Thursday, October 29

Rainy Days and Honey Crisp Cider

Another rainy day in the bunkhouse.  The rain on the tin roof seems almost therapeutic.  The squirrels made there way into the rafters a few weeks ago, I imagine they will probably stay for the winter.  They love to run back and forth above me, on rainy days like today it seems like we all get a little stir crazy.  Looking outside however, watching the rain fall and the last of the suborn leaves finally let go and fly away, I feel glad to be under this tin roof, the smells of a caramelized onion tart drifting up from the kitchen.

The bunkhouse at Moose Hill

The bunkhouse at Moose Hill Orchards is from what I understand an old barn, probably built sometime in the nineteenth century.  It is called the evaporator, owing to the fact that it used to be used to dry apples before storage.  It has since be renovated to house the picking crew during the fall.  The few brave souls that stay for winter tree pruning make there home in one side of the bunkhouse where they can be close to the barrel stove, the only source of heat in the cold winter months.  The kitchen on the first floor has become the place to socialize as the evenings have gotten colder.  The first floor also houses the room with the barrel stove where pickers often spend time playing the piano or guitar, or just drinking beers and telling stories.  The second floor houses several private rooms along with a library of books; shelves and shelves of them, collected and left by pickers over the years.  The third floor is sleeping quarters for those not wanting to spend their nights in a tent somewhere on the hill behind the bunkhouse.
On rainy days like today pickers can be found all over the bunkhouse, watching one of the many movies that have also seemed to accumulate in the library over the years, carving a pumpkin, or reading a book next to the stove.  Some just take the day to nap.  One can often find someone in the kitchen taking on a special baking project or heating up some leftovers for lunch. 
The desire for  a rainy day is a conflicted desire by this time in the season.  Earlier in the season when the days are long and the picking plentiful, a rainy day comes as a welcome reprieve from a six day work week, a lull in the storm that is the harvest.  By this time in the season however, as conversations turn to where people are headed next and when the last day of picking will actually be, a rain day just means one more day to wait. 

Honey Crisp Apples

They brought up some special cider from the packing house today, made only of Honey Crisp apples.  It was unlike any cider I have ever tried before.  Most cider is dark in color, due mainly to the dark red color skin that many apples have.  The Honey Crisp on the other hand has a much lighter skin and makes a cider almost the color of a white wine. Not as full bodied as most cider I have drank, it almost tastes as though it could be champagne without the bubbles.  On a cold rainy day the thought of mulling this cider and drinking it hot sounds like the perfect afternoon along with a bowl of popcorn and a good book.

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