Only one tree grows on our property, not counting the city’s tree on the boulevard which casts lovely shade to the south side of our house. Our own backyard tree is a Pembina Plum that has blessed us with luscious fruit each year until this one. We think this year’s late frosts finished them off at the blossoming stage, and so the tree stands decked out in green simplicity.
But that’s okay. The tree probably needed a year off. And, as yummy as those plums taste, it can be a pain to try to pick or catch them before they litter the ground. In fact, I took advantage of this year’s lull to pick up a couple of pails full of old pits from the crushed rock below.
Judging by my neighbour’s apple tree, though, it’s going to be an abundant year for apples. During our time at Skerwood Mobile Home Park, we were fortunate to have an apple tree growing on our lot. For six seasons, we picked as many off the ground as we did from the tree. I felt a little disappointed last time I drove by to see the apple tree is now gone.
My best memory of those apples happened in 2005, before I started eating more healthfully. Nowadays, I would turn them into unsweetened applesauce to use in my homemade granola, fruit salad, and oat bars. Then, though, making pies seemed like a sensible thing to do.
But not all by myself. Having filled five or six large boxes with apples, I invited my friend Gayle and her two lovely daughters for a pie-making fest. I would provide the fruit and the air-conditioned kitchen. They would supply the other ingredients. We’d all chip in on the labour and split the pies for our respective freezers.
The Happiest, Appliest Day
The apple tree bowed to the ground with its load.
I picked and I plucked ‘til I thought I’d explode!
How would I grapple with all of this fruit?
I needed some help to transmute all the loot.
I promised adventure and thrills beyond measure
For all who’d assist with no show of displeasure.
Then three favorite redheads showed up at my door
To tackle the apples arranged on the floor.
Two sisters, their mother, the apples, and me
A warm autumn day, what fun this could be!
We cleared off the counters, the table, the sink
And cranked up the music too loudly to think.
I was the pastry chef, ready and willing.
Gayle was peeling, and Alison filling.
Veronica fluttered from station to station
Now peeling, now tasting in anticipation.
The flour was flying, the rolling pin rolled.
The peelings were reeling, the cinnamon gold.
Like a well-oiled skillful precision machine
We worked till we reached pie number thirteen.
We stopped for some lunch in the mess, what a scene!
Then onward and upward, to pie seventeen.
Now nineteen, now twenty, we kept on a-going
The sugar was shaking, the apple juice flowing.
What would we run out of first, time or flour?
Apples or pie plates or shortening or power?
With Pie thirty-five we declared the job done
Cleaned up the kitchen and called it all fun.
Then Veronica, Alison, Gayle and I
Treated ourselves to—what else? Apple Pie!