apples, apples, apples

Last week we rang in the fall season with a family trip on a big special day, Jonah's birthday. It was a lovely, cooler-than-average-for-Georgia kind of day, perfect for spending outdoors. We headed up north where there are heaps of orchards and pumpkin patches to explore. Our choice was B.J. Reece Orchards, mostly because they had apple-picking open during the weekdays. It's a pretty popular place (especially on weekends) and we LOVED that it was so empty during a weekday. It made the whole experience of picking apples even more pleasant because there weren't any crowds to fight. We were able to take our time and take in the full experience as a family. The boys had a blast picking apples, running down the lanes in the orchard and generally being out in the beautiful sunshine and clean north-Georgia air. Not to mention all the apples you can "sample" as you go. I am not sure we have a photo where Aleksandr isn't munching an apple! 

We ended up picking half a bushel, then headed into the shop to see what other yummy things they had for sale (donuts, cider, and bags upon bags of apples). We were not disappointed with our choice of a dozen apple cider donuts, and ANOTHER half bushel of apples. So that gave us a grand total of one full bushel of apples. In other words that's around 50 lbs. of apples! Why so many? We were going to head out with our half bushel when I noticed they had a "seconds" section. Apples that had been picked but were old, or had been bruised. They were half price, and after looking at a bag (it was clear so we could see the apples), we saw only a couple in it that seemed to be "gently used". 

I have to say that I have been having fun seeing how far these apples will go, and Jonah is having fun keeping a tab on how many different items we can create. Yes, he even has a list to check off. Our tally at this point (a week later): apple chips, applesauce, apple crisp, apple butter, apple hand pies, baked apples, apple muffins, apple juice, and apple filling for pies. 

I have a little less than half a bushel left and we have some of these apple items in the freezer, so I'd say we are whittling away at it successfully! I really have enjoyed the apple peeling dates with Jonah! 

After the orchard we headed up to Amicalola Falls State Park. Jonah and I have been there way back when, on our first anniversary, so it was special to get to head back with our boys. It was the first time they'd seen a real live waterfall, and it is such a beautiful one too. A day filled with outdoor adventure made it a very special birthday celebration!