This weekend, after canning 17 1/4 litres of tomatoes, I declared this week a farm week. I realised that there was more to do than I could do on the afternoons and evenings and the weekend had already crammed in lard making, gardening, laundry, dog walking, tomato collecting, tomato processing and canning as well as the regular home stuff. Not enough hours in the day about covers it.
So instead of fighting it I decided that this week is a farm week. We have a couple of outside homeschool activities this week (science club and a woodworking workshop) but I won’t be teaching this week. Instead I’m going to focus on making use of the tomato crop that we’ve managed to get this year in our constant battle against the elements. It is going to be a struggle as the weather is still against us but I’m determined to make it work!
So this morning, with 3 kilos of green tomatoes salted and waiting in my stock pot, we headed off in search of one ingredient we don’t (currently) produce ourselves, apples. Lucky for us we didn’t have to go far, our local orchard is just 6 minutes away which is a perfect distance on a chill September morning.
The lady who owns and runs the orchard greeted us with cheer and enthusiasm, lifting our spirits even further. She offered us the option of collecting perfect windfall apples for only $24 a bushel (that’s a LOT of apples!) and I admit I jumped at the chance with a winsome lack of shame. After all I have two young children perfectly suited to hunting around under apple trees in the sunshine, a fabulous combination of botany and physical education to get the day off to a roaring start.
As we scrabbled around under the trees in search of perfectly formed windfalls, the day got warmer and warmer. We shed our layers as we brought our treasures again and again to our large bushel basket, holding them up like dew dipped jewels. We couldn’t have been prouder of ourselves if we’d found a real dragon hoard, left abandoned under the dappled shade of the apple trees.
The boys took a well earned rest in the sunshine, munching on a couple of scrumped apples while I basked in the unexpected break in the clouds and contemplated all the delicious possibilities my bushel of apples might bring. Of course a good batch of farmhouse chutney for which I am internationally famous (that’s a lie), as well as many gallons of apple sauce for the Neirin monster, some frozen pie fillings and fresh pies too and perhaps even a little apple juice to soothe our tired selves after a couple more hours of tomato gathering later this week.
Who knows, dear reader, who knows what the days might bring. The possibilities glimmer like the shining dewdrops on the apple skins we plucked from the soft bosom of grass onto which they has slowly tumbled, each one turning in the sunshine to reveal it’s myriad faces of dreams and melting maybe futures. But I do know this, whatever else this busy farm week may contain it will most assuredly contain apples.