The early mornings and evenings are getting chillier and darker by the day. The light seems different somehow. Baskets of summer fruit and veg are slowly being jammed and bottled and put away for leaner times. The rows of the kitchen garden are being picked, pulled out, turned over, composted and seeds of winter greens are being planted. And summer's apples are finally ripe and being plucked from the trees.
At this time of the year the farmer boys drive around the area with trailers on the backs of their cars scouting out and picking from the wild apple trees they find along their ways. Baskets and buckets and bags are filled with the juicy fruit.
Last weekend families and friends gathered with their apples nearby at Liam and Kath's for the annual cider pressing.
Farmer Bren brought along his cycle powered apple scratter/grinder/mulcher and others brought their inventions too. Whole apples are fed into the top and turned into apple mush that comes out the other end.
Oops, and there's the photo of me in the ear hat you asked for...
After the scratter, the apple mush is wrapped up in bits of calico called cheeses and layered between wooden racks. Pressure is applied to the top of the pile and the apple juice is sqeeeeeeeeeeeeeeezed out and caught in a bucket below.
The apple juice is then drunk by little passers by, or poured into bigger drums for cider.
The dried out, squished apple cakes look like this at the end. Apparently they cooked one on the fire after we'd left, but from what I hear they wont be repeating that again.
And then of course there was the drinking of last years' cider, the campfire cooking and the Cider House String band.
I barely saw my kids the whole day. They were off running around with friends having as much fun as we were.
I love days like that. I love community and celebrations of seasons and fruit and time.
I do love a bit of cider too. Don't you?