Hi folks, I hope you are enjoying our changing outdoor world today. One of our maple trees just outside my door is now dressed in magnificent colors of yellow-orange and our sumacs have been wearing scarlet dresses for a couple weeks. By the time you get this column probably all the trees will have a variety of beautiful colors. Jack Frost has not came to visit yet, but we can expect him anytime now that October has arrived.
When I was a young child, I got real excited when October came because I knew it would soon be my birthday and I'd get a present from my parents and a birthday cake with ice cream. As I grew older, I still enjoyed that special day, but it was the change in seasons that took priority in my thoughts. I loved going to the woods across the road from our farmhouse, and I delighted in the beauty there. Many times I collected colored leaves and pressed some in a heavy book. I still have some of them and I think they have aged better than I for they look just as good now as they did back then.
Another thing I enjoyed in those days in October was playing in the leaves after they came off the trees in our yard. If you never raked some of them into a pile and jumped into it, you missed a great part of childhood. It provided entertainment for my siblings and me.
Speaking of playing in the leaves, our children did that too, as did our younger grandchildren and great-grandchildren when they came to our house. I have to say I still enjoyed it almost as much as they did. I even remember I took a picture of Bill one year after some of them covered him completely with leaves. All you could see of him was his head. Believe me, the kids had great fun doing it.
Another fun thing we did in October was to pick up the apples which had fallen off the trees in our orchards, except if we happened to have gotten some early snow. Then it wasn't so much fun, but we knew dad would take them to the cider mill, and we'd have cider to drink with our popcorn all winter.
I know nowadays cider is available, but I don't think it is made exactly as it was in that yesteryear. Moreover, I know some of the kinds of apple trees many farmers had back then were different. I don't remember all the kinds we had, but I recall there were Baldwin's and snow apples. The latter came earliest, and when we went to the upper orchard to feed the pigs, we would climb the tree and grab an apple to eat. We also had spies which are still available, but I don't think there are any farmers growing them around here. In days gone by, many farmers had at least a couple good apple trees if not a whole orchard. We had two of them, and we had lots of apple dumplings, applesauce and apple pie. We always had dessert of some kind for supper.
Things were a lot different in many ways in those yesteryears. I was born not many years after the great depression and many families had large gardens and a lot of fresh produce. Our cellar was always filled with all kinds of canned vegetables and fruits. I don't remember growing potatoes, but my uncle nearby did, and I recall picking up potatoes there so probably that's where ours came from. We also had a nut tree, so we had them. My dad always butchered pigs, chickens and maybe a cow every year to provide meat. There were two grocery stores a mile away in Dewittville where we got flower, sugar, spices and other necessary items.
My life as a homemaker has been much easier than my grandparents and parents. Nevertheless, I never regretted my childhood and growing up years and I'm thankful I have a wonderful Christian heritage.