August 18, 2009

Apples and In-Laws

Neal's parents were in town for a visit recently. Of course, we had to take them to The Ranch to see the progress that had been made, but along the way we stopped at the Happy Apple Farm to pick some Johnathans and Galas.

Neal and I had never been to this orchard and we were both like kids in a candy store. Most of the berries were not quite ripe, but we were able to pick about a pint full of blackberries. We had so much fun, we're planning to go back for more picking in September.

Neal picked about twice the amount of Galas while I picked Johnathans. He teased that this was an example of where height has its advantages! Neal's parents waited under shaded gazebos and were entertained by all the people coming and going. They were especially pleased to see so many children out in the orchard picking their own fruits.

After we left the apple farm, we headed to The Ranch. When Neal's parents visited last year, we had not broken ground or even put the shed up on the property, so they were very impressed with what has been done so far. The plumbers have finished their work and now we are just waiting on an electrician to come and run all the wiring. Then, we will be free to do the remainder of the insulation, paneling, staining floor, and putting the kitchen together ourselves.

While we were at The Ranch, we took time to water the five Ponderosa pine seedlings we set out a few weeks ago. The seedlings were left over from a Boy Scout project and were gifted to us by friends. If they make it, they will be a perfect addition to our Ranch landscaping.

After lunch in town and a scenic drive home along the Arkansas River, Neal's parents took advantage of the fabulous Colorado weather and lounged in our backyard while Neal and I prepped homemade peach ice cream from peaches his parents brought.

George was not too sure of the noisy ice cream maker at first, but once he got a taste of the salty ice cubes that Neal shared, he stayed very close and didn't miss a moment of the action.

The highlight for Captain and George was getting to lick the ice cream drippings off of the plate that we put the dasher on. Can you see the heart shape to the left center? That was how the plate looked when we removed the dasher and right before two tongues licked the plate clean!

We spent a lot of our down time looking through cookbooks and discussing the good ole days. I even found an honest-to-goodness recipe for hog's head cheese, which Neal likes. I enjoy trying out different recipes from time to time, but there is no way that dish will ever be prepared by these hands, no sireee! I think I'll stick to making apple butter, apple pie and dehydrating apple slices for snacks! Anyone have a favorite apple recipe to share?


Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Your post made me want to visit the local orchard. We used to have blackberries growing wild all around here, but I haven't seen any lately.
You are progressing nicely on the Ranch. I know you're looking forward to finishing it.
Have you come up with any good apple recipes? I tend to eat the apples plain before I get around to cooking with them.

frugalmom said...

I love picking apples. Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun. And what a great place for his parents to relax.

When I have way too many apples, I will make fruit leather for the kids. Its a great snack and very easy to make.

Suzan said...

Happy Valley, Penrose, right? Must visit because I want to pick some berries:)

Suzan said...

....before it's too late. Feels like fall around here lately already. said...

The apples and berries look wonderful! It sounds like you had a really nice visit with Neal's parents.

We have an apple tree in the backyard that was loaded in blooms in the spring, and then loaded in apples. All but one fell off for some reason :-( It's a wild tree, in a very odd spot, but apparently a granny smith. We got several last year and they were wonderful. After reading your post, we may just have to head to an orchard and do a little picking ourselves!

When we have a bunch of apples we usually end up eating them rather quickly, or making some apple butter. I do usually end up making at least one pie. Frugalmom's apple leather sounds good. Let us know what you end up doing with them!

Lilla said...

SVB - I think everyone should visit an orchard and pick their own fruit. It is so much fun! Yes, looking forward to finishing The Ranch, but we still have a ways to go. As for the apples, so far I've made apple butter, an apple pie and I have plans to dehydrate some. And, we still have plenty left for eating by themselves.

frugalmom - yes, it was a nice visit and I think Neal's parents really enjoyed themselves. Thanks for the fruit leather suggestion. We may have to try that.

Suzan - it's Happy Apple Farm...yes, in Penrose. They have a website that they update regularly to let you know what's ready for picking. The berries should be ready in a couple of weeks, if we don't get a cold snap that freezes them before then!

Penny, lucky you for having your own apple tree in your yard! I always wanted to plant some fruit trees, but will probably have to wait til we get to The Ranch full-time for that. If you have an orchard nearby, you really must go for a visit. It can be relatively cheap entertainment, if you don't pick too much that you have to pay for!