Today we went on a homeschool field trip to an apple orchard. I've been looking forward to this because I've never been to an apple orchard before. Yesterday while I was in the fabric store, I spotted this book of apple stickers in the dollar bin. It was the perfect thing to keep Emma entertained on our long drive this morning.
The orchard puts on a wonderful educational program for the children. This sweet woman taught the children how to grow cotton; and the process of picking, carding, spinning, and weaving it. She asked how many people would like to live in those days and make their own cloth. My heart skipped a beat. All the other moms were rolling their eyeballs and violently shaking their heads. Sitting at a spinning wheel looks like amazing fun to me. My own thread! Of course, those were dreadfully hard times and I don't underestimate the power of shopping at Kohl's. But for hobby sake, that's one "spin class" I think I could manage.
Emma's friend Hai Li was there, and Ems made sure to never let her out of her line of sight. Hai Li is a sweet and patient friend. :-)
The bee keeping demonstration really captivated Emma. The little kiddos were supposed to be sitting in a row of tiny chairs at the front of the arbor, but Emma couldn't help but walk right up and stare at her while she was talking. As luck would have it, the bee keeper was sweet and patient too.
This fancy mama got my full attention. Ain't she grand??? Buzzard, are you looking?
Oh, how I want a chicken coop. More than a spinning wheel, even.
Emma was endlessly fascinated with feeding them blades of grass. There were several different varieties of chickens, ALL of which I absolutely LOVED.
The gardens were spectacular. Lots of cute little displays like this one. My favorite was the "pizza garden". It was planted in a big, round circle, and it contained all the plants and herbs used in Italian cooking. Very clever. (Ever seen a sausage and mushroom with extra cheese shrub??)
The particular variety of apple in season today was called a Blushing Golden. They were small and VERY sweet. Due to seven freeze episodes last winter and a severe drought this summer the poor orchard is struggling. We were only allowed to pick one apple per person, which was a little disappointing. I was really hoping to bring home a bushel for eating and cooking.
We learned that to pick and apple you have to twist the stem so you don't damage the fruit bud.
Sweet. Juicy. Crisp. Crunchy.
Good enough to eat hers.....and then mine too!
I obviously don't have the hang of my new camera yet. I'm having focus issues.
This particular variety of tree is rather small and twiggy.
Such a fun break from school, and a great opportunity to enjoy the outdoors.
The weather was warm and the sun was bright.
The butterfly garden boasted spectacular flowers and dozens of monarchs. So fun to watch!
We ended our trip with a visit to the kitchen to sample raw honey and apple cake with cream cheese frosting. Amazing. They were frying homemade pies and the smell was intoxicating. Our purchase of choice was a small loaf of pumpkin bread which we devoured immediately.
Apple picking. A new fall tradition.