Red apples on a blue sky day

red-apples-on-a-blue-sky-day-13959_staatsYesterday was the epitome of an early fall day – cloudy and cool in the morning, but clearing skies and warm sun.  We took advantage of the day and left the Cities early, heading west to Howard Lake, Minnesota.  Our first stop was Swenson Gardens, the essential place for peonies.  We had visited there a year ago, but this time we were getting advice on dividing and planting peonies.  Keith and Becky offered they personal help and guidance and we left with plenty of information and three new peony plants for our home garden.  As the sun was breaking through the clouds, we wandered south a few miles to Carlson’s Orchard.  The bakery and restaurant were doing a bustling business, and a wait was required but certainly worth every minute.  We had a delicious lunch, followed by fresh apple pie a la mode.  The orchard was filled with apples, and the beautiful red Haralsons stood out against the blue and white sky and green of the trees and grass.  One more stop at a winery for some tasting and a glass of wine in the sun made for a full and relaxing day.

Fall apple harvest

Apple harvest 51178_StaatsOne of my favorite bounties of fall is the apple harvest.  Whether I was living in Washington state or in Minnesota, there are wonderful and delicious apples that grow in the respective regions.  This seems to have been a good year for the apple harvest in the midwest.   Although it may be a little bit later than usual, the apple trees are full with their luscious fruit.  We ventured north to the shoreline of Lake Superior this weekend nad harvested apples from an old tree belonging to a dear friend.  No one knows the type of apple, but everyone agrees that it’s excellent for cooking.  So now we’ll put up applesauce to enjoy throughout the cold winter, and we’ll enjoy apple pie and cobbler, apple muffins and turnovers.  There’s a wonderful smell wafting from our kitchen!