Sometimes, it’s important to take a break from Halloween in the middle of the season and remember that Fall is great for other reasons as well.
When I was a kid, we used to head up to my grandparent’s house in Virginia in the Fall to pick the apples in their small orchard. My dad would climb into the trees and shake them as hard as he could and the apples would rain down. We’d gather them up and sort them out, the bruised and abused apples being set aside for cider.
The cider making was really the best part. The cider press and grinder was a cantankerous wooden and iron contraption that would tear through the apples, grinding them into pulp, the pulp falling into a cloth lined bucket, which was then pressed. Swarms of yellow jackets and wasps would gather and I would always watch anxiously, hoping that they wouldn’t become part of the cider. Which, inevitably, they always did.
After we moved from North Carolina to New York, we stopped going down every year for apple pickin’. It has been years, maybe a full decade, since I last did any kind of apple picking.
Today, Emily, a couple friends and I all headed out West, going a little further out into Massachusetts, where there was fairly large scale U Pick apple orchard. I had been to a few of these operations, but this was probably one of the larger that I had been too. There were goats and pigs and hayrides and plastic jugs of cider and trees going red, yellow, gold and the apples. So many apples.
As a kid, it was one of the ways I defined Fall: you went out into the country and collected apples by the bagful and you got out into the air that was just starting to get chilly and you really saw Fall for the first time, in all its colors.
It was nice to be able to do that again and to usher Fall in again that way.
TOMORROW: Blood and Horror at Rock and Shock