Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apple Cider Day!!

What greater use for an apple to serve then to be turned into cider??? While we enjoy using apples in a variety of ways, one of our favorites is in apple cider!! It's almost more fun to make the cider then to drink it!
It is a wonderful job for a cool fall morning; crisp apples turned into sweet tangy cider! Mmmm!!!
How many bushels of apples??

Pressing the apples.
What is left from the apples once they have been pressed.
Micah did the most of the cranking, churning up bucket after bucket!! You could almost see his muscles growing while he worked. Way to go, bud!
Loading the apples into the press.
Pouring it into jugs.
Lots of laughter-- this hardly feels like work!
The finished product!! Gallons and gallons of cider waiting to be frozen!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

In the Apple Orchard.

When I was a little girl, we would make an annual trip to a beautiful apple orchard in Wathena KS. We'd load up our 15 passenger van with a multitude of boxes, the diaper bag for the baby and plenty of books for the almost 2 hour drive. Our outing usually fell on a week day so it was in Mom's hands to escort us there and oversee picking the apples. It was in the midst of the years when the Lord was adding to our family every year and there was always a baby. It was no small task to keep all of us children together, let alone on task!! But the reward of an entire apple ALL to ourselves to eat when we were done picking kept us busy filling boxes with crisp red-delicious, tart jonathan and best of all-- golden delicious!!

I remember walking beneath the endless rows and rows of trees as we found the varieties of apples we liked best. The apples still on the tree were worth considerably more, so we picked the nearly perfect windfalls littering the ground. After a full afternoon of picking, it was wrestling the heavy boxes into the van for the drive home; but only after each of us had carefully selected our own perfect apple to snack on. It was a sneaky trick to tilt yourself in the van seat in order to keep your feet up off the open boxes of fresh fruit.

Every year as fall arrives I remember those crisp, perfect autumn days. They remain some of my favorite memories of my childhood. It's been countless years now since we've been back to that Orchard, but picking apples in the fall is still a favorite activity in our family!!
We are now blessed to have apples available locally through friends. It has become a new fun tradition to pick apples with them, and enjoy the apples together!
This year with busy schedules it was a quick morning picking before a storm hit!!

Silas carefully explains to me how to accurately detect if an apple is ripe. "The seeds, those brown things in the middle (I'm not going to touch them, because they look yucky), yes, those seeds in the middle of the apple, they, they will turn brown when the apple is ripe. But you can't see the seeds from the outside of the apple, because apple coats are red; so you can't see through it. So you have to step on the apple really hard, like me, 'cause I've got good boots to step on ripe apples, and then you step on it until it breaks in half and then you can tell what color the seeds are. And if they are brown seeds, I, I, I don't know what color seeds are when they aren't ripe, but they turn brown when they are ripe. And see this apple has brown seeds, so it's a ripe apple, and it would be good to eat. Except I stepped on it, and now it's dirty, so we have to find another apple that I don't step on. Do you understand now?"

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Happy Birthday!!

Happy 6th Birthday, Silas!!!
What a happy day, 6 years ago that we welcomed little Silas into our family!!
We are so gratefull for Silas; for his tender heart, his eagerness to know and hear from God, and his precious smile!!
Silas; may God bless you with many years to serve Him!!
We love you little man!!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

A Sister for Justice!!

This fall brought the arrival of Andrew & Rebecca's second child! They did not know if they were having a boy or a girl, so there was a lot of excitement as we waited for this newest addition!! Would this be nephew #6, or our first niece?!?!?!
At the wedding I snapped a few pictures of Rebecca; she looked adorable!!

Felicity Anne Shepard
9lbs, 14ozs--- 21 inches long

September 19th, 2010

The Shepard Family.
(More pictures to follow!)