So, I’ve been back in the states just over a week – and the re-entry has been solid. Customs happened in Ireland, which meant three separate security lines in Dublin, but on the plus side, I was able to grab my bag and run for the bus almost immediately on landing. A quick ride home (after 13 hours on assorted public transit, what’s 72 miles?), met by my friend Mitzi at the bus station – made it home to find my mom and dog waiting for me! A total surprise, considering I was planning to drive to Madison the next morning – it was an excellent welcome home – a final day of vacation that was just as happy as the days before.
Returning home in October certainly has it’s perks – I left the dull green of a waning summer to find fall colors emerging everywhere. Halloween season is my very, very favorite time of the year – so this past weekend, with a bright, cloudless sky and a chill in the air, I decided to celebrate by going apple and pumpkin picking! This is something I haven’t done in years, so I looked all over the internet for the perfect place. I also wanted to get out of the city and see some more colors, so off the beaten path was required. There are a few places close to Milwaukee, but they are so overrun with bounce houses and carnival rides and “punkin chuckers”, that it’s pure chaos. Luckily, the Apple Barn fit the bill nicely.
The Apple Barn was a little over an hour by the county highways (drove through Honey Creek and Sugar Creek among others) – such a nice peaceful drive. I love to look at all the little pocket sized farms and gardens. Hard to believe that we’re probably only six weeks or so out from the first blanket of snow. When I got there, the crowds were still pretty thin, and it was perfect picking weather!
I started with only one “peck” bag, but the apples were so big that I ended up picking two full bags before I made myself stop (this was difficult) – and then it was over to the pumpkin patch! Another failed lesson in self control :).
Now – there were some choices here, there were plenty of perfectly good pumpkins stacked on a wagon, but why go the easy route? How often do you get to wander around, examining as many pumpkins as you want – still on the vine? I knew I wanted three, and I was planning on two large and one medium (priced by size, trying to operate with a modicum of self control, considering the half bushel of apples in the wagon already), so I looked and looked for the perfect combination of shapes, sizes, and orangeness.
Much to my surprise, and despite the fact that I could barely lift one of them, all three turned out to be “medium” price – excellent! Packed my prizes into the car and then went to sit under the gorgeous trees and listen to the live music, taste the free honey crisp apple wine (someone bought three bottles. no names.), the hot apple cider, and of course a caramel apple.
After a few hours (and a few too many bees) it was time to head home – and now my house is filled with apple sauce and apple crisp – just waiting for the perfect moment to carve! ~Brianne