There is something ineffably pleasurable about getting the physics of the meeting between splitting maul and drum just right. When the hit is just right and the drum cracks into two nearly identical pieces I feel pretty darn good about myself. Little need be said about miss hits and drums that defy all manner of persuasion. It is then that my language becomes peppered with expletive-laced phrasings learned long ago from some of the U.S. Navy’s finest non-com linguists.
By this time most years I have gathered in bushels of wild apples. Most all are dried, stored in jars and freezer bags, and shelved for future use. I have always loved nibbling on dried fruit, but this year most of my nibbling will be in mind only. A nearby orchard lost close to 70 percent of its crop to the early freeze and subsequent hailstorm. Our fruit trees all blossomed early so when the freeze hit we lost most of the crop. One dwarf peach tree produced seven peaches! Nothing to write home about, but they sure did taste good.
The roadsides I walk are normally rich with wild apples of all sizes, shapes, and colors. I carry a backpack that is usually filled by the time I get home. After several days of walks the kitchen counter is flooded with apples. We have a small, inexpensive dryer that does the job well, so in a few days we have packed away quite a few bags. I enjoy the walking and picking much more than the peeling, slicing and coring part of the job. I like looking at them as well, but that only goes on so long before Sandy gives me that look and I have to get to work. The rules here are straightforward: you pick ‘em, you process ‘em. I admit to being more excited about the aesthetics of such activities than the work part of it.