Monday, September 8

Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree (Andrews Sisters)

With the weather being SO beautiful in Wisconsin, we spent as much time outside as possible.  Each afternoon, we took a walk through the neighborhoods near the hotel.  One afternoon, we came upon a yard full of apples.  The trees were bulging with ripe apples that no one was picking, and they were all falling to the ground and being left to rot.  .......I mulled it over a bit and then decided to ring the doorbell.  A very nice lady answered the door, and we politely asked what she planned to do with all of the apples from her trees.  She stated that she wasn't doing anything with them...she just left them for the deer or other animals.  I suppose humans, especially boys, are animals....  LOL
She was so nice...she brought us this huge bag and told us to take whatever we wanted!!  I realized at this point, given that we were in some pretty grubby clothing, that we must have looked like a needy family, so I pointed out to her that this was not the case.  She said she'd rather have them be used than just sit in the yard and rot.  And so, we went to town gathering apples!  Many were wormy and rotten, but we came out with about twenty pounds!!!  Not too shabby.  I'm figuring that they probably weren't sprayed with any pesticides or other undesirable product either.
After getting home, one of the first tasks was to take care of these apples!  We didn't haul them home just to have them go to waste.  However, I just didn't have the time for canning...too many other things to do.  We sliced them up, and set the scraps off to the side for making our own apple cider vinegar.  It's very easy to do, and so good for you!
After boiling down the apples and adding the spices (I never add the sugar, but don't tell the kids; they haven't noticed the difference), I pulled out my handy-dandy canning funnel and filled up the bags.  If you're going to do this, I suggest double-bagging.  This way, if there happens to be a spill, it's less likely to make a mess in the fridge / freezer.
During this, we finished up our unit on Minn of the Mississippi.  This might seem like a strange literature unit to accompany a trip to Wisconsin, but it has a lot of merit.  The Mississippi starts in Minnesota, right near Minneapolis, at Lake Itasca.  The first half (or more) of this book is all about Minnesota / Wisconsin geography and history.  Plus, we just love the Holling Clancy Holling books .  If you haven't checked them out, you should.  They're older, but well-written and beautifully-illustrated.

You can also use your slow-cooker to make Apple Butter and Apple Crisp....mmm!

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