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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Apple Harvest

 ~ apples being washed ~
About this time, every year, my family gathers together to make apple cider. This year we went to my brother's West Virginia farm, on the mountain north of Snowshoe, and squeezed six bushels of whatever apples he and his wife found on the mountain.
~ who needs a ladder? ~
Since we had to go all over the mountain to pick apples, it was a lot easier to take the John Deere tractor and use the bucket as a ladder. It's a lot safer, as well, although there are those who might look askance at our methods.
~ Dad, Steve & Donette pressing apples ~
Many years ago, my brother bought a Happy Valley cider press and it still looks as good as new. He takes care of his equipment, that's how we were raised and it really upsets us when someone uses our tools and doesn't put them back, cleaned, where they belong. It's so much easier and less expensive to keep good what we have rather than buy new. Why is it, do you suppose, so many people don't seem to have grasped that concept?
~ Dad & Steve ~
It was a great day for pressing apples - a trifle cool, gray and overcast. Although it's hard work, we never worked up a sweat and only saw one yellow jacket the entire day...very nice indeed.
 ~ fresh pressed cider ~
~ apple leavings ~
The pressed apples were loaded in the front end loader and taken to the cattle who thought it a real treat.
~ cattle treat ~
This week I've been putting up apple cider, making apple butter, drying apples for pies and making fresh apple pies and crisps. Some of the cider and butter has been given away and when all the apples are gone, I'll be finished and the cellar, pantry and freezers will be full to overflowing. I'm a simple thing and my cider is made straight up, with the mother, and no additives, preservatives or heating. I'll freeze some of my cider and keep it against a time when the snow balls are flying and a mug of hot cider will be just the ticket to stave off winter's chill. No need to add a bunch of maple syrup or cinnamon or what have you. If you've started with an excellent product, all those additives are just wasted. If you're buying your apple cider from the grocery store, you'll probably want to add a bunch of stuff to help the flavor along. Store bought and fresh made just can't compare.

There are those who swear the mother is beneficial to one's health and well being. I'm one of "those" and drink fresh apple cider until it's almost coming out of my pores. This time of year, at least, and at other times of the year I'll drink apple cider vinegar, again with the mother. It aids in all sorts of health problems - decreases the pain of arthritis, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol and loads of other things. I suppose the American Medical Association discounts all this but when you consider that only about fifteen percent of doctors in this country belong to the AMA...wellllllll...let's just say, choose wisely. I'm quite certain God placed everything on earth we need to remain alive, healthy and well but we, in our ultimate wisdom...ahem... have chosen to take the path well traveled and mess up both our lives and the planet. It's up to each of us to find that path that leads us not only back to good health but also to God. As Paul said in Philippians 2:12, " out your own salvation with fear and trembling..."

I do love this time of the year and am like the old woman when she was asked, "What's your favorite day?" She looked brightly at the person and said, "Why today of course!" Amen, sister! In our family we, generally, make the same happy memories over and over and those memories, generally, have to do with food. Daddy's people have been in Appalachia for many generations, as have Mother's people, just in a different part of Appalachia. Food, shelter, clothing have always been a primary concern for us and reduce, reuse, recycle, renew, repurpose and all those other non-vintage words have been our touchstone for generations over and over. Long before it became a battle cry of the Johnnie come lately's we've been living our lives with purpose, dignity and grace. Our family may have, at one time, been hard scrabble poor but we were free and whatever we had we shared with others; no one has ever gone from our place hungry and no one ever will. In lean and flush times, we've always had food, the beds have always had hand made quilts and there was a roof over our heads.

God has blessed us so much and I'm so grateful to Him. He continues to watch over us, bless us and I call His name many, many, many times during the day - in praise, contemplation, honor, love, for help, guideance. His blessings start and end with His love and, at this time of the year is made manifest with wonderful and delicious apple cider!

What are your blessings?

Blessings ~ apples ~ family ~ cider ~ pies ~ dried apples ~ apple crisp ~ cider press ~ memories ~

Grace and Peace,


  1. Loved this post, and your family's outlook on life. I've ridden in the bucket of a John Deere many times... stringing christmas lights is easier this way too!...

    So.. I have high blood pressure issues... should I try Apple Cider Vinegar? How? Just drink it?

  2. Looks like you had a fun weekend in Pocahontas Co!! There's nothing like spending time with family!

  3. It's time for us to break out our Happy Valley Cider Press, too! Our trees don't have many apples this year, but enough for a bit of squeezed golden goodness! I love this time of year!
    Be Blessed today!

  4. Thank you so much for the trip with apples today. I love apples so much. I think that I drooled on my keyboard. LOL

    Have a Blessed day.

  5. Next year, please post BEFORE your apple cider day, because I'd love to go on a field trip with you next time. Looks fun and tasty.

    Your description of your family's history and traditions in the Virginia mountains made me think of one thing:

    the book Christy by Katherine Marshall and all my dear friends-I mean characters-from that well-loved story.

    Loved your pictures and sip a cup of cider for me. :) Happy Fall!

  6. Lovely post about your work!!! I hope your back is well now...
    Have a beautiful day, Sandra!

  7. Looks like you had a wonderful day! Blessings to you!

  8. What a lovely fall day! I love apples so much!

  9. What a happy post! There's a darling store not too many hours' drive away, and they have a cider mill and let us try samples before we purchase our supplies of their yummy cider. Lucky you! And apple butter! Love it, forgot about it, will have to find a recipe and make some! thanks!

  10. I love this post, and thank-you for sharing pictures of making apple cider with your family.What a wonderful day with family.

    A warm quilt, good filling food , a home to sleep and eat in, yes, I am blessed too! Praise Him from whom all blessing flow~

  11. I love apples. But being the city slicker I am, I have to buy mine at the local grocery store. :-( ~Ron

  12. Looks like a fun day. My Dad used to pick apples for the orchard next door to our farm. I picked up the ground apples for cider (slugs, yuck!) too. There is no comparison to store bought and fresh cider. And a big Amen to living our lives with purpose, dignity and grace. Many have been doing it for quite some time and doing it very well. Thanks for all of your wonderful posts.

  13. Oh, my- the picture of the cider coming from the press made my mouth water, Sandra!


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