Of Autumn and Apples
The sky is the brightest blue, the grass is dry and prickly, the leaves are beginning to take on many hues. The mornings are cool but I shed layers as the day grows warm, retrieving them when evening arrives. Late September is a burst of glory before everything falls, the ground is covered in frost, and cold overtakes warm for good. We’re remembering the rhythms of autumn and making the most of this season before cold weather settles in.
Ray and I have often thought of how fun it would be to have a cider press, but not having so much as an apple tree, it seemed like a silly investment. Luckily, you don’t need an apple tree or a cider press when you have friends who can supply both in exchange for apple picking and cider pressing labor. My friend Michelle has three big apple trees in her yard and she borrowed a cider press from our local tool library. Thanks to her, we got to experience the fun of turning apples into cider.
Luckily, Ray got obsessed with picking as many apples as he could reach. The trees are tall, nothing like the carefully groomed orchard trees, and there were always more apples hanging from branches way out of reach. Amos loved picking up the apples, filling the wheelbarrow, and helping to put the apples in the grinder. He took some breaks to play on the swing set but was very focused on picking up fallen apples and, later, branches that came down it the process of shaking the tree.
Cider pressing can be a practical approach to food preservation but it is more so about the sweetness of autumn and apples and many hands gathering together. Seasonal, communal activities like this aren’t as common as they once were. Working together with friends and neighbors to accomplish a fun and enjoyable task creates connections and interactions that might not happen otherwise.