One thing that I just love about living in the New England Countryside is the sense and celebration of the changing of the seasons.
Here, in Vermont, our lifestyle and activities, our mindsets, really, our whole psyches, change with the light and the weather. Well, it's hard to ignore the pending frozen wasteland that we can feel in our bones is about to beset us. We may complain about the cold and being housebound and (for those who have to shovel it) the snow but, really, I think that most of us genuinely appreciate the down time - the cozy, homey hibernation that winter brings. (Mostly, those who, truly, don't like or appreciate it, pick their lives up and migrate to Florida.) When, autumn comes and the scent of woodsmoke tantalizes our senses and there's that certain crispness in the air and nature, in a severely festive mood, decorates the hills with those lively colors, we feel a thrill of the shift of the season. We start bustling excitedly about, getting ready, inside and out for the relief of the exiled quietness to come.
Well, in this household, in October and November, it's not only the need to stack wood that sends this pod into hyper drive, it's, also, the arrival of my mom and dad for a three week visit. There are adventures to be had, when Nana and Grandpa are in town! Festivities, celebrations (five birthdays, no less!), explorations, outings and traditions are on the agenda and they range from the elegant and out of the ordinary, to the simple and subtle.
One simple tradition that we enjoy, most years, is apple picking. This year, my mom and I were a little worried that the boys might be getting a little too old and find it uninteresting. We forged ahead, though. I made corn muffins for a reviving snack-to-go and, when three scruffy, tired, young men tumbled off of the school bus, we bundled them right back in to the truck to go for a late afternoon, spur of the moment outing. Hey! They were willing!
The apple orchard is only a fifteen minute drive from our home and is situated on a very high hill. It's truly a gorgeous spot!
and,... errr, I like this tractor well enough but what I really want to show you is the beautiful setting of the autumn colored hills.
What surprised my mom and I is that, what the three maturing men were interested in the most, was the petting zoo. It was really fun, funny and sweet to see how they interact with the animals - now, that they have so many at home - now, that they're older - now, that they've developed these funny, dry senses of humour!
I have to confess that the experience of watching these piglets attack their mother for food was a bit unnerving for me.....
and, I can't believe that I didn't get a picture of the bunny metropolis that they have going in the petting zoo! I did get a pic of one of the many, many escapees, though.... (there were rabbits all over the place!)
The joy of living here means that we don't have to come on the weekend when the masses are visiting. The down side is that the orchard seemed to be stripped bare by the apple locusts! After wandering for about fifteen minutes, we were overjoyed to finally see this sign! (we were supposed to turn right after the mulch pile and keep going but we never found the mulch pile. We were lost in the orchard and too mellow to be found!;-))
A freshly, just picked apple is so crisp and juicy and has such an alive, appley flavour!
but, at the end of the day (which it was), this is a working orchard.
apple sauce, anyone?
Up next is what we did with the apples....
and, I just want to give a very warm welcome to my new friends/'followers'! It amazes me that I can journal my simple joys and experiences - throw them out to the winds - and they find resonance with others from different parts of the world. How fun is that?!