My whole entire life, I have loved fall on the farm. 153 sprawling acres of nature calling my name.
I used to play in the leaves and the flowers until I squealed. In my little grip, I carried the small pumpkins my grandma used as decoration in the front yard. I even tried to befriend the farm cats. Something about this place as the weather gets cool and the leaves begin to change just has always felt like home.
This year, I’ve been lucky enough to spend two wonderful autumn weekends here (and next weekend makes three). My days have been filled with walks to the barn, sipping on hot coffee, and sitting on the picnic table reading Real Simple. But the best part has been spending time with my family.
I drank PBR with Claude, and as I type, he’s making his traditional Saturday night pizza. (He buys a pepperoni pizza from a local joint, picks it up, brings it home and towels off a hefty amount of grease. Then, he adds his own peppers, onions, and mushrooms, and cooks it a little more. Truly, he’s been doing this every Saturday since I can remember.) I got to catch up with my aunt Michelle, whom I don’t see nearly enough. I may look exactly like my mother, but my adoration for the finer things in life comes directly from her.
I played with my baby cousin Stella, who in all sense of the word is not really a baby anymore. She walks, she talks (“Ab-by! Ab-by!”), and she laughs the kind of laugh that is loud and moves her entire body. (And, as it turns out, her love for the leaves on the fall is the same as mine at that age.) I even got to spend some quality time with my mom and all my brothers on a spontaneous lunch excursion to Pennsylvania.
And, I got to bake my very first apple pie with Granny. On our drive home from Pennsylvania, we stopped at Peter’s Orchard in Adams County to load up on Northern Spy apples. We were on a mission to bake the perfect pie. As soon as we got home, we started coring, and peeling and slicing, and soon we had the most wonderful, decadent, aromatic apple pie I’d ever seen. And, it was the fruit of our own labor — no pun intended.
Ingredients: 6-7 cups Northern Spy apple slices / Sugar / Cinnamon / Nutmeg / Salt / Flour / Pie crust (store bought, or my homemade recipe)
Directions: Preheat oven to 375° / Evenly coat sliced apples with mixture of dry ingredients. / Fit half of pie crust dough into the bottom of a pie pan. / Add apple mixture to pie pan. / Top with 4-5 small pads of butter for a little extra oomph. / Cover with remaining pie crust dough. / Lightly brush top with milk and eggs. / Sprinkle sugar onto pie crust. / Bake 50-60 minutes. / Enjoy your lovely fall treat.