Such a Lovely Day to Pick Apples…

The past two weeks have been go, go, go.  My husband took a week off so we can do home improvement projects.  On the list was to completely redo our small bathroom and replace the floors of the back two porches.  I’ll follow up with a post on before and after photos but I am so excited about getting these projects done.  And I’m exhausted!  We both are.  I went about two weeks without doing much cooking and no time to post.  Things are starting to get back to normal now thank goodness.

We went yesterday on our annual apple picking outing with our friends.  Couldn’t have picked a more gorgeous day to get together.

I was worried if there would be much to pick given how harsh the winter was.  The two trees in our front garden gave us a grand total of 2 apples and our peach tree never flowered.  Usually this time of year the trees are groaning with all the apples at the orchard and a lot of trees looked very bare.

Apple picking 4 2014

We had to go deep into the orchard to find apples.  I even found an optimistic apple flower.

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Because the pickings were so slim they had bins set up with apples so you could just fill your bags.  We did it the “hard” way keeping up with the kids running through the trees.  Much more fun that way!

I always enjoy the colours on display around the small shop with the flowers, apples, and pumpkins.

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The displays wouldn’t be complete without the giant pumpkins, some of which I’m sure, will find their way to the Pumpkin Festival in a few weeks.

Apple picking 3 2014

When we got married four years ago we considered this place for our wedding.  The costs were a bit much but it is such a beautiful spot.

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We now have enough apples to sink a ship.

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The kids are looking forward all the baked goodies.  Can’t let them go to waste after all.  I will have to come up with gluten free dishes as I am doing a month long experiment eating gluten free.  More on that later!

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As the days get shorter….

When autumn arrives it is so striking how quickly night falls.  I wish we could hold onto the longer days with the cooler crisp weather.  Instead it is time to start saying goodbye to the garden and get it ready for winter.  We were lucky this past weekend, the weather was absolutely perfect.  We had a number of tasks to complete but it makes it easier with the warmth of the sun.

We needed to clear out the tomato beds.  Given the blight that is prevalent in the area we can’t compost the plants.  It seems like such a waste but we have to bag them and bring them to the dump.  Each year we get some but we’re getting better at combating the blight.

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Those tomato cages can be quite flimsy and bend easily but man some of them did not want to come out of the ground.  I was hauling off on them like I was trying to pull up a tree root!

We did one round of peas this year but a few strays tried to give it another go in the bed.   If your season is mild enough you can get two harvests but by the time the plants grow large enough our winter gives them what for and we don’t have much luck.

End of season 1 2013

As we had already harvested the black beans we had the kids clear out the bed.  Except the one lone kale.  Have no idea where that came from!  That bed has never had kale planted in it.  But up it grew anyway.

End of season 2 2013

The butterfly weed is going to seed.  Wonder where it will pop up next year.  I generally let it spread as it has such a pretty orange bloom.

End of season 4 2013

Our hops are taking over their little area.  We really need to transplant them to the back corner of our garden and let it just go crazy.  The poor trellis is crying uncle at this point.

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I’m convinced the pepper plants don’t realise it’s autumn!  They are still going strong.  I’ll have to cart a bunch to the community kitchen as our freezer is quite full and there is only a little space for some frozen peppers.  The leaves aren’t as green but there is a bounty of hot peppers.

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It will soon be the Brussels Sprouts turn to shine.  All they need is a good frost.  Though this is the only plant that produced decent sized sprouts.  The other 4 grew pea sized ones.  Usually they do so well.

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It’s time for our bushes to turn colour.  I love the red that the blueberry bushes turn.  So vibrant.  Hopefully they will have a good slumber over the winter so they can give us more than a handful of blueberries that we got this year.

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It was just lovely being outside in the garden without melting in the heat and humidity.  Wish we could slow this time of year down.

Are You Apple Eating or Apple Picking?

Every year we get together with 3 other families for our annual apple picking adventure.  It seems like we just did that but poof it’s time again!  Mother Nature has a habit of rain or the threat of rain whenever we plan on coming and of course it was forecast to rain.  But we planned going anyways.  We won’t melt!

It turned out to be quite the weekend.  About a week or so ago this little kitten, we’ve called her Tiramisu, decided our back garden was the place to be.

Apple picking 1 2013

Isn’t she cute?  Well we think it’s a she.  But she would show up during the evenings so we waited because you don’t want to take anyone’s kitty.  But we came back from our date night on Saturday night at 9.30 and there she was in our garden.  Way too late to be out.  So we grabbed her and brought her in and set her up in the guest room (aren’t we good hosts? 🙂 ).  Boy the dogs were curious!  The Humane Society opened at 11am in the morning so we planned on bringing her over.  We have two dogs and a cat.  Our cat would just mutiny if we brought another animal to stay.  Bad enough when I opened the bathroom door in the morning and she all but had her paws on her hips and a look on her face “We need to have a chat”.  She was not amused!  If I had my way I’d adopt every pet that needed a home but I do need to think of the rest of the family and the animals we already have.  So we couldn’t keep her.  But at least she was safe because that night the rain that was supposed to come Sunday afternoon swept through Saturday night.  I was up all night listening to that storm.  Sometimes it was like a very large fire hose was aimed at our house!

Come Sunday though it was gorgeous.  Such a beautiful day for apple picking.  The kids love it.  They all run round eating the apples.  The orchard know some of the goods go out in stomachs rather than bags.  Think that is reflected in the price!  Fair enough.  I joked with my daughter saying we should have weighed her going in and then out again.  🙂

Apple picking 2 2013

Try as we might to be careful it never fails that you pick one apple and a bunch fall off.  By the state of things I was not the only one with this problem.

At this orchard they had the oldest and I think tallest elm tree in the region and I was all set to take some really nice photos to share.  What I found instead was this:

Apple picking 3 2013

It died.  Such a shame.  It was like a beacon for apple picking.

This year they had a very large pumpkin patch and we came across this funny looking thing.  Someone thought it was a turban pumpkin.

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I love the colours of autumn.

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The trees were laden with apples of all sorts of varieties.  We filled our 1/2 bushel bag in no time.

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Which means baking!  We made baked apples last night for dessert.  But there is apple pie, apple cake, and a bunch of other goodies to make.  🙂  Of course a lot of them will make their way into the kids lunches.  An apple a day….