To quote a friend "What is up with our psycho weather lately?" I couldn't agree more! This week we have literally been on a weather roller coaster with highs going from mid 60s to 87 with none really in the middle. It has been a-- is today a shorts and t-shirts day or should we be layering more than just the long sleeve shirt and full sweatsuit?--kind of week. Every other day has been hot, then cold, then hot, then cold and now today is a second in a row cold one. So, since the weather folks say it is going to stay chilly all weekend I am going to say that fall is officially in the air! That and the 40 mile an hour winds are expected to die down finally so we'll be able to enjoy some calm air.
Last week we spent a day up in the area of state that I grew up in. It was a beautiful, sunny day perfect for getting out of the city. As we drove through farm country we caught a few glimpses of the colors of fall on the early bird trees. The harvest is well underway, trees are heavy with apples and pears, garden produce was set out in yards and roadside stands and we even saw a sign advertising eggs for a dollar. Yes, we stopped in, but sadly (very sadly) no one was home. We saw the chickens running around so no doubt that the eggs were from free ranged chickens and I am still sad that we couldn't fill our cooler with all the eggs they had! I did put some money in the coffee pot and helped myself to some tomatoes, 2 green peppers, and a handful of tiny onions.
Our first destination was to have lunch and pick apples with a family friend. He and his wife were like an aunt and uncle to us growing up and sadly almost exactly a year ago, his wife passed away. Since then I've tried to stay in touch with him with Christmas cards and such, but it was nice to take him a birthday cake in person. We had picked a ton of apples there last year and our applesauce was almost all gone so he invited us up to restock. It was an off year for most of his trees (too much rain and such huge production last year) so we didn't get nearly as many. The apples are also not as nice as last year, but I am not complaining. These are apples that are completely ignored and therefore very organic and I am happy to get them. It was a bit of an adventure this year since the horses are now gone and the pastures are hugely overgrown (weeds taller than me in some areas). Considering a lack of nap and the height of the vegetation Little Guy was a real trooper! He was excited to see the tractor and to "pick apple up" and goodness knows he adores the applesauce that come of these apples! Peanut was in the carrier and napped through some of the picking as well.
A good friend came to join us and then invited us to her mom's farm to clean out the garden and pick pears. Her mom is moving to another state and the farm was set to close in just a few days so we were welcome to whatever we could find. And boy, did we find! We picked a few boxes of pears, another bucket of apples, the rest of the beets (4 pints worth), a few stalks of brussel sprouts (2 dinners worth), a few last tomatoes, Swiss chard, two hands of beans, and then we found squash. There were some huge plants that had volunteered out in the pasture on the compost pile. We picked all that there were. I came home with 4 spaghetti squash (although 2 are not very ripe) and 19 acorn squash! And her daughter kept a box as well, so I do not know the officially count, but it has to be somewhere around 35 squash that were just growing wild.
After a tiring day of harvesting we headed back to our friend's home to meet her husband and have a wonderful dinner. We also got to meet their new chickens (previously lived at her mom's farm) and Little Guy got to help collect 3 eggs that night. A big day of country experiences for him and a dozen fresh eggs for us, wonderful! We also got to here more about their plans to adopt. They (and we) are praying for a baby for them. They have finished all the paperwork, home visits and such and now we are just waiting for the right birth mother to come forward. They are going to be wonderful parents and I can't wait for the right woman to choose them!
One moment I want to remember involved Little Guy and an acorn squash. I had a big box of squash, Mike had a bunch in his hands (and Peanut in the carrier), our friend has a big armful and Little Guy had one to carry. It was a good ways from the pasture to our van and we had to navigate the horse piles and a couple of fences to get the squash to the vehicle. Little Guy had not had a nap, had spent the day (literally) running around in the fresh air and sun and he was beyond exhausted. At one point I looked back and this very filthy, very tired little two year old was just standing there holding his one acorn squash. There was something about the sun hat on his head, the crocs on his feet, the dirt on his legs and the late afternoon sun behind him that made for the most adorable exhausted two year old picture you could ever imagine. For as slow as he was moving he did get that squash all the way to the van!
I'm so grateful for good friends, tons of free organically grown produce and fall weather!
Hope you have a great weekend,