I would be remiss if I did not mention the bumper crop of apples we had this season.

We have three apple trees in our yard, that we didn’t plant, of course, but we have apples galore! Last season they were very small and few, and this season the branches are heavy, and the ground is full of apples, apples, apples!

It took me awhile to realize that each apple tree is different, mostly because it takes the apples awhile to turn red…if they’re the type that does turn red. For example, I believe one tree is Golden Delicious or Grimes Golden, and they stay light yellow or green. I didn’t realize until this week that they would never turn red and were scrumptious to eat off the tree. Jude especially likes them.

I believe we have one McIntosh tree, which is producing the most, and the most delicious, large red apples. They’re a little tart, and I make the most delicious apple crisp with them! 

The recipe is a cinch: 

1 baking dish full of cut up apples (probably 6+ cups)

For the crisp:

1 stick of butter, melted

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup oats

1 white cake mix

Cinnamon to your liking

*Bake at 375 for 45 minutes. 

*Definitely eat with vanilla ice cream

I’ve made two crisps each weekend for the past three weekends. Tyler can’t get enough! And, I’ve given bags away: to my mom, to Aunt Lindsay, to Connie and Robert at the shop, and to my friend Beth.

I’m not quite sure what the third apple tree is. I think it might be Johnathans, as the apples are red, smaller than the McIntoshes, and also a little tart. Apples have been a welcome surprise this season!


The Season Ends: Tearing Down

It’s October, and the first frost came this weekend, causing the tomato plants to wither and look exhausted…and wet. So, it’s time for the boys to tear down their gardens.

This is always more fun than I expect… As we pull the stringy cucumber vines off their trellis and yank tomato plants out of the cages, the boys turn it into a feat of strength, an adventure. Their creativity kicks in and tomato cages turn into robot parts, the shriveled plants become weapons (of course). Before I know it, I have boys running all over the yard, engaged in imaginative play… and sometimes I have to dodge dirt clumps and rotten tomatoes. Really, I have to laugh and not be a task-master. This is what gardens are for! These moments become the memories.


I always ask the boys – usually inside, later, after the games are over – what they thought of their gardens this season. I’m sure they feel somewhat similar year-to-year: they liked watching certain plants, and some were a bust. Here’s what they said this year:

Jude: “My favorite thing about my garden was definitely my cherry tomatoes because they taste the best. They’re my favorite tomato. And cucumbers because they grow fast.”

Morris: “I like pulling things out of the ground, the carrots, the radishes. The radishes I like pulling out of the ground. I like the peppers. I like the hot peppers because they were really fast to grow, and I liked to do dares with them and make people eat them. I like the green peppers because they’re big. I like being a part of things.”

Later, “I love that the kitty-cats love to lay in them.”

(He was referring to a hot pepper challenge between Cousin Quinn and Rex. Who could chew on the pepper the longest? Rex won. Quinn drank a lot of milk.)

Rex: “I liked that we had a lot of cucumbers and tomatoes. I didn’t like that my mint and chives didn’t grow. I enjoyed the hot peppers.”

So, they were mostly pleased with their gardens, although we have some things to work on… Next season I’d like to try some new, different plants, and I’d like us to grow more from our own seeds. We’ll see. Each season is different, yet familiar. That’s one of the charms of our gardens.