Monday, October 19, 2009

Family traditions

There are certain things that have become tradition in our household.... a benchmark, if you will, for each season. I didn't necessarily set out to establish this rhythm when we had children, but it has emerged over time. Traditions in families make a whole lot of sense to me now that I'm a parent. They provide structure and consistency for children in the most fluid and time-honored way. They also fill our year with a sense of connection as a family, and there is always a certain excitement about anticipating each seasonal event. I cherish the traditions we had as a child, and find great joy in weaving new ones into the fabric of my young family now.

One of our fall traditions, like so many other Western North Carolina families, is to go to a local orchard and pick apples. I have several years of pictures now, documenting each event. I looked back through each year and was shocked to see how much our children have grown and changed (and how much they looked alike at the age of 3!)

And of course, once we got our apples home, we had to make our requisite apple pie. This little blue gem came with the house, if you can believe it. It was up on a dusty shelf in the pantry. Both kids had a ball cranking and we wished we had more apples. My guess is, now that we've found this, we'll be getting a whole bunch more apples in the coming weeks. Applesauce is next on the list.

(A random aside... the leaf my little guy gave me as a gift. He's shifted from picking flowers for me, to finding the prettiest leaf and bringing it in.)
And of course, I had to take a picture of the finished product. I will tell you that there was plenty of cursing during the making of this crust. I decided to try all whole wheat; it was a different animal... a very ornery one. I finally got the consistency right (much to my surprise) and it was pronounced "yummy scrummy." I'm not an intuitive cook, so I felt it was surely headed for the compost. Whew. It was a close one.

This is the book we read every year as part of our tradition. It's terrific for the 2-6 yr range. What I love about this book, is not only it's illustrations, but the story itself. A brother and sister share their understanding of the seasons by telling how their apple tree changes. The tree is depicted as if it is a part of the family, and the ultimate end surprise is an apple pie made from it's apples in the fall. The book even includes a description of pollination by honey bees at the end. Gotta love that! (Fall, Leaves, Fall by Zoe Hall is also great!)

One more of our favorites, though we didn't have it this weekend to read. A wonderful book, as well!

So... here's to traditions in families and the changing of the seasons. I wouldn't have felt like I had truly recognized autumn until I wrote a post about apples. What are some of your family's tradition around fall? I'm always curious what different families find special and would love to hear. Have a wonderful week...


Cheryl Arkison said...

There are no orchards around us, but we've been going to the corn maze every fall. We haven't had much of a fall this year and we've missed it. Hoping to get out before Halloween.

Dana said...

Family traditions are the stuff memories are made of. I love yours. And you lucked out with the apple peeler!!

Jen said...

Found your blog through SouleMama. I love the apple peeler, and what a happy find! I have wanted one for ages, and will have to remember to drop a hint for Christmas.

We move around frequently (U.S. and overseas), but when we are in the States, we head to the pumpkin patches. We found an awesome corn maze last year and added that to the new traditions list. At the very least (even overseas), we have always carved pumpkins and roasted the seeds. Small, but adds that touch of home when far away.