Wednesday, September 29

Apple Picking Day 22: Hard-working Hands

My hands have been showing the wear and tear of several weeks of picking.  The scratches, welts and calluses that come from picking thousands of apples a day.  The trees always seem to be able to reach out and find the same cut or banged-up knuckle over and over again.  It is especially bad with apples that spur a lot, where the constant motion of knocking the spur off the apple can wreak havoc on your cuticles.  
After a day of picking Cortlands
Wounds that won't seem to heal
Today we can add to the list of battle wounds, a swollen wrist I got from picking a little too enthusiastically in the first of the Mutsu.   I may have picked the most bushels of any day so far this year, but I also picked myself right out of the orchard and into an Ace bandage.  After applying Arnica and a heat rub, I hope this will be a temporary setback, only a reminder to slow down and listen to my body.  Picking apples can be very hard on your body, especially when you put all you have into it, which I have a tendency to do. 
Tomorrow I expect a reprieve from picking as we are expecting more rain.  Instead I will spend the day under a roof helping press cider.  I hope with a day of rest my wrist will be ready to face the trees when the sun shines again.
Waiting to pick the Empires in Lansing
After about a month of picking we are in the thick of it.  The equinox passed about a week ago and at the orchard it seems we have also reached a point of equality, with many trees already picked bare and a similar number still laden with fruit.  All of the McIntosh and Cortland have been picked and we have put a good dent in the Empires as well as the Jonagolds .  Still ahead lie the Mutsu, sitting there like the promised land, along with Golden and Red Delicious, Ida Reds, Liberty, Fugis and Northern Spy as well as a handful of lesser known varieties.  Last will come Goldrush, in late October or even the first part of November.

Cortland in the early morning

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