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Thursday, August 30, 2012

How do you like them Apples?

My parents never intended to have an apple tree in their front yard. My dad originally planted a flowering crab apple tree in front of their house. It was scrawny and never really did well... and after a few years shriveled and died. But the next year a new tree grew right up out of the middle of it... so Dad just let it. Fast forward a few years, and that new tree was thriving and started producing small hard green apples. They were pretty grainy and bitter, so we never did much with them. Fast forward a few more years... and my parents have a huge thriving apple tree producing large, sweet, greenish yellow apples of unknown variety. Also this year, another tree seems to have grown up and out of the middle of their apple tree-- and wouldn't you know, it's a flowering crab apple?!?!
So that's the strange story of how my parents came to have a large fruit producing tree and flowering crab all in one tree all in their front yard.Weird.

Anyway, my parents never use any pesticides on their fruit trees, so often the crop rendered is pathetic and bug chewed. (Oh, and also they have a pear tree in the back that the squirrels claimed last year and ate just about every one.) But this year for whatever reason the pests left the fruit alone creating a robust and tasty crop of fruit!
 Several times my parents have had friends and neighbors (and a few strangers, even!) come and strip the lower limbs of the fruit before it was ripe. One lady my mom met through freecycle took apple leftovers to feed her chickens and then the next week delivered farm fresh eggs to their front door! I told my mom she should try to maintain the chicken lady relationship. We even had a worker installing siding down the street ask if he could buy some of our apples, we told him he could take as many as he could carry for free... but maybe our offer was too enthusiastic, because he grabbed about three and walked away hurriedly.
The tree was dropping apples at an alarming rate and my dad decided it was time to harvest... so yesterday afternoon Sam and I went over and cleaned that tree out! It was Sam's first time picking fruit... but really he was more interested in playing with a pile of apples on the ground, and picking and eating handfuls of grass. (shrug, what are you gonna do?) I sat at the top of a ladder high in the tree and grabbed at apples warm from the sun. We picked as many as we could by hand and using the small ladder, and then my dad got out his ghetto-rigged tree shaker and shook the rest of the apples off the top branches. In all we took about four bushels of edible fruit off their tree yesterday! (And maybe another bushel or so of 'seconds' I set aside for the chickens!) That's a lot of fruit!
You can bet that in the next couple weeks we'll be making lots of apple sauce and apple butter, and maybe some pies and cakes as well.
I just love apples... 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Making it

My mom dropped off a couple bags like this. And a bag of apples. It's fall, almost, isn't it? I can feel it coming. FINALLY cooling down a bit, and pears and apples from my parent's fruit trees. Lots of pears and apples. So we've been making this, and have plans to can some pear slices for this winter.

Also we went on vacation and I've been slow in recovering and reverting to a non-vacation schedule. So has Sam. He's had a rough week. Lots of screaming and crying from both of us. We just weren't ready for vacation to be over.

I found some lost items, bought some exciting new supplies, and planned out a few cool projects for fall and (sorry if the mention of the holidays so early makes you cringe...) Christmas. I am excited about things to share, if I can ever get around to them.

Did I tell you my child is crawling? I can't get anything done anymore. But really, would I be a bad mom if I put a swiffer mop pad on his belly and knees and just let him take care of a few chores for me?

Oh, and Winston is pretty certain that Grandma brought this bag of 'balls' over for him to play with. So that's been fun too.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Prints for Sam's Room

This week I have been doing a few things I meant to do... eight months ago? (Is it possible the boy is almost eight months??? Yikes!) I am finishing up Sam's room.
I mean, everything was in place when he arrived, but there were a few details, like... things on the walls and empty frames that needed to be filled. And I finally said enough is enough. I've gotta make this happen.
One of the things I wanted to do was a make a few prints for his room with some special verses and cute sayings, etc. I've been wanting to try my hand at some text printables, but never really got around to it. But yesterday my son took a THREE HOUR NAP (!!!!!!) and after doing dishes, laundry, and sitting by myself, watching an old episode of the office uninterupted, just for funsies... i went, huh. now what? And I sat down at the computer and created something.
Would you believe... just as it was complete and I was pushing the SAVE button I heard the first little whimpers from the monitor meaning my munchkin had awakened. How's that for timing?
The first one is a blessing/song that my family has been singing for years. I used to attend early morning practices for the elite high school choir when I was in 3rd and 4th grade. My mother was the accompanist and I sat at the piano bench through all their rehearsals and listened and learned. I remember the first time I heard this song and I thought the music and the text were beautiful. When I was in college the choir I was in sang the same song at the end of every concert, and I loved it. So this blessing has been special to me for a very long time. I have prayed this over my little boy so many nights as he sleeps peacefully. I hope he'll grow up with a special place for this text in his life too.
This morning when I woke up at 7:00 everyone else was still sound asleep. So I snuck downstairs to have my coffee in peace, and started working on a second print for Sam's room. This one is also a scripture-- but a little bit tongue in cheek. One thing that Z especially hates is when people take scripture out of context and use it to mean something it doesn't. So I told him I was making prints with questionable scriptural context for Sam's walls... and he started to get all leary.
Then I showed him the second print, and he laughed and said-- that's actually pretty funny. The second one will be hung in the collage above Sam's changing table, so it's fitting. And it just makes me giggle.
I have a couple nice frames with matts that have been sitting in my basement for a couple years ready for these little gems. I am off to the printer today to have them printed up! 

(If you would be interested in having a copy of one or both of these prints, let me know and I would be happy to email you original files!)