Today, we took the kids to the apple orchards in Tehachapi for our annual apple picking trip. This is one of my favorite ways to bring in fall!! I really love talking to the farmers and watching the kids run around and pick apples off the tree. The kids have gotten so big--this year, it took them about 8 minutes to fill two buckets with 40 lbs of apples! Next year, we'll have to make some sort of game out of it. We had some interesting conversations with the owners of Knauss Orchards, where we usually go...they were closed for picking, and I was at first a little "miffed"...I had checked everything on the websites before we left. We ended up picking at a smaller orchard down the road, but came back to Knauss for their butters (apple, blackberry, apricot, pumpkin, mmmm!!) and I asked why they had closed this weekend. Apparently, due to the lack of rain we got last year (it was a very dry year in the desert!) with the accompanying wind storms (I remember these! I would run home several times last year and cover my garden, we had some dusty gales for sure!), they had very little fruit. Last year, they were open until Thanksgiving for picking--this year, they managed one weekend. It was so interesting to me to have a conversation with someone still tied to the earth's whims and the seasons' offerings. We bought a lot of their canned goods, I hope the year will be okay for them. They seemed to be accepting of it; I wonder if they put a little away every year so that off-years will be manageable. We got very little fruit off our few fruit trees as well; this is my first year handling fruit trees, and I wonder if it was because of the wind. Afterwards, we ate at Red's BBQ and played at the park for two hours before heading home--gorgeous fall weather, so nice and cool! This week, I will be making dried apples in my dehydrator and apple sauce--I need to pick up some canning lids. Yum!