Monday, November 1, 2010

Apples and Autumn

Autumn, as I've probably mentioned before, is my favorite season. Perhaps it's because nights and early mornings are crisp and cold, so it's time for fires in the fireplace and wood stove. It's more than that, however. There's a sense of the need to finish outdoor projects before snow falls. We've already had the first dusting on the mountains around the valley and soon the snowline will reach the valley floor.

Days grow shorter and nights longer, and the season is a reminder of the fleeting, precious nature of life itself. The spectacle of red and yellow colors on the trees and the musty scent of leaves underfoot, crisp or sodden, mark this time as one of nature's most glorious.

This weekend we drove to our apple tree to gather a heaping boxful. The tree grows outside the fence of a farmhouse, abandoned long ago. The tree, planted many years ago, still bears a heavy load of fruit each fall. I can picture a family living here, children sent to pick the windfalls and the mother on a ladder reaching for the higher branches. The tree was smaller then. Now the highest branches are far above our heads. Armed with a cultivator to pull down a few of these branches, we fill the big box. Some apples have wormholes, some don't. It's not hard to cut out the damaged parts.

So far I've canned a load of chunky applesauce and a load of smooth. Today I'll do a load of apple pie filling. Should take the better part of the week to work through the box. The ruby red peels make jelly. The cut out parts and the cores go into the compost pile. Nothing gets wasted. The kitchen is full of the aroma of cooking apples, and I think that says autumn to me most of all.

And now, NaNoWriMo calls. Next post here will be Monday next. Happy week and happy writing to all.