Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Picking Apples at Carter Mountain

This past weekend my Grandma and Aunt Tara and her boys came to visit for the long weekend. I actually had a Regatta on Saturday in Pennsylvania, so I didn't think I was going to be able to make it home and see them this trip, which I was bummed about. It was also Suzanne's homecoming weekend and her birthday, so I was bummed not to get to go home for that as well.

When I left on Friday to head to the Regatta, we drove right past the exit for my house. Naturally, the idea popped into my head that I would be driving right past again on Saturday night, and it would be nice to go home. After my race on Saturday I called Dad and was chatting with him and he said something like, "It would have been nice if you could've come home this weekend" to which I replied, "Well, actually, I am going to drive right past our exit on the way home, and I was thinking that I could come home and go apple picking with the family if that is still the plan." Like I told Dad, I can't ever drive past my house without figuring out a way to go home! So Saturday night I rolled right back into town.

Sunday Mom had planned for the family to go to Carter Mountain to pick apples. After a slightly rough start related to seating in our way too small 15 passenger van, we were on our way. We got to the mountain and everyone was pretty excited. It was beautiful, but a little bit chilly. Poor Evan didn't even have a coat so we mummied him up in his thick blanket, which he was not too happy about. He didn't seem to be bothered by the cold at all. He just wanted to get down and eat all of the apples!

The orchard had a few different varieties of apples, so we went around and picked one variety at a time. It's funny how different one apple variety tastes from another, and Dad cut one of each variety up to taste and see which ones we liked best. There were a few that we didn't want to pick at all because nobody really liked them, like Winesnap Apples. However, everyone loved the Fuji and Stayman apples. Gray and I really liked the York apples, too, but they weren't as widely received as the others. They tasted like a sour green apple Jolly Rancher.

Gray and Evan chomping down on those apples

He would not share his apple with anyone. He ate most of that apple on his own! Also, he added the word "apple" to his vocabulary, and said it only a million times on that mountain!

Despite the looks on their faces, Evan and Kyan actually had a good time. Evan just takes eating very seriously. 

It was amazing how many apples were lying on the grounds. Unfortunate, really, because they were so good! 

Group Shot! Suzanne was behind the camera for this one. 

It was actually Suzanne's birthday on Sunday, too. She was walking along the path and searching around and found this old abandoned house. It was so well hidden it was ridiculous. This was the only side of the house where you could actually see it. Suzanne spotted a little door in the midst of a bunch of trees and ivy, so she walked over to it. She sat around debating whether to go in or not until Gray showed up, and they went exploring. I joined them later, and it was so neat. 

It would be interesting to know who actually used to live here, and what happened to the house. It was really big. It had two stories, and numerous rooms. There was a really neat fireplace, too.

After we were finished picking our apples, we wandered back down to the farm store and barn so that we could pay. We ended up buying $30 worth of freshly picked apples. Of course while we were there we had to have some hot apple cider, and we split hot apple doughnuts. Yum. I loved the fresh apple cider. 

Some gourds outside the barn--makes me excited to go to the pumpkin patch this year!

The Apple Barn

The view of Charlottesville from the top of Carter Mountain Apple Orchard!

Before I went back to school, we had to make something with some of our apples! After we ate dinner, the kids and I started making a homemade apple pie! Yum! Dad and I made a homemade apple pie last year for Thanksgiving, and we had quite the difficult time making the crust. This time, however, making the crust couldn't have gone better. It was so fun, and the kids had fun peeling the apples. For some reason, they always eat the skins, which doesn't sound that appetizing to me. I left to head back to school without eating any of the pie, but apparently it was good because it was all gone when I called home the next day.

The other boys like to help peel the apples and what-not, but Ryan has always been the one to stay and help me cook the whole time. I think he enjoys cooking and baking :)

The pie all assembled before it went into the oven. I was pretty proud of that lattice pie crust, too.

The finished product!

I took three apples back to school with me, and they are now gone. They were SO good--crisp and crunchy and so flavorful. Apparently everyone has been enjoying them at home, too. Rachel made an apple crisp, which I was definitely sad to miss. Before this fall is over, it would be fun to get another bushel of apples and make homemade applesauce again. Mom and I did that last fall, and it was so good!

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