It was 35 degrees this morning when I went to work. While last week there was a flame of leaves here and there and we chalked it up to the sick trees turning earlier than all the others, yesterday as I was driving up the mountain road, I had to force myself to notice that it was only every 4th tree that was green rather than the other way around. The sun shining bright is no longer an indication of the temperature and last night there was a threat of the first hard frost. Tuesday was the Autumnal equinox and it was dark at 7:30. Winter is approaching and after barely a month of definable summer, I am not ready to see it go. I'm cold.
With that said, things I look forward to are warm sweaters, the need to cuddle up under a heap of blankets, carving pumpkins, my birthday of course, the gorgeous leaves (even if it means the world will no longer be lush, as they slowly drop to coat the ground), Oktoberfest (which is this weekend I might add), Apple picking and Apple Sauce!
As the seasons start to show signs of change, I begin to take natures cue to start preparing for the cold winter months ahead. My usual and as of yet, only, contribution to the winter store cupboard is applesauce. It is a yearly ritual at this point, going into our fourth year, to spend a day taking a trip to Shelburne Orchards to scavenge for our yearly supply. I prefer Macintosh and Cortland so we usually go mid to late September. We pick, I use the word loosely, drops. All those apples that fall off the trees before anyone can get to them. We crouch in the cave of the fruit heavy trees sifting through the tall grass and or fresh cut hay, picking up each apple, checking it for bruises and bug holes. We decided this year that I have a half bag attention span. I fill half a bag before I start loosening my guidelines on apple quality. I start thinking "good enough" or "I can cut that out" or I start coming up with bruise to apple size proportional ratios before I have to put my mind back to focusing on properly choosing worthy fruit. It's not about a quick and easy novelty trip it's about taking our time and making each apple count and most certainly making our work worth the half dozen cider donuts we treat ourselves to after a hard day of picking and they in fact rarely even make it to the road. Mmm. Did I mention that was one of the pros of fall?