It's the first day of fall and instead of leaves falling from the trees, we've got buckets of rain falling from the skies! The humidity and upper eighty-degree temps this week finally gave way late last night and it's been raining ever since. Waters are high by my hometown, which means they soon will be here, too. Flood levels are predicted to be the second highest in history in Cedar Falls this weekend, and memories of that historic 2008 summer have been front and center on my mind all morning. Praying everyone stays safe and takes extra precautions this time around, too.
Last weekend, we spent Sunday taking part in one of my favorite adventures of fall. I packed a picnic basket with cheese and bread, popped a couple of movies in the car DVDs, and we headed south to what might be my favorite hidden gem in all of our state. The day's weather was near perfect and being that the Bears were set to play the Monday night game, we had the whole day to take our time and pick more apples than I would know what to do with.
This was our third year traveling to Wilson's for apples and I've come to adore so much about this place over the years. The rolling hills and weeping willows, the trolley rides through the creek that always make the kids squeal and the parents nervous, the ample supply of apple baskets, and the rows upon rows of apple varieties I've never even heard of, all at perfect reach for hungry nibblers. We started our day with a blanket spread out on the hill, amidst families, couples, groups of sorority sisters with selfie sticks and flannel tied around their waists, and a "Where the Wild Things Are" first birthday party complete with one cute canvas teepee. We sipped our favorite apple slushies and devoured a half dozen cider donuts in minutes, before sharing grilled cheeses from Marcos' food truck parked outside. Then, with baskets in hand, we skipped the trolley and trekked down the hill ourselves in search of our favorite fruit.
We decided on a mix of Honeycrisp and Snow Sweet, and meandered up and down the rows with the honeybees as we searched for the perfect ones. Beau and I did most of the picking this time around, in large part because the kids had an apple between their teeth most of the afternoon. I very much love this snapshot of youth each year - the kids quiet and content, plopping in the grass or aimlessly wandering from row to row, crunching away with sticky fingers and carefree hearts. After filling our baskets to the brim, we heard the sounds of the trolley nearing and hopped on for a ride back to the shop.
We ended our afternoon with fresh apple turnovers and (yes) more donuts for the kids. Sun-drenched and sleepy, we made our way back home, thankful for special traditions and the seasons and people that accompany them.
Now, what do I do with these apples?!