Apples and Pumpkins

Know Your ApplesLast year, the first year that Sweetie and I were together, he was blatantly anti-apple picking.

Each summer for the past few years, his family has organized a group apple-picking trip that he’s generally not a fan of.

Last year, upon learning of the family apple-picking trip, I thought it would be a neat thing to do. Sweetie was less than enthusiastic, and we skipped apple picking.

This year, however, when apple-picking time came around, Sweetie acquiesed, and a-picking we did go.

Sweetie, with a JonagoldThe story of apple picking cannot, however, be told without a comment about the weather. It was hot. Not just hot, muggy and sweaty and icky hot.

I remember having to wear sweaters and long pants to pick apples when I was a kid. I was actually kind of sorry that I wore long pants this year. We were all sweaty and drained by the time we were done. The planned hike scheduled for later in the day, well….I’m not sure how much hiking actually got done. We went home and took a nap.

Little apple trees, ripe for the picking

Besides the heat, it was a great day. And there’s nothing like a crisp, fresh apple straight off the tree, rinsed off with some bottled water, and crunched down while walking the rows of trees.

It helped that the orchard we went to was in my hometown, a farming community about 30 minutes away from the capitol city that’s slowly being overrun with pre-fab condos and chain stores. (The first McDonalds opened in town a couple weeks ago. I will forever boycott that, the chain supermarket that forced the mom-and-pop market to Fresh applesclose, the Wal-Mart planned for next door, and the Home Depot they hope to build down the street.)

It also helped that they had this gorgeous field of many different varieties of orange and white pumpkins.

Every fall when I was a kid, we’d go pumpkin picking. Sometimes we’d carve them, and sometimes we’d just paint them, but there were always pumpkins, fall decorations, scarecrows in the yard (even though we lived 1/4-mile back on a dirt Pumpkins in a fielddriveway off the main road), and gourds varnished to preserve them and piled in festive baskets around the house. That’s been all-but lost as kids grow up, parents divorce, and families change. But lately, my desire to get back to those traditions that I always loved is really strong.

This year, I really need to carve a pumpkin. So, seeing this field, and wandering it with Sweetie to find that perfect pumpkin (which Sweetie, purveyor of the applesSweetie totally did!) was just what I needed.

That was Saturday. Yesterday, I was deviously coerced into pulling on my boots and taking a ride on that chestnut mare again. Whew, Marguile made me work hard! Nothing came easy with her yesterday.

But, after some fighting and some tough communication, I got her head down, her body collected, and I even felt good enough to lope her (canter, for the non-Western riders) just a little bit with only the tiniest fear that she was going to toss my ass out of the saddle.

Today, my ‘seatbones,’ a term that I always thought my longtime riding instructor has coined but apparently it’s a common equestrian term and there are three of them, are not happy.

My hometown, growing less pastoral each day...

No knitting to speak of. Today, perhaps? It’s a distinct possibility.

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