My parents chose to plant a tree for each of us kiddos. My brother has a horse chestnut tree planted in the backyard at my parent’s house and I have a mountain ash in the front yard. Many may not know this, but before my brother or I was born, my parents had their first son, named James, who went to heaven just two days into his life. There is an apple tree planted in the backyard for James.
The apple tree produces a huge crop of apples every other year. My mom made it a goal of hers to use the apples to bless others. Before she had large ‘apple-ing’ days, she would harvest and make as many pies as possible and give them away to neighbors and friends who needed a smile.
Now, she invites anyone and everyone to what is officially known around town as ‘Apple-ing Day’. People can come for a few hours, or early in the morning and stay all day, but either way everyone leaves with some delicious apple treats. It is usually loud, chaotic, and sticky, but there is always coffee to be found. My dad usually makes himself scarce which works out as he is generally running back and forth to the store for flour, sugar, brown sugar, and oops, did we not say butter and shortening the first time?
I don’t always go as I’m usually working or sleeping, but this year I was actually excited to be able to make an appearance. It started at 9 am and I arrived around 1030. The ‘breakfast’ apple crisp was half gone and there were already 9 people (and two adorable kiddos) hard at work. Mom says she makes the apple crisp to help motivate people and let them know why they are working!
The table is generally reserved for peeling, coring, and slicing. The kitchen counter is where the pie fillings and crisp toppings are usually made, and the large cutting board is where the many, many pie crusts are rolled out. My mom has the best pie crust recipe in the world and everyone knows it (perhaps she has shared it with me and perhaps I’ll make you a pie someday and then you’ll know what I’m talking about.) There is always a point in the day when she proclaims that she is done making crusts and therefore we move on to crisps and applesauce. This year she (and my aunt Colleen) rolled out 26 crusts before reaching that point.
I was pleased that I could actually use my hands for peeling and slicing since they chose to cooperate mostly. I had a few hand tremors that came, but left fairly quickly. I used oxygen off and on throughout the day (but never EVER near the stove when it was on dad so stop with the lecture!) as my levels were fluctuating, but generally low. I also drank 64 ounces of water while I was there and had a salt tablet.
I tallied up the final counts through the day and I’m pleased to announce that apple-ing 2016 yielded:
- 13 apple pies
- 8 apple crisps
- 18 ready to go pie fillings
- 15 gallons of applesauce
As well as some people still taking home whole apples to do more at home. Even the many garbage bags of peels and cores got divided up, some for Sue’s compost and some for my chickens and deer.
I am aware that most people will be too tired and sore to move today and that the word apple may be used as a swear word, but everyone will be happy when they take a delicious homemade apple pie or crisp out of the freezer and throw it in the oven this Fall.
I’ll be spending today drinking coffee (and water of course), resting, and resisting the urge to make apple pie for dinner.