October 12, 2010

falling for fall

It's official.

Let the record show that I am hereby a Fall Girl.

I've spent my entire life boldly proclaiming my love of Summer.
I have lived for Summer.
Longed for Summer.
Had God given me a daughter, I would have named her Summer.


Yesterday, as I hurriedly harvested the pumpkins and gourds that survived on Pumpkin Island, and even more hurriedly arranged them in a wagon, and then hurriedly took some pictures, before I hurried off to a birthday lunch, I fell in love with Fall.

I fell in love with the crisp bite in the air.

And the leaves on the ground.

I fell in love with perfect little curlicues.

And the cute little in-betweens that are no longer blossoms but not yet gourds.

I fell in love with green and orange and yellow.

I fell in love, once again, with the wagon that hauled my boys around when they were little.

And most of all, for some odd reason, especially odd since I almost never opt for white when there is color to be had, I fell in love with this little guy.

I didn't want to leave my little wagon of all things Autumn. I wanted to spend some time, time that I didn't have, just enjoying the beauty and the color and the vines and the tendrils.

But, I had places to go and people to see.

I think my issue with Fall, the reason I can't let myself just relax and enjoy it, is the ever looming feeling that the axe could fall at any moment. There's that chance that we may not get another glorious, golden lighted, blue skied, brisk and beautiful day. This year has brought the best Fall I can ever remember. Snappy mornings and warm afternoons all glowing in the slanted rays of a sun that's headed south for the Winter, a Winter that can come quickly here. Once it comes, it's usually here to stay.

But this year, I'm letting my guard down and for now anyway, my heart belongs to October and spiced apple cake and mums.

I so wish I could leave you here, ready to rake some leaves and bake a pumpkin pie. However, circumstances demand that we go all double subject today, because an update is in order and it just can't wait.

I told you about the visitor/visitors we had on the farm last week, right? Well, Sunday morning, my husband got the call that there were three young bears in our next door neighbor's tree.

After all three of the men that happened to be present (one of which promised to love, honor and sacrifice himself to save me, till death do us part) promised to run interference for me if mama showed up, I grabbed a couple shots of the apple stealers.

Way up high, away from me, I have to admit he's kind of cute.

(It goes without saying that I used my longest lens and cropped big time for these shots.)

I liked this. I liked seeing them on my terms. I liked having them way up in a tree. I liked having three cars right next to me should I need to make a quick exit.

However, should we unexpectedly meet face to face, I will die on the spot.

Never to be heard from again.

Until then, I'll just be pondering my future career as a National Geographic photographer.

From the safety of my comfy chair, inside my cozy house.

October 7, 2010

simple homemade applesauce

Have you ever made applesauce? It's the easiest thing ever, and so worth the little bit of effort you put into it.

Back in the day, I used to pick apples from any tree offered, but now I'm lazy. I admit, there was something special about using local McIntosh apples, but honestly, buying the huge, beautiful apples at the store is so much easier. Peeling one big Honeycrisp gives you about the same amount of apple as peeling four of the little home grown fellas.

These days, I'm all about getting the most bang for my peeling buck.

I know.


Let's just pretend I picked my apples off a local tree because we'll all feel much more Mother Earth News if we do.

So. This year, I used a combination of Honeycrisp, because they are the aforementioned huge, Gala, because they were on sale, and Granny Smith. I always use Granny's - they have a flavor that can't be matched for applesauce.

Peel and chop. I've used the stove top and crock pot, but this year opted for the microwave. Which is probably just adding insult to injury. Store bought apples cooked in the microwave.

I don't deserve to live on a farm.

Let's just pretend I built a fire out in the yard, hung a cast iron kettle and cooked my apples in that.

I stirred them every six minutes and after about twenty five minutes, mashed them with my potato masher. We like our sauce pretty chunky, but if you like yours smooth, an immersion blender would work really well also.

I add sugar to taste after the mashing is done, cook for just a couple more minutes, and here's the final nail in the applesauce coffin.....I don't even can my sauce. I put it in jars and freeze it.

This year, the apples did double duty. Little Miss Zailey got to pose with, (and drool on), them before they met their maker.

That alone will make this year's batch the best ever.

October 4, 2010

good news/bad news

The good news....my favorite model came over to my house last week for some practice shots. It was a beautiful evening, the light was gorgeous and I couldn't be happier with how the pictures turned out. I had spray painted a cruddy old bike earlier this summer and finally found the perfect opportunity to sneak it into a photo shoot.

The bad news....Kayla and I aren't the only ones who have been enjoying this pretty spot lately.

It would seem we have a bear on the farm. I won't go into details, but I found the evidence, and The Farmer in all his outdoorsy wisdom confirmed, that a bear is indeed hanging out under the apple tree in the background of these pictures.

Now yes, we do live in the country, but not that far out in the country. It's not like we back up to a national wilderness or Jellystone Park. We have deer by the bushel, coyotes, foxes, and on one occasion, a moose. But never a bear....that I know of anyway.

Normally, my gut reaction to this type of situation would involve villagers, torches and pitchforks, but I'm trying not to over react. My hubby claims Yogi will run away if he hears me coming.

Um, hello? Meadowbrook Farmer? Have we met? That's not going to be good enough to get me out in the woods again.

Actually, there's a small, very small, part of me that wouldn't mind a glimpse of him...from a distance of course.

But for now, I'll just hope my hubby is available to chaperone any future photo shoots, and I'll also be keeping my doors locked.

Because everyone knows...bears can open doors.

And Kayla? I don't know about you, but I think these pictures were worth the risk.

You're gorgeous, girl!