Earlier this spring, Frankie met a couple who owns an 8ish acre mini-farm in Johnstown, Ohio who needed help trimming and pruning their apple trees. Frankie was happy to help, knowing that we’d be paid in an abundance of apples this fall. If your husband isn’t working for apples, then you’re missing out!
Harvest time rolled around, and Frankie agreed to also help them pick the apples. He spent hours on a ladder picking apples from ~6 trees which doesn’t seem like a lot, but it was approximately a boat load. When he was finished, he brought home 2 bushels of a few kinds. The 3 of them picked around 50 bushels of apples from those trees! Every year, they invite their family and friends over to make apple cider with a hand-cranked apple press, and that’s how my Saturday started and finished. We cranked out 25 bushels of apples in apple cider, and were sent home with 10 gallons of freshly pressed cider and bellies full of a delicious pot-luck lunch. A perfect start to fall.
While we were cranking out apple cider, my crock pot was slow-cooking a few of those apples into deliciously sweet apple butter. This was my second time trying slow-cooker apple butter. The first time didn’t work out as well as it did this time. I wasn’t patient enough with the apples, and canned them when they still resembled apple sauce. Rookie mistake. This time, the apples were deep in color and pureed beautifully. Frankie had also whipped up a batch of apple butter using the old-fashioned method of stirring for hours on the stove. We decided we’re going to have a battle of the butters.
Sunday morning, we woke up early to head to Circleville. Breakfast was a toasty warm english muffin smeared with butter and some of Frankie’s fresh apple butter. I’ll never tell him, but I think that little shit may win our competition. We hit the road to visit A&R Alpaca Farm & Gift Shop for their annual Farm Days. We used to live less than a 10 minute drive from this alpaca farm and would visit on occasions. The owners refer to us as “those beer people.” They had nearly 300 visitors on Saturday, and we wanted to get there bright and early to see all the Crias, the term used for baby alpaca.
I think I’ll write a separate post about visiting the alpacas as I can’t think of anything that makes me as happy. She has several hundred of them, a few chickens and a few great pyrenees (Swoon.) The family is so sweet as well! Not many people were allowed in to see the Crias as they are so young and fragile, but we were blessed to be able to hang out for awhile. Most people don’t understand the difference between alpacas and llamas, but alpaca don’t spit, live in groups and are much smaller than llamas. In fact, a grown female alpaca generally weighs around 150 lbs. The babies couldn’t have weighed more than 20 lbs, and they are so soft and cuddly. Alpaca are known for their soft wool, and their gift shop is full of sweaters, teddy bears and other gifts made from alpaca wool! If that sounds a little weird, its because it is. But once you go alpaca, you never back al-backa. I digress.
Sunday afternoon finished off by whipping up a second batch of apple butter, and a pan of apple crisp with grandma’s recipe while Frankie ran around doing a few landscape quotes. I think this evening, we’ll take the dogs for a walk, watch a movie or two, and finish the evening with a glass of warm spiced apple cider. An applesolutely perfect weekend.