LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Apple Afternoon

First of all, wear a comfortable and supportive pair of shoes.

It is the apple time of the year. We have only crab apple trees, and I had it in mind to make applesauce, so I put out a plea on social media begging for surplus apples. Jim and I picked a basketful at our friend Mylo’s house this weekend, but he’d had a bad windstorm some weeks back and didn’t have many left on his tree.

On Saturday, Jim went to Fredonia, N.D., with Jeff to hunt ducks on opening day.  Lo and behold, not only did he come home with a limit of succulent mallards, he also brought home a big box and bag of beautiful Sweet Sixteen and Haralson apples.

This afternoon (Monday), I put some good tunes on and went to work converting these to applesauce. No, we don’t have one of those nifty peelers.

Once I got two pots simmering with chopped apples, I went to work and peeled the rest of my bounty.

Who doesn’t peel apples and not picture Meg Ryan in the movie “Sleepless in Seattle”?

Some of the peeled, cored and chopped apples got dumped into Ziplocs, for later baking of apple crisp and pies.

Once all of the simmering apples were soft, I dumped the yummy mush into the sieve to remove the peeling and seeds, following the instructions in the Ball Guide.

While I worked, Mylo showed up with more! I decided that I preferred the method of peeling, coring and chopping prior to the cooking over the Ball method, which I think wastes too much, so the second batch got done that way.

Sugar is optional and I opt out, preferring the tart, pure apple taste. I do, however, put in a generous amount of Penzey’s nutmeg in mine.

Hours later, I have six quarts of applesauce, several bags of frozen apple chunks and a container of applesauce in the fridge to add to my oatmeal tomorrow morning.

“After Apple Picking” by Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree

Toward heaven still,

And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill

Beside it, and there may be two or three

Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.

But I am done with apple-picking now.

Essence of winter sleep is on the night,

The scent of apples: I am drowsing off.

I cannot rub the strangeness from my sight

I got from looking through the pane of glass

I skimmed this morning from the drinking trough

And held against the world of hoary grass.

It melted, and I let it fall and break.

But I was well

Upon my way to sleep before it fell,

And I could tell

What form my dreaming was about to take.

Magnified apples appear and disappear,

Stem end and blossom end,

And every fleck of russet showing clear.

My instep arch not only keeps the ache,

It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.

I feel the ladder sway as the boughs bend.

And I keep hearing from the cellar bin

The rumbling sound

Of load on load of apples coming in.

For I have had too much

Of apple-picking: I am overtired

Of the great harvest I myself desired.

There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,

Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall.

For all

That struck the earth

No matter if not bruised or spiked with stubble,

Went surely to the cider-apple heap

As of no worth.

One can see what will trouble

This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.

Were he not gone,

The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his

Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,

Or just some human sleep.

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