DID MAKE LITTLE GREEN APPLES
18 August 2008
When we first moved in to this house in 1973, David was 18 months old and Jeri was 7. We had the house built, so everything here was chosen or designed by us, including the still-nonexistent landscaped yard. However, I did go through a period of "earth-motherhood," when we planted a garden, put in some trees and made a stab at a lawn (which is now only a distant memory, thanks in great part to all the dogs who have chased each other around here).
I loved our home grown tomatoes, but hated the icky tomato horn worms that came with them, so that didn't last all that long. We only grew corn one year, but I still remember the flavor of freshly picked corn when you brought it directly into the house and cooked it immediately.
My favorite threat to the kids occurred during our "zucchini phase" when I discovered that those little bitty things you get in the grocery store are mutants, and the real zucchini, unnchecked, grows to watermelon size. And the kids didn't like zucchini at all. I did my best to disguise it by hiding it in soups or spaghetti sauce, but they were too smart for me, so I got them to eat their zucchini by reminding them that the longer it took them to get through the current zucchinizilla the bigger the one growing in the garden would be. It was a successful threat. Some times.
We planted fruit trees because I loved the idea of going out and plucking fruit off of a tree in my own yard. The peach tree did great. Somewhere there is a picture of David, sitting on the floor of the kitchen surrounded by buckets of peaches. (I canned in those days too, and made jam and ice cream and all sorts of wonderful things out of the fruits of our garden.)
We also planted a plum tree, a nectarine tree, and an apple tree. An apricot tree was already growing on the property when we bought it, but it had been here so long that the apricots were 30' up in the air and we could never get to them.
The year after our bumper crop of peaches, the tree developed severe leaf curl and died. It was like that one big year was its last gasp. Gradually the other trees died too, or Walt eventually cut them down.
But the apple tree continues to thrive. That it thrives is entirely due to the ministrations of God, because other than taking pictures of apple blossoms when they first come out, I pretty much ignore the tree until I realize that it is heavily laden with little green apples that are between golf ball and tennis ball size. Kind of the size of very large plums, actually.
Some years they all fall off, the dogs chase them around the yard or bring them into the house and leave them lying all over the place.
This year, Walt actually harvested a huge pot full of little green apples. I tasted one and it seemed to be not quite ripe, so I let them sit in the pot. And of course around here, once a thing gets put on a flat surface, it disappears. Today, several weeks later, I noticed that the apples which used to be green were now (many of them) turning yellow. I just couldn't justify throwing that many apples out.
I had recorded the Obama/McCain town hall meeting last night while we were in San Francisco, and wanted to watch it. I knew that it was 2 hrs long and I couldn't justify just sitting there for 2 hours during the afternoon, so I decided to process the apples.
I sat myself at the kitchen table with the pot of apples, a cutting board, a pot to put the cut apples in, and a cup for garbage and set to work.
Since we don't tend to the tree, there are a lot of problems with these apples, but almost all of them had parts that were salvageable. As I watched first Obama and then McCain answer questions, I just kept slogging away at my apples, and by the time the program was over, I had a surprisingly full pot full of apple chunks.
I hadn't decided whether I was going to make applesauce or a pie, but since I'd just picked up four HUGE jars of applesauce at Costco, I decided to go for the pie (which was my first choice anyway).
I made my favorite Julia Child food processor crust, which is the flakiest ever (and I'm a crust aficionado) and piled it HIGH with the apple chunks. In about an hour the house smelled of apple pie and I was happy.
I sent a text message to Jeri to ask if she and Phil would be here for dinner tomorrow night, and told her that we had homemade apple pie. "Pie?" she asked, and said they would definitely be here.
Walt and I had pie for dessert tonight and it was delicious, if I do say so myself. So I'm grateful to God, Comcast, Obama and McCain, and Julia Child tonight. I'm also grateful that the big pot of apples is finally empty!
PHOTO OF THE DAY
MILES TO NOWHERE: 67.5 miles