For the past few years, my mom and I have made a tradition of traveling all the way to West Virginia for apples during the season. Why? There are plenty of orchards closer! Well, the drive is half the fun! We drive all the way to Martinsburg, and support a very small farm and the owners. They're always so great when we come, and because we bought so much (we buy for a bunch of our friends as well) they even threw in some free preserves and called a few extra bags "even". Plus, they're ridiculously cheap and we don't have to do any picking! They're ready to be bagged. The owner is always so great when we visit, and the kids love seeing the chickens.
After getting our apples, we went to another favorite stop around the corner, Butler's, for our large mum flowers we also purchase every year. However, we must have waited too long this year, as there wasn't a single one left! Sad day... But the kids had fun for the short while we were there! It's always a great day with Nana!
On the way home, we stopped by one of the local farms (isn't the area beautiful?) to let the kids see the cows. And yes, my Mom was totally "mooing" at the cow out the window! We told the cows we planned to eat at Chick-Fil-A, which we did!
I normally go along for the ride each year, but this time around I was ambitious enough to attempt to can homemade applesauce all on my own! My sister in law Chelsey bought me everything I needed to get started a few years ago, and I was so anxious to put my tools to work. I'd helped my sister Jodi can before, but I'd never seen the entire process through or done it on my own. With lots of googling and text messages to both Chelsey and Jodi, I successfully canned my first batch of applesauce!
My haul! It was a long day - from early afternoon until sometime after 7 in the evening, I was canning. I had so much fun, I ended up doing two batches! I made just your basic, run of the mill applesauce, plus some "red hot" sauce. I had been given some for a meal when I was sick, and it was the best applesauce I'd ever had! Unfortunately in my inexperience I assumed Hot Tamales were the same as red hots... I was wrong. Now all of my red hot applesauce has little white capsules of Hot Tamale pills in it, that didn't break down because they're a gelatin. Opps! Lesson learned, but still delicious =)