Fall Apples

It’s apple season here in New Hampshire,  and since Mr. C can eat two or three apples a day we always make a few trips to area orchards every Fall.  

Here are a couple of very old apple trees, they might be some of the oldest at the farm.


There’s always a lot of apples that drop to the ground before they can be picked. 

The farm’s chickens like to look for the worms in the fallen apples, or maybe they’re just eating the apples and not the bugs.


 These were just out of reach! I tried holding C up for him to grab them, but he’s getting a little too big for that now. I could only hold him up for a few seconds before I had to give up.

Recently, a local radio show interviewed a botanist who specializes in trees. The station asked listeners to post photos of their favorite tree to the station’s website. I meant to send in a photo of the tree below, but didn’t get to it in time.  It’s a huge old Maple in the apple orchard nearby. In a week or so the leaves on this tree will turn bright golden yellow and red before falling.  The drought we’ve been having will most likely mean that this year the colors won’t be as dramatic.  I’ll have to find a photo from a previous year and post it.

Apples and Mums at the farm stand.


The pumpkin patch. 


The farm cat.  The farmer tells me he’s a very good mouser.


Some of the apples we picked.  I think we have thirty or so apples, enough to last C a week or so!

Last of the Apples

We’ve been having a fairly mild  Fall so far, so just before Thanksgiving, we thought we’d take one last trip to the apple orchard to pick as many of the last apples of the season that we could find, especially since apples are Mr. C’s favorite food. 

  There were still plenty of apples, but in just a few more days it would be too cold to pick any more.  In the photo below, you can see where they grafted a different variety of apple, the lighter red ones at the bottom left, on the main trunk of a Macintosh tree.  I think the secondary variety is Jonagold.  The silvery leaves of the tree are pretty, but that also means that the leaves have started to wilt from the frosty nights.  Once we get a hard frost it will be too late to pick any apples.

It started out bright and sunny….

  

….but by 3:30pm it was already starting to get dark.  That’s Fall in New England.  

  

  

Ms. J says to Mr. C – ‘Aren’t there so many wonderful things in the world?

‘Yes Mommy, and you are the #1 wonderful thing!’

‘Me?’

‘Yes, and apples are number two!

‘Apples are number two?’

Ok, wait a minute, Daddy is number two, and apples are number three!’

  

That’s it for apples this year, Winter is coming!  
 

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For this week’s photo challenge, here’s some photos of some heirloom apples we picked during a visit to a nearby orchard here in New Hampshire back in October . I can’t remember the name of this apple variety now!

 

They area very old variety, meant to be used as desert apples. Very sweet, and very firm. They were almost too sweet for an apple. So sweet that they made me wonder if maybe the old New England farmers probably did not have easy access to sugar.

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And here’s the orchard’s apple picker.

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Maple season

It’s maple season here in New Hampshire. A brief few weeks in early spring when the sap of maple trees are collected and processed into maple syrup.

Here’s something not seen very often anymore, this is the traditional way of collecting the sap. A metal tap is inserted into the maple tree, it usually has to be about 30 years old or so, and a small portion of the sap is allowed to drip into a bucket.

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The modern way of doing this substitutes long lengths of plastic tubing instead of metal buckets. The tubes run between several trees, creating a maze of tubes in the forest. They then lead to a large centralized bin that collects the sap from many trees. Much more efficient, though not as photogenic, and there is no plonk plonk sound as the sap drops into the metal bucket.

Sorry, no photo of waffles with local syrup. Waffles don’t last long enough here to sit for a photo.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned

This week’s photo challenge is “Abandoned”, so here are a few photos of abandoned things we’ve found in our travels around New England.

On older farms you’re most likely going to find an old abandoned tractor.  Or maybe it’ll get fixed once the parts arrive at the store.

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If you look around in the forest long enough, you will also most likely find old stone walls.  Evidence of how the land was formerly used as a farm years ago.

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In the forest, you’ll also find empty nests is you look closely.   Looks like Mr. C has found an old woodpecker nest!

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Apple Picking

We’re keeping track of how much money we spend on groceries this month.  Not so much as a way to control costs, but just out of curiosity to find out if what we think we’re spending on food is close to what we’re actually spending.

We went apple picking at a local farm last weekend.  I’m voting that the money we spent on apples should be put into an “Entertainment” category instead of “Food”.   After all, it’s much more fun than just getting apples at the grocery store.

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Looking for the perfect tree

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Found it.

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Here’s the inside of the farm stand.  Each basket or bin has a different variety of apple,  there’s 30 or so different types here.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: The Hue of You

I was going to skip this week’s photo challenge since I don’t have a lot of photos that feature orange, but it is Fall in New England and there’s still a few trees with spectacular foliage around. So here’s at least a couple of photos featuring orange.

Why orange ? I’m not sure I noticed until someone asked our son what his favorite color was. He said ‘Mine is red, and Dada’s is orange!’ That came as kind of a surprise, but I think he’s right. Fall is the best season here in New Hampshire, and it’s the best season to see some orange outside.

I took these two photos this past Sunday while we went apple picking at a local farm.

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On one side of the small parking lot at the far was the tree pictured above, on the other side was the farm stand and its rows of pumpkins.

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Maybe Mr. C said my favorite color is orange since I will often wear this orange T-shirt when I do home improvement projects. It must be about 15 years old now, covered with splatters of various paint colors, though it is still mostly orange. It’s on it’s last legs, but it’ll still take a few large holes in it for me to get rid of it.

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One more story about the color orange:

A few years ago, Ms. J was looking for a new bike. She spent quite a few months comparing features, reading reviews, checking web sites for design features. Finally she picked a bike she thought would be a good fit for her needs. She called a local bike store to check if they had the model she was looking for, they did. So off we went to the bike store to test it out. She tried it out on the road and it did turn out to be a great choice. We went back into the store and I happened to see an orange Bianchi bicycle. Bianchi bikes are usually a striking light green color, similar to but not quite the same as the color Tiffany uses. But this one was different, it was orange.

‘Will that be all ?” the bike sales person asked.

“I’ll try out that Bianchi over there.” I said.

After doing absolutely no research, no checking of reviews, no checking of web sites for its design features, I bought the orange Bianchi bike.

Ok, so I guess orange really is my color.

Here it is, in the garage now since the season is unfortunately over now that we’re into October.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual POV

Probably a little bit of a stretch to fit into this theme, but I took these two photos today and kind of like how they turned out.  The ‘unusual pov   being that they’re not really the photos that I had intended to take at the time.

Mr. C and I went to a nearby farm in Pepperell, Massachusetts.  He wanted to find a pond that we came across the last time we went here.  It had several large frogs that were making an unusually loud chorus of croaks.  We did find the pond, but the frogs were quiet today.  Bu that’s OK, he decided to try to catch my shadow instead.

I would normally never take a photo like this, with such prominent shadows, but I do think it’s kind of cool, as it shows some action with Mr. C trying to get his shadow to grab my shadow.

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I’ve never had much luck with photos while facing the sun, so this one is kind of a mistake,  but I do like how the sunbeam looks like you could reach out and grab it.   The funny thing is that when I took the photo with the sun at my back it did not come out very well at all.

That’s it, not such a great selection from me this week, oh well!

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Martha’s Vineyard Ag Fair

For anyone who might think that Martha’s Vineyard is strictly for the jet setting media and political celebrity set, there is the annual Agricultural Fair. One of the oldest in the country, held every year for the past 152 years. Sitting a bit closer to the Gulf Stream, the island has a somewhat nicer climate than mainland Massachusetts, so it has a long farming history, that is still going strong today. The farms on the island do take full advantage of the free spending tourists by charging a premium for their local produce, such as $8.50 a pound for locally grown tomatoes.

Here’s Mr. C near the lamb pens. Not sure if he was allowed to pet the lambs, but there wasn’t much that would stop him. And yes, that’s a plaid hat with a stripped shirt. Dad dressed him that morning.

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I remember going to fairs like this when I was a kid. Most will have a large area for judging a variety of farm animals, an area for judging baked goods, crafts, artwork and photography, and a ‘Midway’ with a few rides and games, as well as a variety of bad for you food. What’s nice about the MV fair is that a lot of the food vendors are local, not just a group of carts brought in with the rides to sell fired dough and hot dogs. The local food vendors are usually easy to spot as they have hand lettered signs, usually including info on how long they have been exhibiting at the fair. They will often give a portion of their profits to a local charity too. So you can get some yummy local food and support a good cause as well. It’s still mostly “bad for you fair food”, but at least it tastes much better than usual. And “Bad for you food” is pretty much what the fair is for anyway. When I was a kid, I was usually more interested in the animals and food than in the rides, and since Mr. C seems to be a clone of me, that’s what he seems to be interested in as well.

Here’s one of the chickens, ready for review by the panel of judges. If you ever wondered which chicken was the “Lord of the Chickens”, here she is. Her name is “Russel”.

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Last year, Mr. C loved this farm pulley demonstration area. It’s an area set up in back of a barn to show kids how various pulley systems work. I took the same exact photo last year. Maybe this will be a family tradition. We’ll have a photo of him lifting this weight every year, with a variety of somewhat embarrassing outfits in each one, until he gets to be a surly teen and refuses to do it. Of course, I can’t seem to find last year’s photo at the moment.

“Feel my muscles!!” he said.

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The tractor pull. I think this was the ‘antique tractor’ pull as each tractor seemed to be older than me. I think the winning tractor pulled a sled with 1,500 pounds in weights on it. Nice to know that the old things still can work. When we arrived home, Mr. C re-enacted the tractor pull using little tractors that he made out of Legos.

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A wood chopping competition. Mr. C re-enacted the wood chopping competition at home using sticks.

 

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A sheep shearing demonstration. Hmm… Mr. C always seems to be able to make his way to the front of any crowd.

 

 

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He did manage to get to a few rides, but mostly, he was excited to see some animals…and eat a lot of bad food.

I’m already thinking about what kind of outfit he’ll wear next year.