Sunday, October 2, 2011

Autumn Is Officially Here

Well, for me that is.

I took my wife apple picking this weekend. The weather wasn't looking too great for it Friday night, pouring rain like cats and dogs and all. But bright and early next morning it looked like a doable day for it, so I took out a Zipcar from the nearby garage and we drove about 90 minutes north of NYC to a family orchard in Warwick. I've never been there before, but it was a quaint little place. The smell of trees and all that fresh air reminded me a lot of my college days spent in the northern wilds of Vermont. And although it drizzled on and off the entire time, it was a very nice day for picking apples.

My favorite apple is the Red Delicious variety. Why? Well, because it's neither too tart nor too mushy--two things I absolutely loathe in an apple. A good Red Delicious has a chewy outer skin, crisp and watery inner, and can be eaten practically to the core without oxidizing too badly and getting all brown and gross. My next favorite apple is the good ole Macintosh. That one's a little more sweet than the Red Delicious, but still very good. It has to be very fresh and not overly ripened for me to enjoy one, though. Which is why I never eat Macs in the city. By the time they reach the fruit stands here, they've usually gone too soft.

Luckily for me, the two varieties that were ripe on the trees this time of year (last week of September, early October) are the Red Delicious and Mac types. So I scored big time by going now. Yay me! The dirt roads in the orchards were very muddy, however, so the Nissan Sentra I had rented out for the day had a tough go at it. Everything was going fine, for the most part. We had picked around three bags worth of apples, and were just leaving the farm when the missus decided she wanted to check out a grove of Concords off the side of the road. Me being an idiot, I drove off the road right up under the trees.

Big mistake.

After we had picked a few apples, we got back in the car and I reversed. Only to find the Sentra going nowhere fast. Sonuvabitch! I got out of the car and found the tires mired deep in mud and loose grass. We were stuck! Why oh why didn't I pick a 4WD vehicle instead, I thought. The Sentra didn't even have a lower drive setting--grrrr!

I tried pushing the front of the car while my wife reversed, but still no go. The tires were only sinking deeper. It was one of the most frustrating predicaments I'd ever been in. At one point, I got so bent out of shape pushing at the front bumper that I slipped almost face first into the mud. Do you know what it feels like to have your clothes completely covered in wet mud, and nowhere to go to wash it off or change into another set? I would've settled for a hose at the back of a barn at that point, actually. Not only that, but the mud smelled like manure. Yep, that's right: I smelled like a cow's ass!

But anyway, that was the least of my worries. I still had to figure out how to get the car unstuck. We were out in the middle of nowhere, and God only knew where the main house was. Luckily, I found a stack of hay bales nearby. I grabbed one and lugged it on over to the car. I then proceeded to stuff hay beneath and behind the tires, jamming it in there really nice in the hopes that I could give myself some traction. After several touch and go attempts--by which I mean the car got unstuck and then stuck again numerous times--I finally managed to push the car to some gravelly ground with the help of a few kind strangers who assisted me in pushing.

Unfortunately, the Zipcar was covered in more mud than I was now. Arrgh! There was no way I could return it looking like this. Even worse, I had no choice but to climb back into the driver seat and muddy up the interior now.


Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed.

But, I took it all in stride I have to say. I drove and found the main area eventually. My wife and I sat down with some other pickers at picnic table and had some apple cider (yum!) and apple cider donuts (double YUM!!), and purchased a homemade apple pie to take home. Yes, it was a very apply Saturday for us. :)

But, boy, you should have seen the stares I was getting from everyone. I looked like I had come out of the losing end of a rugby match--YECK! I even had mud caked in my hair. And my shoes were shit! But they were hiking boots so that's what they were designed for, I guess. The whole time I was driving home, I couldn't wait to get out of those clothes, drop them in the washer on the "HEAVY SOIL" setting, and then take a nice hot shower.

But first I had to take care of the car.

Luckily I stopped by a car wash in the Bronx just before reaching home. I paid for the FULL SERVICE option and watched a team of undocumented workers who couldn't speak English go to town on the interior first. Then the car went through the old washer-roo and I watched on the waiting end as it got all spit-shined and polished. Wow! What a difference that made! I wish I had remembered to take pictures of it all, but by this time I just wanted to get home. I tipped the workers generously, though, then hopped in and burned rubber out of there! Got the Zipcar back to the garage with time to boot, then trekked the two blocks home while generating even more odd stares. Funny thing was, they're filming a movie in my neighborhood. The trailers had been set up on my street, and I'm sure someone thought I was some sort of extra or something. I passed by the crafts services truck and the guy working the counter gave me a double take.

Hmmm, on second thought . . . I should have tried to score some free food!

Anyway, I'm home now and I have delicious apple-tastic treats to show for it. Well not show, per se, as I don't want to bother with the camera right now. So you'll just have to take my word for it, but they're GOOD!

It's getting pretty chilly here in New York, too. Temps are now in the 60s for the following week, with nighttime temps even getting as low as the upper 40s here. Sweet! Perfect sleeping weather! I do so love this time of year.

Otherwise, I hope you guys had an awesome weekend. Tell me about it in the comments section, if you please.


Jennifer Hillier said...

Sounds like you had a lovely, muddy weekend, David! Please say you took a picture. :) I would be so miserable covered in mud, but sounds like you made the best of it and even managed to have a good time.

I love Macintosh apples. I can't find them here in Seattle. They have other varieties but Macs are my favorite, so long as they're ripe, Unfortunately Macs seem to have a small window of crispy goodness. I hate it when apples get mealy.

Actually, your whole post makes me nostalgic for the Northeast. There's really no autumn here in the Northwest. Just rain and more rain.

Botanist said...

Isn't it funny how the smallest moments of misjudgment can turn a day completely on its head. Hope you can laugh about it now its all over.

David Batista said...

Jen -- I think I would like Seattle, since I love all the rain you guys get there. But, yeah, nothing beats the northeast for me. And, sorry, no pics. :( I wish I had remembered.

Ian -- Oh yeah! In retrospect, it was actually a great adventure. I don't mind life's learning experiences so long as no harm is done at the end.

Yvonne said...

Your day sounds like a great adventure! (minus the whole mud/car thing of course!) I love red apples myself. Weird thing? I HATE apple pie of any kind! lol I know, I know, told ya, -weird. I agree with Jen, you should have taken pictures! lol My weekend was great! Lots of birthday celebrating went on! :)

getyourselfconnected said...

Makes me think of that car/mud scene in "My Cousin Vinny". Glad it worked out. See you Sunday!

David Batista said...

Yvonne -- Wow, sounds like someone had a blast. :) And . . . HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! (again)

GYSC -- Yup! The Pats are going DOWN! Or, at least, some pints o' Guinness will be. :)

getyourselfconnected said...

David, thanks so much for the NYC help and fun night! You are the man!

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