Apple Picking in Autumn
Before I start the show, congratulations to Shimon (the guy I talked about yesterday) for correctly completing the puzzle from yesterday! He's a reader and regular 'cast' of Catherine's journal, Naked Eye.
Also, congratulations to Paulineee! I talked to her on IRC and mentioned the puzzle, she seemed interested and the rest is history. Check out her journal, Inertia (good title!)
Now back to our regularly scheduled program.
On the commute to work today, I saw an amazing thing.
My bus takes Route 3 to the city (the link will provide you with a map of my commute into the city. It is accurate, with the exception that I use 42nd street to cross town and not 40th). It's not a particularly scenic route, but it occasionally is lined with trees and bushes and things. Mostly for noise absorption, I think, since the residential zone extends right up to the highway at some places (they have to hear the traffic 24/7, but atleast they don't have to see us!). I noticed that for a long stretch, tall vibrant oaks were displaying their finery. It was almost unreal. The way the light played on the red red red leaves, the breeze making them flick and shimmer made me think that the trees were multi-branched spouts spraying red glitter into the air. I thought I was seeing a moving painting or something.
I cursed under my breath that I didn't have a video camera. It was akin to seeing that scene in American Beauty where the obsessive video-taping son captured the floating, dancing bag. I didn't even have a camera to take an inadequate still of it. Later, I attempted to draw what I saw and realized that the rustling of the trees was impossible to capture in a still. The movement even affected the perceived color. The reds I saw only exist in time.
I decided I would hunt through my archives of photographs to see if anything would strike my fancy and would most adequately express what I saw. I discovered this image:
That doesn't quite capture the red red red of the trees I saw this morning, but it is closer than anything else I had. I realized that I haven't talked about the apple picking that I did in mid October.
Flashback to mid October
Christine wanted to go apple picking with Mike and me, so she met up with me after work and together, we took public transportation home. Since we wanted to leave relatively early for apple picking, we thought it would be best for her to stay the night (and to partake of Mike's wonderful cooking!). We don't have a spare bed, so she had to sleep on the floor in the livingroom in a sleeping bag and light makeshift mattress bulked up by some of our comforters.
In the morning we showered and headed off to the apple picking place.
I selected a place on the web that seemed to have a large selection of apples. The one that we went to last year didn't have a lot of variety and I thought a change might be good. I got directions from a glowing review on someone's website about them and we headed off.
It wasn't too hard to find this place. It had wonderful views and I took lots of pictures eagerly. Their apple selection was pretty large, although I was decidedly at a disadvantage since I really don't know too much about the differences in apple variety. In my mind, there are red apples, green apples, and yellowish ones. I don't really prefer one kind over another (color I mean). I just eat them and I end up liking some and disliking others. There isn't a discernable pattern: then again, unless something jumps up and slaps me on the face, I tend not to see patterns at all.
We couldn't have asked for a nicer day. The sky was a gorgeous blue with clouds drifting lazily. I'm one of those people that don't like blue, cloudless skies. They give me a lack of perspective about the sky and it ends up looking flat and uninteresting, even at the gradation of color near the horizon line.
Normally, when one goes apple picking, they just give you large plastic sacks with handles. In this case, they gave us these wooden crates. They looked like large versions of fruit crates or the little ones that you get at The Body Shop with fancy soaps and shampoos stuck in them with paper "grass" for padding. This made carrying around a bit problematic for me, a fairly small weakling that has a hard time going uphill. But, I surprisingly managed okay and even collected a fair amount of apples.
We walked a fair amount during the day. From the entrance, there is a hayride (was about to spell that heyride. Heh.) to the back of the farm to get at the different selections. We didn't take the ride and walked the entire distance back. We passed by a large pumpkin patch on the way. Most of the best pumpkins were already picked and available for purchase at the registers, but they still had a few deformed monsters in the patch.
I didn't feel like picking too many apples, since I knew that Mike would be picking a fair number as well. I did find a ladder and used it to grab a few high-up ones. Mike and I noticed that inbetween some trees, they would grow crab apples. Curious! Do people eat those? I thought they were merely for decoration. Perhaps they grow it for that purpose.
Not surprisingly, we discovered several bee hives in the grove. This was as far as I would get to them since, although I'm not allergic to bee stings and the onset of cooler temperatures has probably slowed them down a bit, I could still see the wavy distortions around the hives that indicated the presence of bees swarming about. Mike and I speculated for a while how many jars of honey one of the towers would generate. I decided to lean towards overgenerosity, although my instincts tell me otherwise. Then again, if I was too conservative, then honey would be far more expensive than it is now, right?
We decided to eat at a "no frills" joint in town. They had surprisingly good curly fries and the view of the hills was pretty from where we sat (although we did have to endure the running maniacal children). We drove back home, dropping off some apples at my parent's place. We spotted this huge praying mantis in the bushes outside the house.
I took a few pictures of it while shouting out "Work it baby! Come on! That's it! Oh, lovely lovely! Sell it, baby! Sell it!" I got a laugh. Yay! It didn't seem to like Mike since, every time he would approach it, it would turn its head away from him. It was a huge one: atleast as large as my hand, if not larger. Probably the largest one that I've ever seen outside the exotic ones that one finds in insectariums.
All in all, it was a really great day. A great day to pick apples.
Returning back to today
We spent two weeks eating apples and apples and more apples. I made apple fritters that were wonderfully delicious. I ate my fritters like pancakes with syrup and melted butter on top. I ate an apple every sitting for a week. One with breakfast, one with lunch, and one with a sensible dinner. I brought some apples in for my coworkers. I typically don't like apples (actually, I typically don't like most American fruit and prefer the asian and exotic ones from tropical areas). Perhaps it's because for two or three weeks, I gorge myself on them which leaves me satisfied for the rest of the year. Then again, I think that's a Good Thing(tm). They are better in autumn anyway. Apples at any other time of the year feels wrong. Apples for Autumn. Mm.
My thanks goes out to Jennifer, a wonderful online friend who makes sure I don't make too many idiot mistakes. Like calling a praying mantis a grasshopper. (Don't look at the file name of the image. Please!)