Wednesday, October 13, 2010

apple butter

This was my breakfast this morning: Vermont white cheddar cheese, honeycrisp apple slices and fresh apple butter from the Chatham Apple Butter Festival.

An apple butter festival you say?

Every year, Medina County features a Fall Foliage Tour.  It's a DIY driving tour designed to welcome the new season and take you to area farms, historical landmarks, parks, and local businesses showcasing Fall-like entertainment and treats.

Bruce and Patty Salsgiver invited us to join them last weekend for this event, so we all embarked on a scenic outing together, stopping at four places along the way.

Patty (of the chocolate-dipped pretzels from the Fourth of July) brought a bag of her special venison jerky to share.  And by special, I mean spicy!   It had us all laughing and wiping our noses.

Pioneer Park was our first destination.  It's a huge plot of land where residents set up camp and reenact Civil War era activities, dress in pioneer clothing, cook food over homemade stoves, play baseball without gloves, display replicas of pioneer wagons, fire Civil War era rifles, and talk about amputation.  The scene was fascinating, but I was quite happy to get back in our modern vehicle and thank the Lord for our modern house, modern appliances, modern technology and modern anesthesia.

After a quick stop at a ministry-owned farm, where we got a free hayride, we visited The Apple Cabin.  Bruce and Patty knew the staff here, and we got to watch apples being pressed in large amounts. The samples of cider we drank from this process were perfectly sweet and refreshing.   I've been to a cider press before, but nothing to this scale!  We gladly bought a half gallon for our fridge.

The Apple Butter Festival in Chatham was our final stop.  Patty grew up in this small town, and she knew almost everyone we saw there. We bought a jar of their famous apple spread before walking through the church craft fair.  Word has it, the neighborhood church hosts weekly pancake breakfasts in the springtime, using locally produced flour and maple syrup.  Note to self.

Patty's dad worked the donut stand at the festival, which we couldn't pass up.  We were given the freshest, most incredible, tasting donuts I've ever eaten!

Also, The Salsgiver men are avid hunters.  They don't hunt with guns, they hunt with arrows.  After the driving tour, Bruce asked if we wanted to fire his crossbow.  Um, how often does someone ask you to fire their crossbow?

Bruce gave us the easy one first and we shot at targets they had set up by their barn.   Talk about exhilarating!  The crossbow we didn't shoot was the one that included the word 'carbine' in it's name.   It had several arrows attached to the body and the tension on the bows were more than I could handle.  Chris gave it a try, but even he felt weak at the attempt.  So, we went back to the original weapon and had fun firing at inanimate objects before heading home.

Much to our delight, the landscape has changed this past week.  It seems as if overnight the trees went from green to vibrant shades of red, orange and yellow.  It is more brilliant than any other Autumn I have experienced before.  This is the month I've been craving since we moved to Ohio and it's finally here.

Wait, what's this rumor about an Indian Summer?

I'm sticking my fingers in my ears and pretending the cooler weather is here to stay.

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