Sunday, September 25, 2005


Bliss in the apple orchard

Maybe there's some sort of cosmic rule, that if you have a particularly sucky week, you get rewarded with a terrific weekend? I don't know if that's the case, but I'm not complaining after the wonderful family weekend we just had.

On Saturday morning, my menfolk and I went apple picking. I've never been apple picking before, so I didn't know quite what to expect. Both boys do love apples, though, so I figured it would be a neat thing to teach them. It was the most beautiful morning you could imagine for apple picking - about 15 degrees (maybe 50F?), warm in the sun but with a cool breeze. I'm sure there are orchards closer, but a friend at work recommended Kilmarnock Orchards, which is about a 50 minute drive from our place.

As you can see, it's a beautiful location. I think it's an island surrounded by the Rideau River. They boys were thrilled to ride the tractor-pulled "train" and run rampant in the morning sunshine; the whole apple thing was just a bonus.

I wasn't sure they'd "get" the idea of apple picking, but I was quickly disabused of that notion. I have to admit, I thought the apple trees would be larger, and the boughs harder to reach. I spent more time chasing Simon away from low-hanging fruit than I did actually picking anything! (That and of course, chasing the elusive perfect snapshot. A mother's work is never done, I tell ya.)

It was also a bit of a challenge to explain to Simon that the apples on the ground weren't quite as palatable as the ones hanging from the trees. He didn't seem to mind if his apples were fermenting or fresh. Ick.

Since I'm not much of a baker, we only picked what I figured we would eat and ended up with a half-bushel bag. I had no idea what to expect when we made our way out through the cashier, but to my astonishment an entire morning's outing came to only $5. (Plus $10 in gas and $6 in Tim's coffee and cookies, but who's counting?)

Of course, they also didn't charge us for the dozen half-eaten apples strewn behind the boys like a trail of breadcrumbs. Every time I turned around, they each had a fresh apple in each hand and were chomping happily. And to think I've been skinning Simon's apples all this time!

When we had our fill of apples, we made our way to the nearby town of Merrickville and had a nutritious picnic lunch of chipwagon fries and hot dogs. I've never been to Merrickville either, but I'll be going back without kids one of these days to do some serious Christmas (and indulgence) shopping. Tonnes of great little country shops, and lots of local craftspeople. Much to Tristan's delight, tucked away in a little corner we found a model train shop complete with an entire aisle of Thomas toys. And we topped things off with a stop in the town's ice cream parlor and candy shop.

It simply doesn't get any better than a perfect Saturday morning exploring the countryside with those you love... and once again, balance is restored to my universe.