This poem made me laugh at myself. I had never seen it until after the last of my many giddy visits to the apple ranch this fall, but its music plays such a familiar tune, that it presents the images and message as a makebelieve memory of a jolly uncle on whose knee I once sat, as we peeled apples together and sang of Johnny Appleseed, perhaps, and of a world united by the glory of apples.
ODE TO THE APPLE
Here’s to you, Apple,
I want to
by filling my mouth
with your name,
by eating you.
You are always
more refreshing than anything
the fruits of the Earth
are when compared to you:
grapes in their cells,
bony plums, figs
in their underwater world.
You are pure pomade,
When we bite into
your round innocence,
for an instant, we also return
to the fresh moment of a living thing’s creation,
and in essence, we contain a chunk of apple.
abundance, your family
I want a city,
the Mississippi river rolling
and along its banks,
I want to see
of the entire world,
enjoying the simplest act on Earth:
eating an apple.
Mrs. Bread and I thought we might sit on her deck and chat… or, we might meet at the beach and walk. But in the end, she came to my garden in the afternoon, and brought me two perfect Fuji apples just picked from her tree.
She didn’t know I had baked an apple cake for us to eat with our tea, at the table in the back corner. Last week it would have been too hot there at that time of day, but today was mild. I had chopped Rome Beauty apples into the cake, because I think the Northern Spy keep a little better, so I will use the Romes up first. They are in the box at the bottom of the picture.
The whole of autumn so far has been the most appley of my life. I have dehydrated dozens of apples and eaten as many fresh and crisp out of hand. Last week two kind man-friends from church came over to help me peel Pippins for a couple of hours — after I gave them dinner and apple crisp, because it was that time of day — and when I had got about a gallon of applesauce into the fridge, I went to bed very late.
Now my freezer and pantry (My pantry is steel shelves in the garage.) are stocked up with sauce, dried apples, and leftover cake. I sent a wedge of cake home to Mr. Bread, and now must abstain for a bit, so I’ll be ready to test the other apple cake recipes that Mrs. Bread is going to send me. Below, you can also see the super-dehydrated banana slices in jars; they are addictive crunchy banana “candy.”
The Winter Banana apples I determined were best in their dried form. I probably don’t need to keep them in the freezer, but it looks appropriate to their name, doesn’t it?
My favorite apple ranch only has one more variety coming in this fall: Pink Lady. I might go back and get some of those — but maybe not 20 pounds — because I think they might dry nicely.
What else made today appley? This: Several weeks ago I had admired Mrs. Bread’s mint plant that was at the end of its flowering. She promised to give me a cutting, but I had forgotten. Today she surprised me with it, and it is an Apple Mint.
I wish you could smell how yummy it is!
As I was assembling my appley post this evening, what came into view on my computer but a picture from Pippin (Ha! It’s even the right nickname for today.) of Ivy who was evidently inspired by their harvest to read to her apples. I don’t know what variety they are, but their names I’m pretty sure are Appley, Dapply, and … I confess I don’t know the real names of the friends in the picture.
I hope that this fall finds you with plenty of appley friends and cakes.
Appley Dapply has little sharp eyes, And Appley Dapply is so fond of pies.
Oh! I haven’t made a pie yet! I bet Northern Spy are good for that…
Another “wildfire season,” another unexpected blessing. Often when there is hardship, stress, or suffering, there is an opportunity for people to come together in new ways, helping each other to navigate the interruptions and obstacles, to weather the storm, to walk the strange path that may present itself. During three of the last four dry, warm and windy autumn seasons of evacuations, I have had friends here briefly. Each time they were escaping from a different area and situation. But this fall no one needed me during the first wave of fires, and I was busy with family anyway.
Then, the wind changed, and what had been a fire for some other valley skipped a few miles in a different direction, and local people needed to leave their homes and get out of the way, in case. Two women who are both friends of mine evacuated here for two nights. Juliana has been close to our whole family for at least 40 years, but we hadn’t talked much for quite a while, and it was the greatest joy to have her in the house for what turned into an extended slumber party of chatter, catching up, and thanking God. I had loved her parents as well; they were dear to our children in a multitude of ways, and her presence made me long for them, too. But even that was somehow sweet.
The wind changed again, and they have departed. As soon as they left, I made another apple run, having used up my last box in various ways. This time I got Winter Bananas and Pippins. They say the “Bananas” are a dry variety to start with, and have long been a favorite for dehydrating, so I will surely preserve some of them that way. It took the fruit only a few hours in my garage to fill that space with a warm and harvesty aroma.
Then it was time to head to church for Vigil for our parish feast. I was able to be inside the church last night and this morning. Just splendid. Heaven came down, as always.
This morning when I arrived the sun was rising into the sky in that eerie, smoky way. The wind has started blowing the other direction and our area is in less danger, so I don’t understand why the smoke is so bad today.
At the end of the beautiful, beautiful service we prayed this prayer that has been on our lips many times in the last weeks:
A Prayer in Time of Wildfires
O Lord of all the earth, Who dost touch the mountains, and they smoke; Who dost send thine angels back and forth over the earth as ministers of thy providence and messengers of thy will; and Who dost thyself traverse thy creation on a throne of living creatures, while being thyself everywhere present in heaven, earth, and the lower regions: send now thy swift angels to minister to us who are afflicted by terrible wildfires, which threaten men’s lives and property, and also the lives of beasts and the well-being of the land. Through thy ministers who govern the elements, cause rains to fall to quench these flames. Then by thine angels who command the airs, send a healthful wind to blow, driving away the smog. Through the prayers of thy saints guard human life and well-being, and with thine own Right Hand bless and guide those who fight against this blaze, and preserve all in health from the smoke it sends up. Through Jesus Christ our Lord we beseech thee, O Father of worlds, Who dost reign eternally over all creation, together with Him and thine All-holy Spirit, the Life-giver and Paraclete. Amen.