September is almost over. The trees are turning brilliant colours of gold and red, and the first signs of winter are already in the cooler air. Students are back in school, including my own college age daughters. They are well into first semester and busy with assignments and upcoming practicum plans. I have been back at school substitute teaching. One activity we have yet to do this fall, though, is go on a family apple picking trip.
When the kids were little, we attached red paper apples to the September calendar, on our kitchen wall. As a Mom, I liked to construct each month around a theme, and apples was the theme for September. We created apple trees, with paper, glue and crayons, made apple sauce (easy for kids), apple cake and other apple treats. We cut apples open to look at the seeds. Our biggest fall adventure, though, was our annual trip to an apple orchard. There was something magical about walking through the quiet orchards, feeling the sun stream down through the trees, and hand picking the best apples to put in our bags. We would go home laden with treasure and the children munching on an apple or two, as we drove.
No monthly theme was complete without a book. Our favourite, for apple month, was an engaging story called Apple Pigs by Ruth Orbach. An old apple tree appears to have outlived its usefulness. It is sad and unproductive, with no sign of apples. The general consensus is to “chop it down.” However, a young heroine decides that she cares enough about the tree to give it one last chance. She carts away the debris, plants flowers and generally gives the tree the love and encouragement it needs. In return, the tree blossoms once more and provides a superabundance of apples! Now there is a new problem. What will the heroine and her family do with so many apples? There are delightfully coloured pictures showing the apples stacked up in every conceivable place, including the beds and bathtub. Finally, a solution is found, which pleases all, and paves the way for the tree to bloom again the next year. At the end of the book, are directions showing howAppl to make “apple pigs,” one of the projects to use up the apples.
Unfortunately, this book is out of print but if you can ever lay your hands on a copy, it will be well worth the effort. Children will enjoy it for years and want to recite it to their own children in turn.
Enjoy the rest of September, with its lingering echo of summer days. What are some of your favourite September or fall experiences?
Ruth Ann Adams