Sunday, March 18, 2012

"It's just like a pinata!"

Today was an exquisitely perfect Autumn day. So Autumnally Autumnal it almost made our teeth ache. Possibly after reading this upbeat post your teeth will ache. This totally enchanting change of season bizzo is further solidifying our feeling that moving south was so the right thing to do. We are enjoying these cool crisp nights and perfectly warm days. It's just perfect weather for more apple picking, eating and cooking. Oh the side-of-road abundance! What a thing of beauty. Annie came home from work earlier in the week to report on the very laden apple tree she had spied on the side of the road, in the very picturesque environs, somewhere between Bemboka and Candelo. With the last batch of found apples bottled and stored away, more apple picking was looking to be a necessary part of our Sunday agenda. We set out in the still cool hours of this morn to find the tree of abundance and find it we did.

It was a joyous morning. The apple fragrance in the air, the bluest of blue sky days, the sparkling stream nearby, the warmth of the apples picked fresh from the tree and the tart, crisp juiciness of this mystery variety. A gorgeously sensuous experience. Oh yes and then to reach some of the higher ones we had to bash the tree with a metal pole (hence the pinata reference, courtesy of our ever-observant Olive). So yes, a little jarring to all those sensuous senses we were experiencing but pretty fun nonetheless.

We left with a boot full of apples.
We have many plans for this little bounty: a) spicy apple chutney that has to sit for 3 months before being consumed. Holy shit, this is gonna be good; b) jars of apple jelly to thrill the kids and to eat with fine cheeses and wine; c) give away to friends and d) many apple pies. I whipped up this little baby this arvy.
She's a real good one this recipe. I got it out of a Delicious magazine some years go, it was the recipe of somebody's grandma so it's pretty CWA and by golly, is it good. I've made it for many apple pie loving loved ones over the years and it's always met with smiles and exclamation. The secret ingredients are custard powder and icing sugar in the pastry and the apple is cooked with a ton of sugar, star anise, clove and cinnamon so it's a fragrant sweet heaven. I think the reason I love it so much is that it is so the antithesis of all the whole foods cooking I do most of the time. For the kids of course! I'm always nutritionally value adding - some quinoa here, some tahini there, some chia seeds in this and some wakame in that. But this pie is just so delicious in it's non-attempt at health. So tonight was the first of many this Autumn.

We felt pretty excited by this Autumn day that we decided to have a little bit of an Autumn celebration this evening. Dessert was, of course, uber-delicious apple pie. But we preceded it with some help from Farmer John. Some of you may have seen the delightfully quirky and uplifting film, "The Real Dirt On Farmer John" a few years back. In its own kooky way, this film was pretty formative in planting the seed (yeah sorry) that we could one day be regenerative farming laydees. Farmer John is into some pretty esoteric stuff from the biodynamic realm, which I am not, happy as I am in my atheistic realm. But it seems to be working for him, so good luck to him. Anyhoo, Farmer John has a cookbook called, unsurprisingly, "Farmer John's Cookbook: The Real Dirt On Vegetables". And while some of the recipes are not for us, some of them are truly delicious. Like the very warming and very Autumnal pumpkin, kale and white bean stew. It's so satisfying and delicious, flavoured as it is with cumin and sage. We partnered it with the corn bread recipe from Farmer John. So all in all an American salute to Autumn. We were so taken by our American salute that we had to listen to the Carolina Chocolate Drops while we dined.

Ok so maybe dined is pushing it. We ate together, amidst "play breaks" and scooter rides and general chaos, as we reflected on the bounty of Autumn and the potentially massive week ahead. Our excavator is booked in for Tuesday (weather permitting) but the weather forecast is terribly non-committal. There's a lot of "Chance of showers" being uttered on the BOM. However in hopeful anticipation of the impending earthworks, Annie pegged out our agreed house site - due solar north of course. She also pegged out 2 swales that will carry water (slowly) from the culvert on the road to our initial food growing area. These swales are around 75 metres long so we've got some pretty formidable garden designing/planting/nurturing ahead of us. Annie also found a beautiful fallen log that will be perfect for the kid's treehouse/cubby that we will soon be building.

We are more moved by the anticipation of the earth works than we imagine we would be. If all goes well, the end of the week could see us with, not just a giant scar across our land but, a firm foundation for our little house, our little strawbale. Feels pretty weird.

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