the smell of apples fills the house

Two crock pots simmer away through the night. Since I’m the one who gets up every two or three hours while Sarah lies curled in sweet oblivion, I’m the stirrer. Apple butter in the final stages.

Yesterday, a morning taken for apple picking in Kentucky – a natural orchard in a nature preserve, with low, gnarled trees, varieties of all kinds, and drunken wasps stumbling over the droppings.

Three sturdy shopping bags and about sixty pounds of fruit later, I get out a screwdriver and tighten up the works of our metal hand-cranked peeler and Sarah gets to work. Whirring the gadget, she makes peels curl like birthday present ribbons, saving them in a gallon jug for fermenting apple cider.

While I was gone caring for my mother all July, Sarah filled the empty time with canning the overflow of veggies from our garden and our CSA. Blackberry jam, pickled hot peppers, hot pepper jelly, bloody Mary mix, tomato sauce, tomato juice, tomato puree, salsa….but now that I’m home there’s less filling a gap and more joy to the obsession.

Insomnia comes with the territory…apnea, ADD, doubts and fears, bad dreams, insistent bladder. So it’s a blessing to wake up to the sweet potpourri of simmering apples and cinnamon, stir the thickening butter, and release more fragrance into the air.

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