Pumpkins, falling leaves, apple orchards, ghosts and goblins. This is my favorite time of year. Thoughts of friends, family, children, and trick or treating. I’ve already decorated the front of the house with pumpkins. I grew up on a farm in central Illinois and this is the busy time of year for farmers, harvesting corn and soybeans. My mom always finished preserving the leftover produce from our garden, using the last tomatoes before the first frost, bringing in the onions to dry and digging potatoes. We also made applesauce from the bushels of apples we got from our grandparent’s orchard.
I have been working hard on my new book, Plain and Fancy, and I have some news about Montana Home. My publisher, The Wild Rose Press, is working on having it available as an audio book. I will let you know when that happens. Also, Montana Home will be on sale for 99 cents in October for two weeks. I will post it on Facebook and my website.
I’ve included a bonus story at the end of the newsletter and a favorite fall recipe.
Enjoy the fall and happy reading!
Mix 5 peeled, chopped apples with 1 Tbsp. lemon juice in an
8-inch square baking dish. With a fork, work 1 stick of
butter (1/2 cup) butter into 1 cup each rolled oats and
1 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour,and 1/2 tsp. salt until
mixture is crumbly and combined. Sprinkle over apples. Bake
in a 350 degree oven until apples are tender, about one hour
and ten minutes.
Bushels of Apples
When I was a young girl, every fall the family would travel to my grandparent’s farm to pick the apple crop. My father was one of nine children. All my uncles and aunts were married with children, except for one uncle.
The day would start with a hay rack ride to the orchard. The men would be on ladders and the children below would gather the apples that had fallen to the ground. Adults kept a sharp eye on the antics of the little ones. Ever mindful of too much of a good thing, my uncles and older cousins warned us about eating too many apples.
In the meantime, my mom and aunts would be in the farmhouse, peeling apples to make apple butter over the open fire. Grandma would preside over the work being done in her kitchen. Talk would center on child rearing and neighborhood gossip.
Bushels and bushels of apples were peeled and taken to the big iron pot that was set up in the barnyard. Under the watchful eye of Grandpa, wood was gathered and the fire started. It was an all-day process. Later in the day, the children would tire from running around the farm and watching the grownups tend to the fire and progress of the fruit mixture. Some of the apples we picked were pressed for apple cider, too.
I never knew the recipe, but I remember Grandma’s homemade bread, warm from the oven. We would slather it with steamy cinnamon apple butter. Each bite was pure heaven.
Nowadays, when we want apple butter, we go to the store or a local orchard and put it on our store bought bread. It’s still good, but doesn’t taste like the old fashioned homemade apple butter of years ago.
Gone are the days of one making apple butter over an open fire, smelling of the outdoors, cinnamon, and luscious fruit. Our mouth watering at the smell and first taste of the sumptuous treat.
Families are spread far and wide, so these gatherings are not so common anymore. The brisk fall air still turns our cheeks red with color, but memories of aunts, uncles, and cousins, standing around the fire at night as the apple butter cooks, are now precious memories of a time gone past.