Saturday, September 23, 2006
Apples, apples, and more apples!
Autumn is officially here now, and with it comes apple season! For as long as I can remember, each fall has brought with a big applesauce day at Grandma's house. Aunt Jill, Grandpa & Grandma, Great-Grandma, and all of us, would get together at Grandma Erber's house and wash, peel, core, chop, boil, and mash bushels of apples into applesauce. Grandpa always managed the cooking and mashing part of it while we all sat at the kitchen table peeling and coring the apples. Some of the apples we would slice into ziplock bags and freeze to be made into apple pies sometime during the coming winter. It was an all day job, and by the end of the day the kitchen table would be covered with apple peels and cores, and our hands would be black and cramped, but the house would be warm and filled with the delicious fragrance of apples.
This past Wednesday was apple day at the Erber home. Carrying on the old family tradition, Sara and her little ones arrived just before 9:00am to help us get things set-up and started, Josh lugged in the 7 crates of apples, and we were off! Mid-morning brought the arrival of a family from our church who stopped by to be a part of the day, and lunch time saw the arrival of Jeremy, Nathan and Jeanine, and their little ones. Oh, the noise! Oh, the energy and busyness! Oh, the fun!
It was a perfect old-fashioned, storybook scene. Over the noise of one brother at the piano, the steady rhythmic sound of the quartering of apples, the saucer grinding away at its task, the pot of apples on the stove whistling as it boiled, and the voices and sounds of children as they played, the four sisters attempted to carry on a conversation with one another across the kitchen sharing news, gossip, ideas... "Did you hear so-and-so's engaged?" "Oh really? Who is he?" "Have you heard anything from What's-her-name lately?" "Is that your baby crying, or mine?" "This pot of apples is ready." "Any news from the family that used to live over by J?" "I think it's your baby crying." "Say, I was reading about such-and-such yesterday..." "Does anyone remember what time the canner started boiling?" "Oh, did you hear about..." "Where ARE the little girls?" "I was talking with my neighbor, and her sister-in-law found that this rememdy really helped her baby..." "Could you stir those apples..."
Over the past few years as our family has grown it's only gotten better and even more fun to be together. Home and hearts were warm as we laughed, chatted, and worked together. And, as an added benefit - in spite of the pleasurable distractions of 4 children under two years old - by 11:45 that evening all 7 bushels of apples had disappeared and we had canned over 120 quarts of applesauce. Many thanks to Josh for scrubbing those dishes clean!!!!
Oh, and Caroline enjoyed the applesauce, too!
While our backs were turned... (though apparently the photographer was witness to the 'crime'!)
Cooking and canning side by side. We realized our kitchen isn't quite big enough... Or, at least, we could use a second stove! :-)
Ah, yes, EVERYONE got into the act at some point during the day!
Apple crates are really fun to play in, too!
Some of the 120+ jars of applesauce!