drops

Eight dollars of apples, bruised up fallen ones plucked right off the ground made a whole mess of food.  Four quarts of sauce, 3 quarts of vinager, 2 pies and a lot of easy snacking.  In some orchards, this time of year, you can get bushels for next to nothing if you look down instead of up.  This has been our thing these past few years.  Before the frost comes and before the slugs take ‘em over we barge in and clean up the lot of them.

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I made my vinegar from wild fermentation, by the fermenting guru, Sandor Katz.  If you don’t have this, you should sprint to your library, like now.  The cider is so easy, and massively rewarding.  I roasted the apples whole (a mixture of grimes golden, macintosh, and hewes) until fork tender and just sent them through a food mill to make the sauce, what was leftover, the apple carcass as we were calling them, was used to make the apple cider vinegar.  Amongst all the other amazing things you can do with apple cider vinegar I have been rinsing my hair in it and I can promise you, nothing on the market compares.  I typically have straw for hair, and with just a little bit of this magic fall scented liquid it transforms into something a Disney princess would envy.  I promise.  Oh these apples went a long way, I even froze a few pies this year!  And I will tell you a secret, the last pie that came out of the oven had a layer of almond paste over the bottom crust and oh my, oh my, this one would knock your boots off.

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Apples galore!  What have you been doing with the apples in your neighborhood?

this moment

{this moment}

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{this moment} ~ A Friday ritual. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember. If you’re inspired to do the same, leave a link to your ‘moment’ in the comments for all to find and see.

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saving seeds

On Tuesdays we write letters.  I think I got the idea from Tuesdays with Morrie, though I don’t really remember what happens in that book.  Recently Miles actually just began writing them himself, which is as cute as it is convenient, being a scribe can sometimes be confusing -getting the write message down and all… sometimes my adult brain just makes it more complicated than it was meant to be.  The last two Tuesdays we wrote letters to a new batch of pen pals.  A pal for each of our family members, matched up so perfectly.  We never thought this day would really come.  I think we sealed the envelopes up with our tears.

A year ago from last May we drove down a dirt road and turned right at a statue of a little boy fishing, pulled up to a house that would become as comfortable to us as our own home in the year to come, then shared a good meal and a cold beer with its occupants.  It was a warm May-day with forsythia all a bloom and lilac scent wafting through the sky.  We sat in front of their garden, spoke of the work to come in it, and talked and talked and talked some more.  There were squabbles with our kids, but we were all good-hearted about them and they cooked so well we didn’t care how many times our Rowan pushed down their Owen, we would be back.

And back we came, and forth too.  My sweet friend, sister is more like it;  We shared so much this last year.  More than I think I can even begin to understand.  We shared the love of our children becoming best friends, seeing them fit together like peanut butter and jelly.  We shared the comfort in the companionship that our husbands found in each other, a rare thing for our busy, quiet men folk.  We shared knitting needles, recipes, tears, clothes, pillows, laughter, memories, patterns, joys, and concerns.  When this summer came around we shared a batch of seeds to make a cutting garden.   We shared a pregnancy.   Then those flowers grew right alongside our growing bellies and when our sweet little boys were born just two weeks apart we shared the shock and beauty of becoming a family of five.  Having this experience bound us in a way that only the petals and stems can understand.  We just are.

Her family had a chance to move on from this little sliver of a state, to something that provided them with certainty and consistency, and of course, of course, they took it.  It was always known this day would come, but for some reason I thought maybe, just maybe, it wouldn’t.  I helped her pull up her massive love lies bleeding, purple globe amaranth, the ever useful Calendula and all the rest of her cut flower garden a few weeks ago.  We both had our babies dangling from slings while we silently remembered all that we passed between our souls.

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My heart misses them in a way I never knew I could feel.  It really hasn’t settled completely, I can’t imagine not calling them up this weekend to get together and turn our kids loose.  Their friendship was my coffee in the morning and my ice cream out of the container at night. I am so grateful to have met them.  I know with the sureness that the world will continue to turn round and round that our friendship will remain.  Thank you Weeds for the most welcoming welcome a family could ever have, and the most spectacular year in my memory.  We love you all so, so much.

 

the crunch

Almost every leaf has given up the fight and is settled on the ground cozied up for the winter, ready for the big transformation.  The floor is a river of crunchy, slippery, foliage.  Paths that were once coated so thick in brush are now freed up for walking and exploring.  Moss that camouflaged its magnificence against the massiveness of summer is now shining in it’s glory.  Little trumpets of lichen, puddles of moss in star shapes, expanding disks, and the tiniest trees you every saw.  Gnomes land.  Fairy villages.  A rootless reminder that the green of the earth still remains, it just may hide for a bit.

 

 

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Autumn brings us in, yes, but mostly it sets me on a wild rampage chanting, “must go out!”.  The time is short before our breath is a fog and I intend on taking advantage of this slice of time before it’s too late.  This year I do have grand plans for tiny snow shoes, and short little skis, but I am not sure what that will look like with a little one strapped on and a few wobbly, rubber legs by my side.  But plans are plans are plans… and I like to make them.

After  a week straight of sweet, loving visitors, and more excitement than a three and five year old can probably contain, they are playing so nice together.  It is truly a sight to behold.  I have put out less fires than I have started lately,  (oh, wood stove humor…)  and it feels like it should feel.  It’s something about getting your cheeks pink with cold air and sitting by a crackling fire with a mug of something warm and a pile of books that just makes you get along.  Please remind me I said this in February, and I will come back here and make strike through-s in all my sentences.

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When things are so loud in this house of boys and the rain is coming down, or little balls of hail wont seem to let up, or the new chill in the air is willing us to stay in our pajamas, a little voice reminds me there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes and we slide on our rain pants or mittens or mud boots and head out anyways.

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reinforcements

I sent out  a may day text alert a few weeks ago pleading with my ladies from near and far to come and visit while my man-friend went on a long, long business trip.  15 days he would be gone… (4 down!  11 to go!) and I figured it would be best spent with some company scattered in here and there.  First up on the docket was my girl Jesse!  I am so lucky to have this sweet girl in my life.  And her little boy?  He knocks you down with his cuteness.

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I am not going to try to pretend this is easy without Lee.  It isn’t.  It is so loud, and so messy, and so hectic.  I need that reprieve at the end of the day, and tagged onto the beginning and end of each week to recharge.  But I promised myself I would take this trip in stride, one day at a time, and I would find peace in every day.  Even if it was only the briefest moment.  And I can tell you, meeting up with good friends to pick some apples, or staying up late with a buddy knitting, or receiving a hand delivered package of beer from a neighbor fills my cup so high I swear its spilling over.  In these four short days alone, there have already been tears (from all four of us) and tantrums (I won’t name names), but also a whole lot of laughs and sweet kisses.  These babies… they push you to the edge of the world they do.  And then when you are teetering on one toe at the top of the cliff looking down, they paint a picture titled, “Mama with wings” and then tear your chest open and kiss your heart.

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Parenting is a whirlwind of emotions, I really never knew before.  It is a whole lot of give, and rarely ever take.  It is mop the floor then smear it with honey.  It is wake you up in the middle of the night just to say I love you.  It is fold all the laundry than use it as a trampoline.  It is to have nothing of value, but at the same time care for the most valuable thing you can imagine.

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We had our first frost over the weekend.  And now my evenings are being spent perfecting the art of the wood stove fire, spinning on a borrowed wheel and drinking hand delivered beer with the music turned up loud.  For now, this reprieve will do.  In fact, I welcome it.