Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Eternal Apple Quest....


Remember last week when I was all, "I don't care that it's still 90 degrees out and that it's not really fall! It's fall! I want to go apple picking!! Whooohooo!"? And all that? And I ended up picking strawberries instead? Yeah, me, too.

Well, I thought I was going to get a little bit luckier this weekend. A friend emailed me a link to a Fall Apple Festival in the East Bay. Apple festival!!!! Apples! A whole festival about apples! Yay!

Apparently, to hold an apple festival, you really only need to set up a couple of card tables, have one old-timey apple press for making apple juice and a few long tables with an assortment of apple slices for tasting. I feel like "festival" was too strong of a word; maybe a "here's one thing you can do with apples" demonstration would have been more appropriate marketing. No apples for sale, no apple-y treats (aside from the dixie cup of apple juice each kid got at the apple press), no apple trees, even--I know there were orchards on the grounds somewhere, but even a walk beyond the "festival" boundaries did not reveal them (although it did reveal a scurrying gopher or two).

We had fun, but not really in an APPLEFESTIVAL!!!! kind of way. Sigh. Maybe next weekend?

The East Bay area is gorgeous, with it's rolling sun-scorched hay hills and green trees.

These apples were the only ones we could find, on trees, in the whole place. And they're in the parking lot, surrounded by chicken wire. Friendly!

The theme of the day (which surprisingly wasn't really "apples!") was "old timey"--Ethan played with a bevy of old fashioned toys, the likes of which my cousins and I would have found as children, in our parents old childhood toy boxes, if such a thing existed. Old hand-painted spin-y tops, clippity-clop wooden horses and chinese checkers boards were set up for kids to play with.

This is the expression I get these days when I ask for a smile. It looks more like a "I just slammed my finger in a door and in about 5 seconds will be screaming bloody murder" face than a smile, but whatever. Get used to it.

There was supposed to be ice creaming making, where the kids could help out with the churning and what not. But when we got there, the ice cream was already made. So...

...Ethan ate his thimble full of ice cream and mini-cone (hidden by the pink napkin). A couple of times, he looked at his napkin and asked if he was eating cotton candy or ice cream. You'd think he'd know the difference, but really, the napkin was super pink and the ice cream wasn't that good...

The barn was lovely--I do love a big red barn. And this one was full of antique tools and working black smith set up and a blue-grass folk band.

I'd love to learn how to play the fiddle violin whatever that is. I'm not really a blue grassy girl, but every time I see a blue grass band, I feel like I should be.

Clearly not happy with the saddle experience.

Making horse shoes? (I have no idea, let's pretend, shall we?)

chicken incubator, people! That is authentic old-timey stuff!

And the big thrill of the APPLE!FESTIVAL! was getting to press a bucket of apples into juice. I will say, that is cool & Ethan loved it. When I was in kindergarten my class went to an orchard that had its own cider press and I remember being agog at the machine and the sheer vastness of how many apples went into making a small container of juice. Ethan was equally amazed and even got to participate:

apples go in...

you turn the press...


....and out comes the juice...

mmmmm, that's a delicious dixie-cup full of juice, my friends!

On the way back to the parking lot, we had to play Tetanus Roulette with the giant old rusty farm vehicles.

Not quite big enough to help out at the farm yet...

After all that Not-Really-Appley-Apple-Festival fun (and yes, I recognize that my expectations were probably unrealistic and that Ethan had a blast regardless of how many actual apples were there), we headed to Berkeley for lunch and had the privilege of paying $40 for 2 minutes of parking, as we got back to our car literally 2 minutes after the meter expired and found a pretty little love note to the tune of $40 on our dash. Super!

But on our after lunch walk (read: $40 un-guided walking tour of Berkeley) we did discover this one tree that appeared to internalize the entirety of autumn in its own little microcosm:

everything else is still blooming all summery, but this tree? Ready to take a long winter's nap.

crunchy, smells-like-fall!!!!!! leaves

We take our chance to stomp around on falling leaves very seriously here...

...and leave no crunchy, fallen leaf unstomped.

It takes a little more effort here in Northern California, but if you're looking really closely, you can find fall.


Becca said...

LOL "Tetanus Roulette!"

Looks like fun, but I'd have been bummed too. The bluegrass folk band would have redeemed all.

Tricia said...

You should come to Southern Illinois this week for the Murphysboro Apple Festival. We have apple pie and apple butter contests, apple peeling and pie eating contests, fresh cider, apples with sweet warm caramel to dip them in. We even have the festival superhero, Captain Applesauce! The week winds down with a 2-hour long parade filled with high school bands and the Apple Festival Queen. You also can't forget the carnival and the fireman's water fights.

How is that for small town fun?
Sorry your festival wasn't as fun. I really enjoy reading your blog.


Hyacynth said...

Hey! I have apples. Lots of them. I have trees full of apples. {And by I, I mean my state.} After you're done in Southern Illinois, you can come up to the northern Chicago 'burbs, and I will take you to the Apple Holler! ORRRR! I will take you to the Apple Orchard. Whichever you would like. Because I love apples.
And I think a trip to the Midwest to enjoy fall would be a good way for you to kick off the new year. Don't you think?
Did I mention I have APPLES!? Real ones? Not surrounded by chicken wire in a parking lot?

Jen said...

Tetanus Roulette? LOL!!!!!!! I love how you're always taking Ethan on adventures. He is going to have such great memories of his childhood!

Mama Bub said...

I love apple season! Way to make apple juice out of a lemon-y sort of day.

Sarah said...

Apple season is the best-- I bet when yours hits, it will be the appliest apple season in the whole apple world-- and let me know b/c my MIL's apple crisp recipe is delish.