How do you like them apples?

Autumn arrived this week and I am so so glad. Autumns here are beautiful. Come visit in October for blue skies, yellow leaves and weather in which a cardigan may or may not be required, but you won’t be insane to think of wearing one. I love all the cliched flavors of Fall : pumpkins, apples, cranberries, cinnamon…I want to be baking non-stop.
Yesterday we ambled our way up to Virginia to pick us some apples, along the Blue Ridge Parkway which was despite its name (cliche!) all ablaze in yellow and red. Finding the Ayers Orchard near Cana, Virginia was something of a feat. It involved twisting roads, misleading signs, directions drawn by the owner on a cardboard box – and yet, somehow we still got it wrong. He told us to drive past two white houses, a half-built green house, walk past the trees that had been picked and find our way to the York apple trees, the last ones with fruit on them. Past neat rows of leafy but fruitless trees, we found a scraggle patch of red and green apple trees. A helpful ladder leaned nearby but we ended up scrambling up the trees, trying to corral Simone as she wandered amongst the windfall apples (which were very popular with wasps). 
We had picked two baskets full – about 30 pounds – when the owners wife drove up, a funny look on her face.
“Did you pick those from over there?”
“That’s not our orchard”
We all looked nervously at the house nearby and the now empty trees.
“Oh well, I’ll explain”, she shrugged and we beat our way out of there, quick, after paying the man at the apple shed.
We have big plans for our purloined apples, including an apple crisp, currently in the oven, and only a slightly guilty conscience.
Paradoxically, we’re also getting outside more now that the sweltering heat and bugs of summer has largely passed. Here’s Simone getting ready for a bike ride in the poncho her Grandma Sweet sent. You have to love a poncho.

(It took about 15 blurred picture before we managed this one – the child won’t sit still these days. If this is the not-yet-terrible-twos, I shudder to imagine what kind of displays of will we have in store…it may not surprise you that she is INCREDIBLY independent and um, willful. I couldn’t tell you who she gets that from.)
More soon, I’m sure, as we gear up for Halloween. We are taking costume suggestions, as I’m not certain I’ll really be able to pull off a full-sized squirrel tail. But I’m giving it a try!

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