Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Apple Picking Adventures - and - A Recipe That will Double Your Love For Fall!

Oh happy fall!! Isn't this time of year glorious?? Several years ago, I read this quote by William Cullen Bryant: 
Autumn, the year's last loveliest smile.
His words seem to capture every pure and perfect joy of the season.  Last week several families from our homeschool group met for apple picking at a local orchard.  When I saw the announcement for the excursion on our Facebook page, I was beyond excited, and couldn't wait to spend a few glorious hours outdoors in nature with the boys.
The day was cool and overcast, even sprinkling at times.  The crisp air and light precipitation made the apples on the trees sparkle, the lanes of deep, dense foliage glow.  Steve and I both noticed that there was a lovely feeling of calm, a sort of gentleness to the orchard that was so inviting and wonderfully relaxing.
The very kind and generous owners of the orchard gave us permission to eat as much as we wanted, which filled the boys with an eagerness to try each and every variety.  We were all very tickled at Charlie, who must have eaten a dozen apples, biting into one after another, juice dripping down the curves of his little chin, and stuffing the cores deep in the pocket of his hoodie.

Oh, sweet innocence!
It was quite a site to stand under the arching branches and look up into the boughs of twigs and leaves weighed down with great masses of fruit.  I loved the way the boys took their time carefully scanning each tree for the perfect piece of deliciousness, then strategically shimmying the apple picker beneath their fruit of choice, tugging gently until it popped off the branch.  Victory!!
A few of the varieties we enjoyed picking and sampling were Braeburn, Pink Lady (very crisp with a tart, lemonade like finish), Gala and our favorite, Criterion.  I had never heard of that variety before. Criterion are green, like a Granny Smith, but sweeter and very crisp and juicy. I wish this variety was available in stores, because I would buy them often.
One of the great highlights of the outing was that Steve was able to come with us.  This is such a rare occasion, as his responsibilities with work don't afford him many daytime opportunities to join us for school events.  
The boys loved having him along, and I did too! Holding Joey for the entire morning, he gave my arms a much needed break, so that I could walk freely along the lanes with the older ones.

As we strolled out of the orchard to the owner's homestead to pay for the apples, Andrew mentioned to me that his experience at the orchard made him want to grow all of his own food, because it would be much more fun than going to the grocery store.  All of the boys chimed in then, and eagerly requesting that Steve and I fill the yard with fruit trees so that they can pick and eat all they want!
We all tried to guess just how many pounds of apples we had picked.  Henry's guess was spot on - twenty pounds!  The owner let little Charlie stand up on the scale, too, which he thought was quite fun.
On the drive home, the boys laid out all of their requests for baking with the apples - pie, muffins, applesauce and most of all our family favorite, Warm Apple Cake with Cinnamon Bourbon Sauce. We make it every year, and always say we should have it more often.  I hope you enjoy the recipe as much as we do!


  1. Oh yay! Looks like you found a great orchard, how fun!! We got the "How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World" book in a few weeks ago and it was an instant favorite. Thanks again for the recommendation. Can't wait to try the apple cake recipe, yum!

    1. I really love those two books - in fact I might just have to post a little ditty on them sometime next week! Let me know what you think of the recipe - I'm always willing to tweak it!

  2. Oh my goodness that cake looks delish! Wish I had a big piece in front of me right now!

    And your boys are so handsome!! What great pictures!

  3. We have a bucket full of apples waiting for me. I'm thinking this cake is the next thing to be made. Yum!
    I love your boys' enthusiasm for growing their own food. True farmers those boys are!

  4. Ooooh this recipe sounds delicious! I wish there could be apple orchards in Texas -- your adventure looks absolute magical!

    1. I have loved every single visit I've been able to make to Texas. If we weren't in Kansas, we'd definitely be in Texas!!

  5. Susan, these pictures are just the sweetest. I can't help but to see God's blessings poured out in your life with all those boys and a great husband! The recipe looks like one I'll need to try, too - thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Elise! Your kinds words are so encouraging!


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