altivo: Commission line art colored by myself (cs-tivo-color)
Here is a pie made from an heirloom apple variety, Roxbury Russet:

Roxbury Russet Pie


These are a very old apple variety, noted as being excellent for winter storage and well suited to cider making or baking. By modern orchard standards, they are considered "too ugly" to have any commercial value. That's pretty typical of modern shallow thinking. The flavor and scent of this apple is far more complex and intense than that of any widely grown variety today. The flesh is very hard, and I can easily see that they would keep for a long time under ideal conditions. We haven't sampled the pie just yet, but I expect it to be far from mundane.

In other news, the week drags on. It snowed this afternoon, fairly hard in fact, but melted almost immediately. I won another N scale locomotive off Ebay, this one is a steam engine, a 2-8-2 light Mikado style which was one of the last types in use by DT&I before they abandoned steam completely in the early 1950s. It has a Chicago & Northwestern herald painted on it, but I expect I can either cover or remove that to apply the normal DT&I monogram. I wasn't going to buy more stuff until after Christmas, but this was going for such a cheap price that I couldn't pass it up.

Apples!

Oct. 13th, 2011 05:11 pm
altivo: 'Tivo in fursuit (fursuit)
Nothing beats having a half day off (except, of course, having the whole day... duh.)

Thought we'd go pick a few more apples this afternoon, but weather wasn't cooperating. Gloomy, with cold drizzle falling that later turned into a fairly hard rain. So we agreed to go for lunch and some groceries. Needed flour (for apple pies and pancakes, used up all the pastry flour) and Gary wanted some things to throw into a late supper since I've elected to drive a friend to the Audubon meeting tonight. As usual, picked up more supplies than intended, but all stuff we will use. Gary's miscalculation of the number of cans of dog food in the pantry has resulted in an amusing overstock, but I'm sure Red will be happy to take care of that problem soon enough.

Home, unpack and put away the spoils, and then, apple pie. Today's pie is half Empire and half Winesap. Empire is a modern hybrid developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station I believe, hence the name from "Empire State." It is a successful cross of Red Delicious with Macintosh, I'm pretty sure. The apples are generally larger than Macs, but have most of the texture and flavor of that parent, with some of the size and firmness of the Red Delicious. Red Delicious has very little flavor to me, but Empire is sweet and rich-tasting. Unfortunately, it doesn't keep very well, and tends to turn mealy like both parents. Winesap, on the other paw, is an old heirloom variety with what some folks call "character" (by which they mean that a lot of people who don't favor old style apples will spit it out after biting it.) Hard fleshed, it combines juicy and tart with a surprising amount of sugar and can be used to make quite a good hard cider. It keeps really well, as do most hard fleshed apples, and develops additional sweetness for a while after picking. I like Winesap to eat plain, and think of it as a "real" apple, but like many of the old 19th century varieties, it is hard to find. Fortunately one nearby orchard has a single row of trees, and we got there in time to rescue a full peck. It was amusing to walk along the row and see the number of apples that had been "sampled" and discarded, with just one or maybe two bites out of them. No, people, this is not Gala or Red Delicious. There are lots of those two rows farther down. Leave these to the real apple lovers and both you and they will be the happier for it.

So, the pie is in the oven, and will come out just before I have to go pick Susan up for the meeting.

Oh, and Red was happy to eat peels from both the Empire and the Winesap. No picky eater he. XD
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
First knock down the round pen. Take Tess out to the pasture since her pen is broken down. Then go to grocery store early to avoid mess in town due to street festival. Come home, unpack groceries, watch load of hay pull into the lane. Once wagon is parked in the arena, reassemble the pen, and go get Tess off the grass and into the shade. Watch her drink half a bucket of water.

Interrupt hay stacking to go to the apple orchard. Damn, our favorite one is already closed for the season. Go to second choice place. They are still picking and have some pre-picked in the cooler. Decide to pick, and get a peck of Winesap (old fashioned cider variety, good for cooking, long keeping) but do so by picking through the windfalls. Actually many of those have fallen from the tree as people picked the apple next to them, but they didn't bother to pick up the one they dropped. Also got another peck of mixed Red Delicious (OK if fresh from tree, mealy if kept too long) and Blushing Golden. Picked a half peck of Jonagored from the cooler. Trees were nearly bare, I'm betting that place will be closed in a day or two.

Now unload and stack 140 bales of hay. Roll empty hay wagon out of arena and into pickup location. Easier than last time, for whatever reason. Clean loose hay off wagon bed. Go back in and have late lunch. One more load of hay like this one, probably tomorrow, and we're done with that for the year.

Change part of the water on the flax soaking in the dogs' kiddie pool. Note that it seems to be almost ready to dry. Maybe tomorrow. Actually succeed in pulling a fiber from one stem and twisting and plying it while wet. Very fine stuff if we can really get much of this from it.

Start to go out to clean stalls (my day for that) but Gary offers to do that if I'll bake apple muffins. I have a new recipe for those from @Dodge_horse on Twitter. I agree, and stay in to bake. Also make black bean dip, and marinate two small steaks. Run out to help feed critters and bed them all down. Then back in to make salad and shower while Gary starts charcoal. By now it is dark.

Let Gary shower while I make baked potatoes and the last two ears of sweet corn. Quite possibly the last barbecue of the year. Turns out pretty decent, even the cheap steaks. Feed dog and cat, clean up, put in some laundry so I have clothes for work tomorrow.

Shortly we will try the muffins that have been cooling on a high shelf to avoid dog pilferage, and then go to bed. Very full day it was.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Apple season began this weekend. We have four varieties of new apples, right from the trees: Ginger Gold, Jonamac, Honeycrisp, and Cortland. And even though there was chocolate zucchini cake left in the house, I just had to make a pie (Jonamac and Cortland, a good combination):

"A" was an Apple Pie


Not bad at all for the first pie of the season. The better apples are yet to come, though. I need to get to Lang's right away for some Ruby Jon, and there should be Empire and (I hope) Melrose in the offing at the very least.
altivo: 'Tivo as a plush toy (Miktar's plushie)
Not that the weekend looks relaxing as I'd like, but at least it's not work. Sorta.

Gary had a farmers' market gig to play today. Yesterday the weather forecast said 30% chance of rain, which he considered acceptable. This morning it said 80% chance of thundershowers. Of course, both were wrong. There was not a drop of rain in either Marengo or Harvard today. They were still saying 80% chance tomorrow as well, up to mid-afternoon. Now no rain for tomorrow (when he has another farmers' market.) How much do we want to bet he gets rained on? ;p

Auroras are flaring in northern EU tonight, so if you have clear skies in North America and especially if you live north of 47 latitude or so, it's worth checking out around your midnight local time.

The local apple orchards open this weekend. Guess where I'm planning to go. And no, not for the doughnuts.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Well, not officially, but the cloud patterns today, combined with a gusty-blustery north wind were enough to leave me thinking about winter snows.

Aptly enough, the handwoven rug I just pulled off the loom and finished up is titled "Winter Sunset." For those interested in technical details (and photos) [personal profile] argos has them over here.

Weaving entries are due tomorrow afternoon, looks like I'm going to have mine ready in time. Two of three are now ready to go, and the third just needs a little reworking.

The Kishwaukee Ramblers, one of the groups Gary is in, performed this morning at the Woodstock Farmers Market. I found it rather amusing that someone left an acorn squash in their tip basket. The group showed plenty of persistence, performing on acoustic instruments in a cold north wind that was gusting up to 30 mph or so, with a temperature no higher than 51°F.

After they were done, we had lunch on the square and dashed home to meet a hay delivery. A tidy 130 bales of really sweet smelling grass, unloaded and stacked. Another wagonload is to arrive tomorrow morning. We'd like at least one, and possibly two more after that, but this much will get us through to late spring at least. Usually we aim for enough supply to get to July.

Our favorite local orchard already has the "Closed for the season" sign out. I guess their harvest was very poor this year due to the frosts and heavy rains last May. Most of the local orchards have been affected to some degree, but Michigan apples are coming in to fill the gap, thank goodness. Autumn without apples is, well, unthinkable.

There's a possibility of patchy frost as early as tomorrow night. Summer sure ended abruptly here.

Apples!

Sep. 19th, 2010 09:48 pm
altivo: (rocking horse)
We'd planned to stop in at our favorite local orchard at about noon today. Last week we didn't go by until 3 pm and they had already closed up. So we drove down there at about 12:30 and they were closed again. The sign in the drive said "Sold Out." Apple crops in Wisconsin and northern Illinois are down this year by 20 to 30% according to The Country Today, and the poor crop is attributed to weather in April and May. Early warmth brought on the blossoms early, and hard frosts in the first two weeks of May damaged many of the trees. There was also a lot of heavy rain during the pollination period, and honeybees are much scarcer (due to CCD syndrome) than they were a few years ago.

Fortunately, we remembered another place that we haven't tried before. It isn't much farther away, but is on a "road to nowhere" (a short road segment that connects two parallel county routes but serves only as a bypass in case a major route is closed by flooding or construction. Consequently, we don't pass by it regularly and I wasn't even sure the place would be open. It was. Due to the poor crop levels, they were not allowing customers to pick their own apples yet. Prices were good, though, and they had Honeycrisp, Gala, Ruby Jon, and McIntosh. We were also offered samples to try of their own preserves and a piquant peach salsa that I found quite enticing. We brought home Honeycrisp, Ruby Jon, and a jar of the salsa.

Ruby Jon is a variety I've never had before, but it will now go on my list of favorites. It was cloned from a single branch sport on a Jonathan varietal tree in Kentucky. The apples are smallish (which I like) and dark red. The flavor is rich, not too sweet, and like most Jonathans, strong enough for pies and other baked goods as well as for eating "out of hand."

With dinner tonight we had a turk's head squash cut in half and baked with apples and cinnamon in the seed cavities. It was really good.

I do hope though that our closest orchard friends will have enough of their Melrose apples later this month so I can buy some. I don't know of anywhere else to get that variety.

In other news, the literary criticism marathon continues. Looking just at the first paragraph of that 4000 word "story" I have gone back and forth with the writer four times now. Either he isn't understanding what I say, or I'm not putting it clearly enough. It seemed odd to me that he took my first private message to him and posted it to a forum thread, but I've continued with him in that vein. (I had assumed he'd prefer the discussion to be kept private.) I confess, I'm starting to wonder if I'm being trolled, though I can't imagine why.

Lasselanta

Sep. 10th, 2009 09:35 pm
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen,
yéni únótimë ve rámar aldaron!

[Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind,
long years numberless as the wings of trees!]
--Galadriel, in Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring


It's upon us already. It seems as if there was hardly a summer this year, the weather was so strange, but the birds are starting to flock in the trees. What was an occasional stray leaf on the ground has already multiplied into about one per square foot here. Some maple trees seem to be kindling into color very early indeed, and the sumac at the top of Marengo Ridge has gone crimson even before the goldenrod is finished blossoming.

We still have hummingbirds daily, but no way to know whether they are the same ones that were here all summer. Have those been replaced by transient birds, already starting their migration? It seems possible. Acorns are falling, squirrels are busy gathering them. So are the chipmunks, scurrying about and stuffing their little faces, then running off into their burrows.

The very belated pole beans in the garden have finally begun to blossom. With luck, the frost will hold off long enough for us to get a few beans out of it, but I'm not counting on it.

The approaching season leaves us with much to do. Yesterday I ordered a new blanket for Tess, so she can be out for short periods even if it is windy and cold. Hopefully wading in the snow will keep her hooves from drying out as badly as they did the last two winters. She won't like it much, but sometimes life is hard. Tomorrow will mark the second week of the new school year that classes have been in the library on Friday for stories and to check out books to read.

Banned Books Week is almost here, and the wildflower beds outside the glass wall are no longer a riot of purple, pink, and white. The remaining flowers are all yellow as egg yolk: goldenrod, prairie sunflower, compass plant. What I really notice though is the oak leaves falling at home.

Oaks can develop intense color when the weather is just right, but I've never figured out what the ideal conditions are. In an ordinary year, the oak leaves just turn brown over a period of weeks and then flutter to the ground. We already have brown leaves strewn over the grass. I don't know whether to wish for a hard frost that might turn the oaks to brilliant reds and maroons, or to hope for a long, slow autumn without a frost, so that we may yet get something from the garden and the apples and fall raspberries have their full five weeks or so of glory.

I do know one thing, though. This weekend I am going to find some apple cider, from fresh apples, somewhere.

Apples!

Sep. 6th, 2009 08:43 pm
altivo: The Clydesdale Librarian (Default)
First orchard apples of the season. This morning we went to the orchard just up the road from us and bought Royal Gala and Cortland apples. It was fairly quiet there that early, so we had a long talk with the owners about Japanese beetles and apple varieties and such. They are really nice folks, and even gave us a sack full of undersized apples for our horses. Apparently the apples are doing pretty well, in spite of the goofy weather, but some are ripening a bit late. I ate a Gala shortly after getting home and then gave Tess the core. She thought it was good and I agree.

Tomorrow: apple pie.

We also drove down to Elgin this afternoon to see friends there and let Gary pitch a mapping project he wants to do for the nature preserve they help manage. Looks like that will be a go, giving him a school project that will actually be used for something when he's done.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
...it rained.

We were afraid the orchard would be closed but went down there anyway and they were still open in the rain so we got some emore apples (you can never have too many apples.) More Cortlands, and some Melrose (my fave of the varieties they grow.)

Came back, did chores, worked on my weaving a bit. Gary transferred photos of the gallery with all the stuff on display out of his camera but it's too late tonight for me to upload any. So, tomorrow maybe.

Falling asleep I am. Good night.
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
When I took Tess out to the pasture this afternoon I detoured past the garden on the way back. As I suspected, there were more peas and beans needing to be picked, and tomatoes ready too. Also, the depredations of a tomato hornworm were evident. I'd hoped I had escaped those disgusting pests this year, but their damage is obvious once they get past a certain size. Large bites out of green tomatoes, whole upper stems denuded of leaves, and frass (caterpillar droppings) on the ground below that are bigger than mouse turds.

After I finished my barn chores, I grabbed a large colander for the harvest and mentioned to Gary that I had a hornworm. "Ah ha!" he said, "Time for an expedition." So he joined me, and brought the aluminum ladder too so we could pick our lonely four apples, all of which were just out of my reach. Filled the colander with beans, peas, and cherry tomatoes, and started tying the straggling tomato stems up to the trellises. Gary spotted the culprit. We've had larger, but this one was about six inches long. They camouflage well, and there may be more than one, but that one was "terminated" immediately and, well, messily. They squirt when squashed.

We got the apples down. I thought that tree was Cox but he pulled an old diagram out of his files and it is apparently Esopus Spitzenberg. This is the first year it has bloomed. One apple had a large rust spot, so I cut it up as soon as we got inside. More than half was OK, so we both got to try it. Just barely ripe, in spite of the bright red exterior, it had cream colored flesh that was quite firm with an intense flavor. I tell you, those modern commercial varieties they have at the supermarket are pale ghosts of apples when compared to the old antiques. Spitzenberg dates to the 1700s and was Thomas Jefferson's favorite variety. He had many trees planted at Monticello, and wrote about his orchards frequently. This would be a powerfully flavored cider apple, and is not too tart though it has a definite edge that would have been sweetened by mixing in another variety such as Graniwinkle. In Jefferson's day, hard cider was the everyday beverage drunk with all meals and whenever one was thirsty and didn't trust the well water. We lost a great deal to the prohibition movement, and fine cider making was one of the largest things destroyed. Some varieties of apple actually became extinct because the temperance rioters burned orchards or uprooted the trees. Last time I checked, no known specimens of Campfield or Povisham could be found. Harrison was still hanging by a thread, but in the 19th century it had more acreage than any other cider apple. Spitzenberg is a good keeper, so we'll hold onto the other three for a few weeks to see how they develop.
altivo: Running Clydesdale (running clyde)
Gary had his gig at the farmers market this morning, so take care of the animals since he leaves early for that, then do some laundry and make up a shopping list, go to the bank to deposit paycheck, to grocery store to buy food for the week, home to put away food, then to the farmers market to meet Gary for lunch and help him get all his stuff back to the car. Come home, put Tess out in the pasture for the afternoon, weave on Argos' shawl while Gary takes a nap to make up for getting up so early, then while he goes out to clean stalls (today being his day) think about all the apples sitting here and make an apple pie. Wind the rest of the dyed cotton into balls so I can finish knitting the lace scarf from it. Oh, and check e-mails and LJ, respond to whatever needs it, bring Tess back in and give her grain and hay, fix dinner using as much stuff from the garden as possible, now back to weaving or maybe knitting since that has the earlier deadline. Whew.

Made the pie using Cortland apples. Those are a tart, crunchy cooking apple that's pretty good in pies and excellent for apple sauce or baked apples. They also happen to be, well, rather large. I started with three, and thought "That can't be enough" so I peeled and sliced four of them. The pie ended up five inches high in the center and I could barely get the crust sealed around the edges. Of course, they cook down as the pie bakes, but still, a whole pie from just four apples is kinda amazing. I guess you could make a pie from just one if it was a Wolf River (they are the size of small pumpkins, but have little taste really.)

All the local orchards have their signs out, and it's amusing to watch the sign wars. "Not Just Delicious Orchard" puts out signs beside the road, and "Woodstock Country Orchard" comes along and puts theirs right behind, with prices on it, only to be hidden by a larger sign from "Year-Round Orchard" (which isn't open year round, but only in September and October.) Soon it will be like Burma Shave signs, with contradictions on each one. I guess last weekend was rained out for most of them, so they have a lot of apples to sell right now. "Prairie Skies Orchard" used to sell other people's apples because their own trees weren't yet bearing, but this year I understand they have their own apples. I don't know what varieties they planted, but the Red Delicious is finally in eclipse. No one wants it any more, thank goodness, so I'll bet they have something else more interesting. Maybe even Prairie Spies. Those would be nice to have. Empires come in next week, but unless we use up what we have I may not be able to justify buying them. The Melrose or Melreuge are the last ones, first week in October, and worth the wait. I still wish for Northern Spy and Winesap, but no one seems to have good trees any more.

Oh, and while I was getting ready to go shopping this morning, the doorbell rang, something that happens about once a year out here. Both dogs started barking, I looked out the window and there was a sheriff's car in the drive. Uh oh. Quick threw on some sweats because I had been getting into the shower and went to the door. It was a deputy all right, quite a young one. He wanted to know if I was missing a dog. No, I told him, I have two and you can hear them in the house barking at you. He explained that he had just seen a smallish dog out in the road, and when he stopped to see if he could catch it, the dog ran up our drive and into the woods behind the barns. I nodded, and told him it likely belonged to the neighbors to our west (the Brits) since they let their dogs run loose all the time and they are frequently nosing around in our barns and pasture. He apologized for disturbing me and left. Being nosy, I watched out the bedroom window to see if he would go over to the Brits' to ask them, but I guess he didn't. Too bad. I don't think their dogs are licensed either.
altivo: Plush horsey (plushie)
Equus, what a long day. On the plus side, the weather was nice, and I even took a lunch break sitting outside in the staff area behind the building, looking at the butterfly garden. And there was a big joint board meeting last night (that I dodged attending) and there was leftover food. Boo, I had to restrict myself, as I don't want to eat so many excess calories.

Met Gary for dinner in Woodstock because he was on his way to a meeting and a performance. On the way home, there was a beautiful crimson and purple sunset, but it was fading just as I pulled into the drive. I dashed into the house, grabbed the camera, and rushed out to the pasture where there's a fairly open view to the west, but too late. It was faded by the time I got there. About a mile or two from the house it was spectacular, as I drove west on Collins Road where there are nothing but open fields in sight.

Apples are coming in, my favorites. Gary went to our nearby orchard and got Honeycrisp and Cortland today. The first are really good for eating out of hand, the latter make grand pies and are so huge you don't have to do a lot of peeling. We still had some Ginger Gold and Royal Galas left too.

Now back to the weaving. Gotta get Argos' shawl done so I can move on to other things, like his feet. I'm thinking I'll try making felt boots for myself, and then build up his toes, nails, and pads on the outside of that using the fur fabric and filling.
altivo: Trojan horse image (wheelhorse)
So I studiously avoided stitching the hems in those two towels all day.

Went grocery shopping as usual, then went down the road to the orchard because the late variety apples were to be available today. They had Yellow Delicious, which are OK but not as strong flavored as I like. However, they also had the variety I was after, Melrose or Melreuge. This is a scarce variety in the US, and it's a pity. They are a huge apple, as big as both my fists together. The skin is crisp rather than tough like a Macintosh, and the flesh is pale yellow and crunchy, with lots of sweet yet slightly tart juice. They leave an after tingle in your mouth that suggests a little tannin if you'd had wine, but I suspect is malic acid. Anyway, they are nice to eat though a bit large. Made into pies or apple crisp though, they are spectacular. I bought a full peck, and Mrs. Rash insisted on adding a few more to the top of the bag so that it was overflowing. Nummy.

Ice cream was on sale at the grocery store, so I think pie a la mode is in the offing. I also like apples with sharp cheddar, and I have two pounds of that coming with the co-op order on Tuesday, hopefully.

Put Tess out in the pasture and did the barn chores, cleaning stalls, putting down new wood shavings. Then fed everyone just at sunset and came inside to make a pot of chili. Gary called and is having a good time up in Wisconsin. Sounds like he won't be back until Monday morning.

While cleaning up the boys' yard after putting them away for the night, I picked up a very flat chipmunk. It had obviously been stepped on by a horse, probably more than once. It was not where it could have fallen out of their hay, and seemed much too fresh for that anyway. I suppose a cat might have dropped it in there and the horses just stepped on it by accident. However, a friend of ours had a horse who used to deliberately squish mice in her stall, so I wonder...

In between all this I was monitoring the six machines that are running BOINC in their idle times. About six work units completed for SETI@Home, and their server was down all afternoon and not taking results. However, that logjam seems to have cleared now and all the results went through, only to be held as "pending" while they await confirmation from another machine that will have run the same set of data. Consequently my scores are in for a big boost when all that gets approved. Two or three work units for WCG also completed, and the first (slow) Alpha that I started on Tuesday night is probably going to finish up its results before midnight. I'm still juggling projects around trying to figure out which machines can best handle them. The two Alphas have to run SETI, as it is the only project with a client that runs on the Alpha processor, but the other machines can run a mix or a single heavier project if desired. My home machine turns out to be the fastest, by a little bit, but I'm reluctant to load it down with something like CPDN that I can't cancel later without losing the credit for a long run.

That chili should be about ready now, so I'm gone. XD
altivo: My mare Contessa (nosy tess)
Soooo... Suddenly the lovely clear, cool fall weather is gone and we're back in the heat and humidity of July. It hit 90°F with 90% humidity or so this afternoon. We closed up windows and restarted the air conditioning, which has been off for a couple of weeks. Mosquitos are back in force after being stunned but not killed by cold nights and dry breezy days. Two confirmed human cases of West Nile virus in the county in the last month, as well as a horse and a dead blue jay.

Gary skipped T'ai Chi tonight and we peeled and sliced pie apples for the freezer. Empire, one of the better pie varieties, and Gary got a full peck on Friday. Eight quarts went in the freezer, leaving nearly a half peck for eating and fresh pies right now. We made applesauce out of the scraps. The Honeycrisps are about done, but I plan to go back for Melrose this weekend. Apple season is my favorite time, I think. Too bad it's so short.

Colors are blooming on the trees overnight too. The cool weather over the weekend started to bring them out more, and in any wide vista now (and we have lots of them, living as we do on the side of a fairly high ridge) you see color on about 10% of the foliage. If it continues at this rate, we could have some stunning colors in a week or two. Assuming of course that we don't get a lot of rain and wind to knock the leaves off the trees prematurely. There was a 70% chance of thunderstorms tonight last I checked, though no sign of them coming yet.

This will be the first post I try to double between LiveJournal and GreatestJournal. Let's see...
altivo: Clydesdale Pegasus (pegasus)
Uh, no, the mice aren't going in the pies... yet. Wednesday I saw a mouse in the kitchen, so we got out the live traps. Thursday we had two mice, and took them out behind the barn and dumped them in a brushpile. Friday we had one in the trap, and yesterday two more plus we each saw one that got away. This morning four out of six traps had mice in them. Gary tried drowning the Thursday catch, but the mouse swam and swam and he felt so sorry for it he fished it back out. I'm beginning to think that five hundred feet away with two barns full of hay between them and the house isn't far enough. Two resident cats aren't doing much. One is too old to catch mice I think, and the other is too fat and lazy.

It's apple time again. We went down the road to the nearest orchard this morning and brought back two pecks: Cortlands and Honeycrisp. Because of the heavy rains, the apples are huge and very juicy but the flavor isn't quite as strong as it would be in a more dry year. Anyway, I'm making pie, apples mixed with black raspberries from the freezer. Cortlands are usually very good for pie and applesauce. Honeycrisp is very crunchy and they're nice for eating. Unfortunately, I guess Oprah declared them to be her favorite apple a few years ago, which means they now command a higher price than the others even though orchards have planted them everywhere as a result. Also available this week: Gala, Jonathan, Jonamac, Jonagold, and Senshu. Next week the Empire, another of my favorites, and Al says there aren't a lot of them this year so we should get there on Friday. At the end of the month, Melrose (also called Melreuge,) which is a big red apple with crisp flesh and tart flavor that I love to put in pies and apple crisp. They will also have Golden Delicious and Red Delicious, but neither of those has any appeal for us. Compared to many of the other varieties, they seem quite dull and tasteless.

I wish there was a good cider mill around here, but there really isn't. Since cider sold off premises is required to be pasteurized, we can't get really tasty apple cider here. It's something I really miss from back when I lived in Michigan.

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