Apples, apples, apples! Seeking fresh air and autumn leaves, I hopped the bus out to Orange County (no, not that OC--the one with the cows and the onion fields, near the Jersey border northwest of NYC) to see the Pie Queen Mother. More roast chicken and roasted vegetables (mmm, buttery parsnips and sweet potatoes with cinnamon and allspice), a fire in the fireplace, and Sergei Eisenstein's stirring black-and-white 1938 film Alexander Nevsky, scored by Prokofiev. Now that's my idea of a Good Time.
In the morning, after scones (by PQM) and apricot jam (by PQ--the PQM is a demanding customer), we went out to Nettie Ochs, a local orchard (the site of much raspberry picking earlier this summer), where we frolicked around searching for Empire apples, picking away and filling (on my part) an enormous bag in what felt like just a few minutes. I could have spent all afternoon up there with the crisp breezes, plucking massive apples off the heavily laden branches and crunching away. As it was, I did end up with a mixed bag of Stayman Winesaps, Cortlands, and Empires, while PQM stuck with Empires. Then, hiking in Wawayanda State Park, where the PQM finally got an upclose vision of a bunch of nice people camping, with their little tents and grilling hot dogs and cartons of spring water and Coleman stoves.
My mild prediliction for car camping--I like to wake up outside, but I'm hardly the super-adventure-driven, bear-defying backcountry type; I like a hot shower, even if I have to walk to it, and a minimum of Spooky Unidentifiable After-Midnight Noises--has caused much amusement in my family, none of whom are campers themselves. I actually don't think my mother has even walked through a campsite, so the site of real grownups--not Boy Scouts--doing this for fun has hopefully made this little occasional pastime of mine seem less strange.
Then, back home to peel apples and make applesauce. I have high hopes for finally making apple butter from my enormous bag of apples, if only because there's simply no way I can haul them all back to NYC on public transit. It takes a whole lot of apples to make not very much apple butter--in this case, a good thing.