Wednesday, November 21, 2007


It was the perfect morning.

It began the day before...the sunshine so strong and bright it was almost warm Monday afternoon, and a tree full of apples beckoning irresitably. Sunday afternoon Dad showed me bags of apples he and the boys had found in an untended apple tree in their field. Red apples, crispy and sweet. Most years they stay green and sour, inedible. Hundreds more, he said. He invited me to come make applesause with them Sunday evening, and as we we washed and my brother cut out the bad spots and Dad and I sliced and boiled, then began the straining, I knew I wanted to make a batch of my own.

Monday afternoon Green Bean and Peanut Butter bundled up in layers of soft heavy clothing, I headed to Mom and Dad's for a trek through the fields to gather my own apples. "You can have some of ours," Dad said, home for his lunch break. "How many do you want?" "Lots," I said. Green Bean helped me fill a bag from Dad's big box on the porch, but I wanted to gather some from the trees myself. I didn't want the half hour I spent bundling up my boys to be for nothing. "Do you have a ladder?" Dad asked. No, and if I did I wouldn't be able to carry it. "Do I need one?" I asked. "Yes, probably. We gathered all the good ones from the ground." Pause. "But there are other trees we didn't even look at. You might find more." I felt sure I would, so I borrowed their wheelbarrow, and with Peanut Butter in a backpack on my back and Green Bean resting comfortably in the wheelbarrow, we started off through the fields. Three fields away, the trees were. Oy. "Could you walk a little?" I asked Green Bean as I pushed achingly through the long grass. "We're almost there." I got him out and with a lightened load and renewed determination pushed the last 20 feet. Green Bean began to cry. Twenty feet was too far to walk. "You can do it," I assured him, and began looking around the ground under the different trees. Green Bean made it, but I was finding only deer tracks around each apple tree. Apparently they're enjoying the apples this year, too. Finally I set Peanut Butter down in the backpack and climbed in one of the trees to shake the branches. Apples dropped and tumbled willingly. I shook, then gathered a good bag. Another tree, taller, with stronger limbs that were harder to shake, but with a little more effort I had knocked a good number to the ground. I gathered them up to the cries of Green Bean and Peanut Butter. Funny how I was doing ALL of the work, but they were the ones complaining. I remember feeling the same way, though, outside in the cold on one of Dad's escapades when I was young. We (I) had gathered two big bags of apples, which is all the wheelbarrow would hold with Green Bean riding in it. So I shouldered Peanut Butter's backpack and loaded Green Bean into the wheelbarrow with the apples spilling around him, and began the backbreaking treck back through the fields.

I had promised Green Bean that these apples were for making applesause, but by the time we got home from gathering them it was time to make supper and my energy level was near empty. "Tomorrow," I said.

Yesterday morning I breezed through the daily chores, put Peanut Butter down for his first nap, and Green Bean and I began making applesauce.

Sinks full of! A gift from the Father, unearned, undeserved...makes this home economist's heart sing.

The line from Ann Voskamp's recent blog kept running through my head.

"Everything I dreamed of, right before my eyes."

My two boys, my own kitchen, making applesauce aided by an eager helper. The tangy sweet smell of apples cooking. The first snow of the season falling softly outside, painting the world in white. Words of life filling our home with truth and wisdom, instructing my heart, enlarging my soul. Also free. Another priceless gift.

Six quarts of pink, tangy homemade applesauce packed in the freezer for yearlong enjoyment.

Big bowl of applesauce in the fridge for this week's pleasure.

A heart full of gratitude, for all God has given.

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