Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I was in the middle of feeding the poultry Monday morning when I noticed the extra-beautiful sunrise. I absentmindedly set down the tub of feed (much to the turkeys' dismay, because they were next in line) and ran in to get the camera. I probably stood there, staring at the eastern sky, for about 10 or 15 minutes.

Soon afterward, the clouds rolled in and the rain began. It hasn't rained hard--it's mostly misting and sprinkling--but the garden is loving it. I hope the weather stays like this for a while, then turns sunny in time to ripen some more tomatoes for Saturday. (As if I could dictate the weather!)

J and I made another quick trip to the mountains for apples and pumpkins yesterday. The cool, moist weather was invigorating, and we didn't mind it at all. What a difference a month makes: Burt's Pumpkin Farm was a hellaceous mess of parents and elementary-schoolers (why weren't they in school?!) with lines stretching out the door from the cash register. Never mind--we got our pumpkins! I brought home one big carving pumpkin, three good-sized Long Island Cheeses, one Rouge Vif d'Etampes, and two butternut squashes. I wanted a giant banana squash, but theirs were looking a bit worse for wear. Eventually I found a better one at a roadside stand.

That roadside stand also came in handy apple-wise. Most of the apple houses didn't have their tiny, tart Yates apples in yet; apparently they like to wait for the first couple of good frosts before harvesting them, and that had only just happened. But I found half a bushel there. I also found a few of the last remaining Empires, which in my opinion are some of the best cooking apples on earth.

At Mack Aaron's Apple House, the Arkansas Black apples were in (J refers to them as "blapples," which amuses me). I got some of those, plus a gallon of apple cider. Last time we were there the cider was insipid, but now it was tangy and delicious. I guess the different varieties of ripe apples are the reason.

We went back to the Cantaberry Café, whose banana cake with cream cheese frosting had sorely tempted us last time. We were eternally grateful to find that there was banana cake on the menu again. It was everything we had hoped for, and even the two of us together could not finish the massive slice the owner cut for us.

Now my week looks busy, to say the least. There is "work work," and plenty of it. And on top of that, I have a grueling amount of stuff to make for this weekend's farmer's market, which coincides with the Watkinsville Fall Festival. I have been told to expect a Big Day. Our pear tree is starting to drop pears in earnest, so one of the first orders of business will be a big batch of our house special: pear-citrus marmalade. Also apple butter, of course. And pies, pies, pies.