I love September.
I love the fresh-start feel it promises each and every year.
I love the crisp mornings and the dark starlit nights.
I love the dew not-yet-turned frost in the mornings.
I love the birds still chirping.
I love the abundance of apples.
I love the plethora of pears.
I love applesauce and the smell filling the house as the near-home-grown apples simmer on the stovetop, promising to spill over at any moment.
All this stuff - the smells, the activity of "making our own", the gratification of teaching the kids - it's all so earthy, isn't it? It just feels real. It feels right and the way we should live. It's a small taste of what it would really be like to live more simply. It's lovely.
This year with the strain and drain of the impending proposal I didn't have it in me to can the apple and pear sauces which fill(ed) dozens of jars. I thought freezing would just be simpler. A few less steps. A little less counter mess and more space to make meals. (Plus, clutter puts me in a foul mood and I figured already being on edge about the restructuring proposal, this was no time to tempt with the inevitable.)
So away I went, filling jar upon 1 Litre jar. Until they filled the part of the deep freeze remaining, after good friends ever-so-kindly donated all their deep freeze contents to us prior to their move.
The next step was imminent...move on to the fridge freezer.
(The pies are yet to be made...I'm gonna need to get creative...and there are bags of the stuff raw, chopped and waiting to be devoured as middle-of-the-winter-cereal topping, also shoved into every nook and cranny...among the summer plums and blackberries of course.)
So, what's a girl to do when she's filled nearly every square inch of freezable space with apple and pear products?
She makes apple and pear fruit leather of course. Pure fruit. Oven dried. It's delicious. And it rolls nicely to fit into those tiny spaces waiting to be filled.
And the muffins. You can last through dozens of snack (and meal!) times with muffins...you know, the applesauce-raisin-walnut ones. The ones with minimal sugar and maximum nutritional goodness. Yes, the kind on which you can slap some almond butter and feel good about passing it over to a whiney kid at lunch time, knowing he's about to get a well-rounded meal all in one fist. (Veggies on the side, of course.)
And then, just when I thought I was done...well, except for the pies of course...a neighbor puts out boxes of Hazelnuts picked fresh from their yard. Still in husks, needing to be peeled and then of course cracked, it seemed the perfect rainy day activity. And how perfect for little minds to understand fully, that fruits and nuts really do grow on trees. They don't just appear in package form, ready to pop into one's mouth. There's work behind the goodness. The work is what makes the goodness even better.
So down the hill we walked. Tait and I. Tucker, too. Sure it was raining but that adds to the adventure, does it not? Bags filled, we headed back up the hill (after a play at the slide park of course) to husk away.
Still slightly moist, they may need a couple days out in the open to dry out. But the sweet nuttiness. Oh, there are no words to describe home-grown, hand-selected, personally husked and cracked hazelnuts.
(Oh - and next year I'm going back to canning.)