I had a busy weekend, and your Catholic Librarian is still reaping the exhaustion benefits from it. But it was a nice weekend, and it involved apple picking, one of my favorite autumn excursions.
My in-laws were in town for the weekend, and you know what this means: lots of tornadoing around the house, making it clean by the sheer force of my fretting. My mother-in-law is a very tidy housekeeper, and thus I am extra paranoid when they come to say. You know, because there is nothing worse than your mother-in-law wondering, "does she ever clean this bathroom?!" Nothing worse, I tell you.
They arrived Friday, and all went well. Saturday we geared up for apple picking. We made the drive out to a farm that is about an hour from where we live, and that is one beautiful drive this time of year. In October it's even better; that's the time of peak foliage in this region.
We arrive, and get ourselves organized. Hank wants to play in the playground and hay maze they have set up, and we buy tokens to ride the tractor back into the orchard. While we wait for the first ride of the morning to depart, Mike and I wander over to the petting zoo. I'm not always a fan of petting zoos. I love animals, I just don't always want them to touch me. And it can be weird if they're all loose in the same space with you, because I personally find it jarring to feel someone at my elbow and turn to find that it's a goat.
We head over, and I can discern quickly that you need to observe the animals only from across a fence and pet them through it. This is good. Except for the fact that a rooster appears to have escaped, and he's pecking his way toward us with an alarming amount of enthusiasm. I back up a bit, but this just spurs him to peck his way forward even more rapidly. I can see the headlines now:
WOMAN ATTACKED BY ROGUE ROOSTER AND PECKED INTO UNCONSCIOUSNESS; expected to make full recovery, but swears off fowl for the rest of her days.
As I gave him a weak smile and asked him to "please not peck me" I realized that he wasn't approaching us with malice, but with an agenda. He was making little "bawking" noises and pecking his head in the direction of the cracked corn feeder. He actually came right over and tried to herd our steps in the chosen direction. Mike walked toward the feeder, and the rooster nearly stumbled over his own feet in excitement. He waited below, pecking away, for some corn to fall down as Mike inserted a quarter.
Pretty soon, the goats and pigs got a load of the fact that some action was going down, and they all crowded at the edge of the fence for their share. This kept them happily entertained, as opposed to last year, when all the female goats appeared to be pregnant, or in the process of becoming pregnant. The males were chasing them around the yard and having their way all too often, even with some who were already visibly pregnant! The female goats weren't taking too kindly to this aggressive display of affection. This year, everyone was in a happy mood.
Soon, we headed to the orchard. In season this time of year are Gala, Macintosh, Cortland, and Empire apples. We all picked a bunch to make applesauce. I ate 2 Empires (what this region is well known for) right off the tree. SO good. Unfortunately, the applesauce yield wasn't very high. We collected over 2 pecks worth of apples, diced them until our fingers hurt, and boiled down 2 enormous pots of apples, only to end up with this pathetic-looking Tupperware bowl of applesauce. Clearly, we did something wrong. I guess doing research on the types of apples best for making applesauce would have been a helpful preamble. But really, it's more about the experience. We had a great time. And my little pumpkin was very happy playing and picking apples. Life is good.