and bake them at 350 for about 30 minutes. When they are soft and the cream cheese is brown and bubbly – we just put the entire pan in the middle of the table and feast!

And I do mean feast! It’s every man, woman and child for themselves! We call it the “popper roulette” because you never know whether the one you choose is going to be a hot one.

Every once in a while the chef may leave a popper with the seeds and membranes in it so that one unsuspecting victim will get a a real kick! 🙂

As we shoveled them in tonight, Dagmar wondered if there were any other crazy families out there who sit at the supper table and pop poppers like candy?

I sure hope so! It’s one very tasty family tradition!

I’ve linked this post with Tasty Tuesdays at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam and Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Fresh Picked

I love this season of the year – when my meals are planned around what I pick fresh from the garden.

Corn on the cob – all you can eat. Green beans – lightly steamed and dripping with butter. Summer squash in every form imaginable. And what about the tomatoes!

TomatosIs there anything as wonderful as a fresh, vine-ripened tomato?

Unless it’s something made from that fresh, vine-ripened tomato! Something like BLT’s, fresh salsa, bruschetta, or our favorite – pasta with fresh tomatoes.


Just peel 8 medium tomatoes. Chop, seed and drain.

Combine 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1 clove of garlic (crushed), 1 tablespoon of fresh parsley chopped, 1 teaspoon basil, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 of a green pepper (chopped) and 16 black olives, sliced.

Add tomatoes and set aside at room temperature.

Cook 8 ounces of pasta according to directions. Drain and place in serving bowl. Add tomato mixture and toss. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Yum!

We’re still in the honeymoon stage with tomatoes- enjoying all we can eat fresh – but don’t have quite enough yet to can.

WatermelonThen there’s my pride and joy – my watermelons – both of them.

The melons didn’t like the heat and drought of July. But thanks to the boys faithful watering, we saved one watermelon plant with 2 watermelons on it.

I was a little scared to pick the big one – but my friend Martha just gave it a thunk and proclaimed it done.

She was right – it was perfect!

I may just have to call her to come and thunk the next one in a few weeks. 🙂

So what’s on tonight’s menu?

All you can eat fresh corn on the cob (Pedro holds the record with 6 ears at one meal) and chicken wraps (with roasted yellow squash, green peppers, onions and garlic for the more adventurous eaters!)

Lip-smacking goodness!

Somewhere Between…

We’re in a between place –  it’s not quite summer and it’s not quite fall.

The days are warm and sunny, but the nights are cool and crisp.

School has started, but we’re still wearing shorts and t-shirts.

Melon

My garden is still producing summer crops – like these cantaloupes – all eight of them harvested on one day!

But my fall crop of  apples in the orchard are already starting to ripen.

We picked 5 tubs of apples from a neighbor’s tree this week and canned almost 50 quarts of applesauce – and still have 3 tubs to work up.

Apples

The pears aren’t far behind them.

The cicadas are singing and the world is starting – very slowly – to turn brown.

One season is closing and another is just beginning.

A part of me is ready for the schedule and structure of the fall – yet another part of me already misses the freedom of the summer.

While my mouth still waters for another taste of meat on the grill, I find myself lingering over recipes for warm comforting casseroles and rich thick stews.

We’re hanging in the “between” right now, enjoying the sunshine and beautiful breezes.

For just a little while we can forget the heat and humidity of the past months and the cold and snow that are surely in our future.

Yes, we are most definitely somewhere between and I think it’s a pretty sweet place to be!

Sweet Corn – First Fruits

Sweet Corn Finally!

After several years without, we have finally harvested our very own sweet corn from the garden!

The weather cooperated.

We were able to finally out- smart the coons.

And our 3 layer fence kept the deer out.

It was late – very late. But that just made it more delicious!

We’ve enjoyed several “all-you-can eat” sweet corn meals and even put a few bags in the freezer.

There’s nothing quite as sweet as the food you grew yourself. All the labor, all the effort, all the waiting pays off as you enjoy bite after luscious bite of corn – butter and salt dripping down your chin.

It’s a good life.