Sunday, November 6, 2011

Apple Cider, Worms and All

This afternoon, after several hours of making cider (see Karen's blog at, the man in charge looked at Karen and me and said something like, "All this has been given to us. Aren't we fortunate?"

When we finished and were getting ready to leave, Karen handed him a check.  Holding his hands back, as if we were playing "hot potato," he said, "No, after all that work, you certainly don't have to pay." "That wasn't work," we said, "and yes, we must pay." After all, although the apples had been given to us (speaking in a generic, world-wide sense), he had paid for them. Besides, in truth, it wasn't work. All I did was cut apples into quarters, listen and say something once in a while. Ten gallons in, I thought, what a great way to relax after yesterday's mulching of a garden bed and digging up potatoes.

The day had begun with a covering of white, our first hard frost, but the sun soon warmed everything to comfort, an afternoon so perfect for being outdoors that a few yellow-jackets joined our celebration. A month earlier we would have joined the yellow-jackets and the result might not have been so delightful.

The people who gathered to press apples probably wouldn't have met anywhere else. We didn't ask what each other "did." For today, all that mattered was that we shared the same boat, doing something our ancestors have done for centuries rather than taking a bottle off a shelf and placing it in our grocery cart.

Next weekend we'll be making apple butter and a couple months from now, instead of cutting apples, we'll be cutting pork. That's what we do.

"Together we eat the land that someday will eat us," said Virginia, summing it up. "Everything is connected."