i decided that we needed a regular, ‘take the girls out and do something’ special day. adventure day. its gong to be adventure tuesday.
apple picking. cordelia has a set of molars coming in that are ruining her naps, so after it became clear that she was not going to sleep today we changed the diapers, grabbed some canvas bags, loaded babies in the car and drove 40 minutes out to a really tiny family-run organic apple picking farm. really tiny. we were the only ones there today. us and a field of pigs and some dwarf variety of cattle.
we went inside, the lady told us how it goes – fill a bag, pay $25. its something like 20lbs a bag she said. other than that, you pay by the pound for $1.50 per pound. since these apples are to be turned into mason jars of apple sauce we went the bag route. took one bag with us, went off to scout of the orange-ribbon marked ‘pick these’ trees.
jim picked a tiny, almost golf-ball sized apple and handed it to cordelia, and she followed us up and down the row steadily demolishing this little apple and ‘helping’ by picking some leaves off a tree occasionally. i wasnt exactly that helpful either because i had blaze on my front and blaze wanted to suck her thumb and doze, not be tilted, squashed or crowded by leafy branches while i tried to reach far-away apples. i picked apples off the ground that were perfectly fine and must have just dropped off the trees within the last couple days. we filled a $25 dollar bag in no time. then we decided that if we were getting out the pressure canner for this one, we may as well go all-in and fill another bag. we took our full bag (we both think it was considerably more than 20 lbs) and traded it for an empty one. somebody called the pigs over for an apple-peel feast, jim took cordelia over to watch. apparently all the pigs lined up nicely along the fence staring at cordelia while she commented and pointed at them, and then when they realized that she wasnt going to give them her apple they wandered off and went to do their own thing, which largely was harass the cattle in the upper end of the field. we filled our other bag just as quickly. now we have WAY TOO MANY apples sitting in two huge bags taking up a lot of space on the kitchen table. we should have weighed the bags before we started slicing, but i bet its over 50 lbs.
WEDNESDAY: took the bigger piccolo to her grandparents, snuggled the smaller piccolo in her sling, and slowly sliced our way through a ridiculous amount of apples. i was in-and-out of the project while i also had my hands busy with blaze, jim stuck to it and mostly did the whole thing by himself. looking at the bags, i had estimated we would get about 4-5 jars from each bag, so maybe 8 or 9. big jars, not the half-sized ones. maybe 10 at the very most.
after cooking down the first pot (we have two pots going at the same time, each at a different stage of cooking) and filling the first two jars, jim then estimated that we would have something like 16 jars. shows how good i am at estimating something that i have no experience in. this was interesting because we only had 12 jars.
the applesauce is strong-flavoured, slightly sour. a stick of cinnamon went in with each pot, and theres some freshly ground cloves and allspice in the sauce as well. in one pot we used the last of our very ripe pears and made a pear-apple version, with nutmeg. it smells like pie in here. the sauce is ‘rustic-y’ style with little bits from the core and small chunks of skin, stringy apple bits that would have, if we were a grocery store, been strained out. its delightfully pink.