Apple Picking at the Homestead

imageI went home to visit my mother at the old Homestead the first weekend in October, picking her up to come to a concert with us near where we live, and then bringing her home two nights later. I bought her some mums on an earlier visit, and this time we added a pumpkin to the old well cover for a little more autumn flair. 🙂image

Before I had to leave to go home myself this time, we decided to pick some apples from the two trees my father and she had planted more than two decades ago. We both love to bake/make pies, and several of my sisters still live in the area and might use some of the apples too.

imageWhen we drove up the driveway, several deer had made their way out of the woods in the back to sample the fruits as well. It was a beautiful sight, watching them. imageAll the wildlife that makes its way through the yard – deer, turkey, rabbits, the crows…even skunks (the babies are adorable) and a few times a fox – is one of the reasons my father loved this home he made for us all.

imageThe tree he planted in the back yard, where the deer were sampling, is a Macintosh , but the one in the front is a mystery. Based on the color, crispness, and flavor of the apples, we’re thinking Cortland or something similar. They’re never sprayed, which is great as far as I’m concerned. I’d rather deal with a few spots than to have pesticides all over the apples.

imageThe trees were loaded with apples this year, so 30 minutes of picking (some with the trusty apple picker on a pole) yielded multiple bags of apples.

It was a beautiful day, crisp and sunny, made all the more wonderful for sharing it with my beloved Ma and having the fun of apple-picking with her too!

imageThe end result was a pan of salted caramel apple bars…and a nice, cinnamon, nutmeg, and brown-sugar laced apple pie! 🙂

Winter Morning Memories

shed in snowThis is a picture of a sight I saw most late winter mornings at the Homestead when I was growing up: the sun rising through the woods out back behind the red shed, casting a pink glow over everything.

We lived on what was called a “rural route” and so the school bus had to come and get us an hour before school actually started, in order to get all the kids necessary and get us all to school in time. So I was usually sitting at the kitchen table at around 6:30am, looking out the windows – which overlooked this back yard – and eating the breakfast Ma insisted I have to “get a good start on the day” before the bus came just before 7:00am.

My mother used to even sing the song of the old-time commercial posted below, to get us to eat our Cream of Wheat with a side of buttered toast and some milk or orange juice. It was from an old radio commercial she heard as a girl in the 1930’s, and it stuck with her; she could always make us smile and eat up when she danced around the kitchen singing it. When the mood strikes, she’ll still sing it for me now, with a twinkle in her eyes, and usually with both of us dissolving into giggles before she’s done. My kids think it’s hysterical. 🙂

It was a peaceful and happy time. I learned some of my love of colors, textures, and the gorgeous trappings of nature as well by watching the changes in the vista I saw each morning in the back yard. Everything was snug, safe, and warm inside the house, the beautiful world outside was just waking up, and it was time to start a new day.

I still enjoy sunrises, though the view around me is sadly far more suburban than country anymore. The sky looks the same, though, wherever I am. ❤

How about you – are you a sunrise kind of person?