Fall and Apple Picking

Orchards on the farm in 1964

I enjoyed fall on the farm. It meant things were starting to slow down but there was still lots of work to do. The horse corn needed to be harvested. The remaining hay was bailed. Pumpkins were picked. Crops that were finished were plowed over.

Apples needed to be picked as on my grandparents’ farm we had quite an apple orchard. Uncle Donald experimented graphing and there was one tree that produced five different varieties. I did pick apples but was always careful as one year my uncle broke his arm because he fell off the ladder, or it might have been from falling off a limb, knowing him. I was always careful.

Some apples were picked and taken to the mill to make cider. In later years, my uncle got his own cider press and we would help him make cider. So delicious. Other apples were sold at our farm stand or taken to market, where my grandfather, uncle and aunt would go into Baltimore City on Fridays to sell fruit, vegetables, chickens and eggs to customers.

I love apples. Crisp, somewhat tart. Grandmother would make apple pie. My father loved the apple filling his mother made and the crust that my mother’s mom made. My mom would make a delicious applesauce and froze it. I loved eating it before it was all thawed out.

That orchard was plowed under after the farm was sold. Now I have to buy my apples and while sometimes I have to use grocery stores, I try to buy my apples directly from the farmers. I love how fresh they are and all the varieties they have.

Remember an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

Bushels of apples picked on the farm. 1964

After Apple Picking

by Robert Frost

My long two-pointed ladder’s sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still.
And there’s a barrel that I didn’t fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn’t pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples; I am drowsing off.
I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the water-trough,
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and reappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall,
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it’s like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep.


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2 Responses to Fall and Apple Picking

  1. Rachel says:

    That sounds so wonderful- I love the fall and apple and pumpkin picking! I am taking my little brother apple picking in October at a local farm in Harford County and I cant wait. I’m looking for good apple recipes, as I love to stock up on the local apples.. they are so yummy and way better than the store bought ones.

    • Janice Hidey says:

      That sounds like fun, Rachel. After I moved to South Carolina, in the fall I would take my third grade class to Cherokee, NC to visit the Museum of the Cherokee and Oconaluftee Village. One of our stops was also to get mountain apples. I loved it and would get quite a few for me and to share. I would have apples for eating and cooking through December.

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