Saturday, September 24, 2011

Apple Picking!

It’s that time of year. The weather changes, the leaves turn into sunset hues, and apples become ripe for picking. We have quite a few apple trees at the monastery. Actually, the first time I’ve ever seen an apple tree was at Jordanville. Apples don’t grow in tropical Hawaii, after all. Or San Francisco.

By early September, the ground was littered with apples. You couldn’t walk anywhere near the area where the apple trees are (next to the garage, across from the monastery building) without hearing the crunch-crunch, or rather smoosh-smoosh, of apples under your feet. The trees, pregnant with fruit, ached to be relieved of their produce.

So, I was happy to hear that Father Luke blessed, or rather instituted, a general obedience to pick the monastery’s apples on September 22 (last Thursday). Not only would that be fun in itself, we would also get to enjoy the fruits (get it?) of our labors. Plus for me it makes good journalistic fodder for the school website.

Father Cyprian split us up into several groups involved with apple picking and processing. I ended up on the Party Planning Committee, i.e. getting stuff for the barbecue afterward. Before we headed out, I took some pictures of people picking apples.

Most of the apple-pickers used staves to whack the apples from the trees. My classmate S. didn’t bother with that. He climbed the biggest tree and started shaking the branches pretty vigorously. Apples fell like hail onto the ground. “I’m an energetic Serb!” S. shouted from the treetop.

Soon, it was time to get going. My team went to several stops to get the best prices on different goods. We got hot dogs from Price Chopper, burgers from Wal-Mart, and kielbasa from a Polish sausage vendor in Utica:

Doesn’t that look beautiful?

Of course, we didn’t skimp for our monastic brethren, either:

As we were getting the goods the sky began to change and the temperate apple-picking weather turned into rainy picnic-ruining weather. We got a call from Jordanville: it was raining hard. Should we postpone the barbecue to Saturday? Of course not! Meat! The show must go on!

“Move the grill to the garage. We’re eating inside,” I said.

Once we got there the garage was already filled with eager and hungry seminarians. Some apple pies were in the oven, but man must not live by pie alone. We got out the good stuff and before long there was a queue forming at the grill.

Worth queuing up for.

The evening was a smashing success. Apples got picked and made into various apple-y products, meat was available in abundance, and people had a fun time. What’s more, we cleaned up after ourselves with hardly any fuss. I can’t wait for what comes next!

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