Foraging apples.









Is it apple time already?

This hot, dry summer has had me longing for some crisp fall days. And while autumn is still a ways off, the apples have begun to ripen.

Like so many crops they are early this year.

Last week we slipped away for six days at my parent's cabin on the Wolf River. (You probably didn't miss me because I posted while we were away. Hooray for technology and the "select publication date" feature on Typepad.)

During our vacation Lupine and I visited a wild apple "orchard" that we pick at every year. We went twice, and on the first foraging day we had a conversation I want to remember always. It went like this:

Lupine: "Mama, this is the best day of my entire life."

Me: "Oh, Lupine. I'm so glad. Thank you for being my foraging buddy."

Lupine (as she threw her arms around my waist): "Thank you for being my foraging buddy, Mama!"

At which point my heart melted into a big puddle of love.

Sigh. Sweetness overload.

A few of our favorite trees were ripe already, including this one that Lupine has nicknamed "Cake" because, well, "it tastes like cake."

I've been picking this particular tree for more than 20 years. (Though I've always simply referred to it as "my favorite apple tree" rather than "Cake", though her name has grown on me and now I call it "Cake" too.)

My grandpa and I used to pull his old pick up tree underneath and fill the bed with apples for baiting deer, and yes, apples for saucing and eating.

I always made sure the deer didn't get any good ones from this tree.

This old tree is nearing the end. It's split and rotting out on the inside. It's much smaller than it use to be, as one whole section had dropped off in the past five years. I'm planning on grafting a branch onto a younger tree so we can continue to enjoy Cake Apples for many more years. I think I'd better hurry or I'll lose my opportunity. 

In all, Lupine and I picked one large cooler-full. It's in the kitchen now, brimming with the ugly-yet-delicious apples. Today we'll juice (for our first experiments in hard cider making) but mostly we'll sauce.

And I can hardly wait.

(My instructions for making and canning apple sauce are here.)


15 thoughts on “Foraging apples.

  1. Kristina says:

    I am looking at these pictures of Lupine and I cannot get over how much she has grown and matured since I started reading your blog. It made me start questioning how long I’ve been reading. I think it’s been around three years. It certainly doesn’t seem that long! Thank you for sharing your world with me.

  2. Rachel Wolf says:

    I was looking at her this week and I said as much to Pete. She’s so big! Her neck is so long! Her face is so kid – not toddler. Time has a habit of chugging along…

    And you are so welcome. Thanks for coming back each day to read!

  3. Natacha says:

    I am so upset because we don’t have apples this year. I counted 2 still on the tree and about 4 on the grass underneath the tree. This is the second year in a row. We have had SO MUCH rain and bad weather in spring, I think that’s the reason. OK, I will buy some apples, but it just insn’t the same.

    Natacha from Luxembourg

  4. Robyn says:

    Would you be so kind as to share the cider making experience? I’m dying to try it myself, but haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  5. Kristina says:

    Yes! It is the change from toddler to child that is so shocking and amazing. The next one is when they change from child to adult. I’ll never forget when my oldest son’s face was suddenly that of a man’s. It is one of those bittersweet moments in parenting.

  6. KC says:

    I missed this post. It’s so beautiful. We’re going through a rough patch right now but I look forward to the days when things like this will happen.

    I also look forward to when we move out of the desert and into the forest and can forage like you all do!

    If you get a moment could you check out my new blog space? I would love your opinion.

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