Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons with the start of the new school year, foliage beginning to change and the onset of cooler days and nights. One of our memorable pastimes was to pick apples in a local orchard.
We brought our own containers - a variety of boxes, bushel baskets and tubs. For consistency in measuring how much we picked, the orchard provided their own bushel baskets to use during the picking process, then the apples were gently transferred to our own. It was lucky for us that they could not measure how many apples we managed to eat while picking.
There was an especially bountiful harvest one autumn when my son Jason was six years old. He and I had recently moved back to my hometown after living in the "City", that is, anywhere north of Interstate 80, as far as my Dad was concerned. It was a beautiful cool, crisp day with the sun shining as we drove to the orchard with Mom & Dad.
The trees were just covered with a terrific selection of big juicy apples that year: Jonathans, Red Delicious, Yellow Delicious and McIntosh. Naturally, we had to grab the biggest shiniest ones to taste test before we could begin picking.
As we moved from tree to tree, Jason delighted in running ahead to survey the next target and cry, "Wow, look at all the big ones on THIS tree!" It was so easy to get caught up in the moment of fun & discovery that the four of us ended up picking seven full bushels of apples.
That was a huge amount of apples for us or for anyone. Fortunately, I had an old spare refrigerator in my garage, so we were able to pack it full with the apples that didn't fit into our main refrigerators. With all that food stockpiled, we stuffed ourselves (as well as family, friends and neighbors) with all manner of scrumptious apple delicacies.
The delicious aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg filled our house almost every day. We had apple pie, apple crisp, apple cake, apple coffeecake and apple pudding. And still we had more apples.
We had fried apples, caramel apples, taffy apples, apple butter, apple salads, apple muffins and apple dumplings. And still we had more apples.
Jason took brightly polished red and yellow apples to school for his birthday treat, and for his teacher, too. For Christmas, we even hung shiny red apples by ribbons onto our tree. And still we had more apples.
We had enough apples to last us all through that Fall and Winter and into Spring. By the time we had finally finished eating all those apples, I realized two things: 1) an apple a day really does keep the doctor away because we didn’t get sick all winter long, and 2) I never EVER got tired of apples!