So, as much time as I have spent thinking about homeschooling over recent months, my husband has dedicated equal brain space to apple trees. ‘He Dreams of Apples’. It’s kind of a running joke between us, but make no mistake, he takes this whole apple tree business very seriously. In addition to harvesting our two trees, he’s also hit up local strangers to collect from their unused trees, with a 2/4 success record.
Both kids were quick to share in their daddy’s enthusiasm. Once we’d made it a habit to pick and eat apples fresh off the tree, our youngest couldn’t go outside without exclaiming “bapple?!”. Big sis has gotten exceptionally good at finding a low hanging limb and giving it a good shake until the tree produces it’s goods.
One day, we did a family pick on a tree down the street from us that is (presumably) public property. Even I got a bit caught up in apple tree fever and took a turn climbing it to make sure we got our pickings worth.
So what does one do with an abundance of apples? Luckily, my parent-in-laws have a juice press so we have done some juicing with the expertise and assistance of family and friends. There is talks of making hard cider. We have been drying apples on the regular thanks to our newly purchased dehydrator. And today, the kids and I made an apple pie.
Mind you, I wasn’t feeling particularly ambitious today, but my husband told me that our daughter had helped him peel some apples for him pre-drying last night. So I figured I could put her to work and it might not be a bad idea to occupy ourselves with a project for the morning- and trust me, it did take us all morning.
Our girl was eager to show me the method that she and her dad had come up with in the interest of ease and safety.
Between the peeling, pie dough making, pie dough rolling, and added garnish, I’m not sure that there is an activity that could make a bigger mess than apple pie making does. I acknowledged this when the process began, so I found myself more accepting of it than normal. Sister and I even had to change our clothes afterwards, having forgotten to don our aprons beforehand.
Brother got in on the action halfway through and he and sister happily noshed on the pie crust remains just as my sister and I did when our grandmother or great grandmother made pies when we were kids, and maybe some years into adulthood, too. I felt a connection with both of those women as I held a knife in my hand and carefully assured that each apple slice was fit and ready to be included in that pie, that product of hard work and thoughtfulness. We are saving our pie until after dinner tonight so we can enjoy the fruits of our (literal) labor as a family.
This all reminds me of a song called “Johnny Appleseed” that we sing after each meal at the summer camp I attended as a young girl and eventually became a staff member of. It is a secular camp, but there are nods to a provider such as this sprinkled throughout the day:
Oh, the lord is good to me
and so I thank the lord
for giving me the things I need
the sun and the rain and the apple seed
the lord is good to me.
As I reflect on my family’s adventures with apples, past and future, I can’t help but think we already do have just what we need.