Doing Autumn–while we can!

17 09 2012

With a baby threatened any minute–at least according to prominent calculation methods (the state of New York says I’m due in 2 days; internet calculators from other states say it’s today), although wisdom suggests that, since this is my first, I’ve still got a week or 2 to go–and a small boy we now only see on weekends, there’s been a little pressure on to make sure that traditional Autumn activities get to happen for/with him this year: especially since the dry summer means the apples have all come early. (It doesn’t help that the biggest fall festival in the area happens on a weekend we don’t have him, either.) If we put things off ’til we have a portable baby, we’ll have missed the season altogether. So even though it’s not technically Autumn until the end of the week, and none of the leaves have really turned in the pictures, we spent the weekend “doing Autumn,” since it really is the best season to be in Central New York anyway, to make sure that it happened at all.

To that end, we spent the first half of Saturday at Beak & Skiff, where we sampled apples in the tasting room, Caleb got to play a few festival games, spin around the pedal-cart track, and jump around inside a giant inflatable pumpkin.

Little worm crawling free from the giant pumpkin bounce

We rode the tractor-wagon out into the orchard, we picked apples, and we drank cider and ate hot, sugary fritters.

Into the upper reaches–with help, of course

We watched the bees in the indoor hive make honey, bought some local cheddar at the farm store, accidentally met up with a few friends for lunch, and then Caleb got to ride a pony.

Demonstrating his confident cowboy stance

On our way home, Matt stocked up on some hard cider from the orchard’s brewery, and then we stopped by another nearby orchard to pick raspberries, although there weren’t many ripe ones left so late in the day–it was more like picking over the bare bushes, but we managed to put a light pint together.

Raspberry hunters stalking their prey

Home again, it was time for kitchen projects: Matt and I squirreled away another casserole for the freezer, for post-baby survival eating, we made pizzas for the family, and we worked together on a pie made from half of the apples.

The inevitable result of apple-picking: pie!

Dinner was thus homemade pizza (with fresh moz and CSA arugula) followed by, thanks to Matt’s weather-induced whim to run out and buy a bag-o-wood, apple pie eaten by the first fire of the season.

Mmmmm. Fire. (Matty could smell someone else’s, see, and he just couldn’t resist!)

Sunday morning started with raspberry cobbler for breakfast (entirely ad-libbed based on how many raspberries we had and whatever ingredients I could find in the fridge to guess at quantities for), followed by the boys’ culmination of their reading of The Hobbit snug in living room blankets.

Since I’m not allowed to float them in champagne this year… cobbler is the next best thing!

Then in the early afternoon, when it was warmer, we ventured up the street, to where our neighborhood park was hosting a run–and a kids’ run, equipped with bouncy-house, a few games, face-painting, and free ice-cream for every little runner who participated. Caleb got involved in all of these things (although for some mysterious reason he threw a fit about being asked to cheer for the big-race runners when they finished), making us really proud by running the whole distance even once he’d realized that he stood no chance of winning against the bigger kids (he tends to throw his hands up and say “I can’t!” if he’s not instantly good at something, and to get his panties in quite a knot if he so much as overhears a claim that someone might be better/stronger/faster, so this was an accomplishment!).

As you can see, he was also pretty proud of himself.

His first-ever race-number is pinned to his bedroom curtains along with his finishers’ ribbon, there’s left-over victory ice-cream in the freezer, and he went back up to his mom’s Sunday evening with a spider and a web painted on his face to accompany the Spider-hero jacket Jeremiah had given him as a happy-big-brother back-to-school present.

Although normally too fastidious for face-paint, the combination of the opportunity to match his spiders plus the pretty girl doing the painting turned out to be irresistible.

We opted out of picking pumpkins quite yet, as with warm days still in the forecast we don’t really want them rotting on the porches a month and a half in advance of Halloween, and we skipped the corn maze this time (at this stage, I need to pee too often to go getting lost in a corn maze!), but if there’s no baby yet by this weekend, we’ll probably be striking out again to try to cover some missed bases–nobody has fired any corn-or-apple cannons yet, and we haven’t had any cider donuts, so clearly we aren’t through with the season’s offerings. For now, though–as I make today’s “lunch” out of left-over pie and sharp slices of farmhouse cheddar–I’d say we’re doing well indeed.




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