Fall is by far my favorite season of the year. The cooler air is a refreshing transition from the summer heat and the trees gradually transform into a spectrum of rich colors as they swirl in spirals when taking flight from their branches. My body was made for Fall. In the 50-70 degree weather, I feel like I can run faster and farther than a superhero, racing the sun before it sets. Looking back at my personal records, the best races I’ve ever run have been in chilly weather.
The season bears fruit to a progressing series of traditions that welcome nostalgia, comfort, and love. I love donning scarves and hats on an outdoor outing with the crisp crackle of leaves under each step. The kitchen warms up with bubbling stews and fresh-baked cookies while we chop and mix ingredients while humming a tune. Derek and I relish in the annual tradition of apple picking from a local orchard and carving a pumpkin. It just wouldn’t feel like Fall without it.
This year we visited a new orchard called Radke Orchards https://www.radkeorchards.com in Michigan City, Indiana. We seemed to hit the sweet spot for low crowds on a Sunday afternoon within an hour before they closed. I skipped along the rows of trees with my apple picking tool in hand while Derek read off the names of every kind of apple available. I assumed the role of official apple taste-tester for sweetness and tartness while Derek reached the lofty apples from the top. We collected an apple buffet of each strand that was ready to pick including Cameo, Cortland, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, Honey Crisp, Ida Red, Jonagold, and Macintosh.
At the end of our apple adventure we had purchased fifteen apples for five dollars with the intention of baking a homemade pie. Unfortunately, we seemed to lose track of which apples are best for baking after consulting our parents for a family recipe and had to make a quick grocery stop for a few more Granny Smith, Fuji, and Jonagold apples since our apple buffet from the orchard was all mixed up together without labels.
The making of my apple pie from scratch was a lengthy process of preparing the dough, cooking the apples, and baking the final creation. I settled on a Jamie Oliver “Amazing Apple Pie” cookbook recipe from the library for the pie of 2020. Every year, I make an apple pie and Derek rates it’s final outcome compared to the pie from the previous year. Apparently, I aced the apples but my crust was a little too thick. I reminded him that 2019’s pie was made with a Pillsbury Doughboy crust and that this was my first homemade crust, but the critic still wouldn’t budge on his feedback!
Throughout the week, our plump pumpkin awaited its fate while we brainstormed possible designs. In honor of our obsession with the Marvel Avengers superhero films, we chose Groot from “Guardians of the Galaxy” as our pumpkin theme. Derek found an image of baby Groot and I drew the design onto the pumpkin in sharpie. We scooped the pumpkin guts while Sprout looked on in puzzled curiosity. Derek and I took turns passing the pumpkin to carve out the pieces from smallest to largest. This may have been our most successful pumpkin carving to date.
“I am Groot.”
As one season turns into the next, it’s important to keep stock of the good and appreciate the positive moments that we have together in the unique time and place that we live in. I can control my outlook, experiences, and quality time with my friends and family. In a world of uncertainty, I cherish these memories that we choose to carve into our lives as I take each step forward in a whirlwind of leaves revolving around me.
New Buffalo High School Homecoming Spirit Week