Tuesday, October 30, 2018

To the Apple Orchard, Nine Years Later

I have long campaigned with the children for a four-day school week, so that we can take a day trip or have a relaxing day at home without fuss. They've never gone for it, because they know good and well that this will only mean more work assigned to them for the remaining four days, but this semester I reworked our entire work plan scheme to have fewer daily assignments and more "due by the end of the week" assignments, and as part of the process I gave us a four-day school week.

I love it. The kids do, too. I should have insisted upon it earlier.

Mind you, some weeks we waste that free day on a Monday, making up work that the kids just didn't get done by the previous Friday, but overall it's been a dream to have that day in the plans, and not have to shuffle everything anyway every other week because obviously we've always taken day trips.

And one of our favorite day trips is one that I've just realized we've been doing for NINE years now! Check out the tiny little peanuts that I took on our first trip to an apple orchard in 2009:

They've grown in so many ways--

--and yet haven't changed at all...

To be fair, eating apples right off the tree IS the best part of the apple orchard:

Of course, as late in the season as we tend to go, it is a little harder to get your hands on them:

Oops. You're not supposed to take off so much stem and leaves, but she did pretty well considering that she had to leap for it:

We did a much better job getting the high ones back in 2013, the year that we convinced Matt to go with us:

Fortunately, we did have a helper on this day, too:

 This was Luna's first trip to the apple orchard, and she had herself a wonderful time:

During our picnic lunch (apples, of course, and things to spread on apples)--

--the kids were goofing around and discovered something brand-new about our beloved doggy that we've had for almost two full years now:

Why, that doggy loves apples!

Turns out that she'll even learn a new trick for an apple!

The kids had so much fun getting Luna to do tricks and rewarding her with apple that I had to ready-reference real quick to make sure that it's okay for a dog to eat, like, an entire apple in one sitting.

Thank you, Google!

An important part of the apple orchard experience is paying too much for a Jack-o-Lantern pumpkin:

New this year, however, was the snack shack, which has never actually been open when we've visited before. Obviously, then, we had to buy an apple cider slush, a piece of apple pie, and an elephant ear. Take a bite, pass it on, and repeat!

Another important part of the apple orchard experience is coming home with waaaaay too many apples.

Or at least, I thought that I was coming home with way too many apples, but 1) I now have not a toddler and a preschooler, but a tween and a teen (and a DOG!), and 2) at a garage sale over the summer, I bought one of those apple peeler/slicer/corer thingies for a VERY low price, and I brought it out for the kids when Will complained about peeling an apple. They never listen to me when I tell them that you can eat the entire core, and that the peel is full of fiber.

The chickens, at least, have been thrilled with all of the apple peels and cores that they've been getting, and we ran flat out of apples in one week. Before I could make any applesauce. Before I could bake a single pie. Before I could juice anything. Before I could dry apple slices or make apple fruit leather or apple butter. Before the kids had even gotten tired of eating umpteen apples a day and keeping the doctor away!

And that's how nine years after our very first trip to the apple orchard, we've now become the family that makes the trip twice in one season.

I hope they have the snack shack open when we go, because that apple cider slush was VERY tasty!

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