Anyone, besides me, watch that show "Pickers?" It's about these two guys who drive around in a van, using leads their female assistant rounds up for them of people who might possibly have lots of stuff -or what a whole lot of us would probably call simply "junk" laying around, packaged up in a few (very few) cases but quite often, have it piled sky-high in barns, sheds, garages, or just about any place they can find to stash things!
These two guys are always on the lookout for old items, hopefully though they are still within the realm of being repaired, polished up and resold then to collectors of all kinds of stuff. I'm not what you'd call addicted to this program but I do enjoy watching it from time to time.
My daughter, Mandy, is a bit of a "picker" in her own right though. However, she generally relegates her activities to finding good yard sales, shopping till she's ready to drop at times too at places like Goodwill Stores or the Salvation Army sites and she really likes a consignment shop over in State College that deals mainly in children's clothes that are "gently used." And yes, she has found some really spectacular bargains shopping at thes places too for the kids -as well as for herself at times too!
One choice example is a winter coat she found when Maya was only about 2 years old and even though that coat was at least 2 sizes to big at the time she bought it, it was such a fantastic bargain and so darned cute too, that Mandy just couldn't pass it up. That coat was sort of a "coat of many colors" type thing -a winter coat (not a jacket, but a full coat) and it was made by the great Swedish company "Hannah Andersson" -who puts out a fantastic line of clothing for children as well as for adults too! I don't remember offhand right now where Mandy found this particular coat -Kid-to-Kid (consignment store) or the Goodwill Store but anyway, she got it for a mere $3.00 and that is really one terrific deal for a coat of that brand name and a nice, heavy, warm winter coat too boot!
She also does a good bit of shopping and bidding from time to time on good old Ebay and lately, she's been posting a lot of the clothes the kids have now outgrown on Ebay and getting some decent prices for stuff that she basically, in most cases, paid virtually pennies for the stuff herself.
Well, this week though, I found out that Mandy (along with Ken) turned out to be pickers of a different sort though.
One day about a week or two back, I had commented to them about these apple trees down along the dirt road as you head towards Peale -the old ghost town about a mile or two down the road from our place. There are three apple trees along that road, shortly after where the pavement ends, and one of these is along the driveway to the little mobile home a retired guy lives in at the end of the paved road. Anyway, I had remarked to them that those three trees are just absolutely loaded with apples and they are ripening now too. The ground around these trees is really littered heavily too with apples that have fallen from the trees as well.
I had no idea by saying that to them it would inspire them the way it did though!
Late last week, one evening, they took Sammy for his later-in-the-day walk and took with them a big pail -probably is about a 5 gallon size at least -and by the first tree there, along old Bill's driveway, they picked apples till they filled this container to the gills and then brought it home and plunked it down in the middle of my kitchen floor with a request for some homemade apple pie, maybe?
I don't mind peeling a few apples mind you, but one look at that container filled to the top with all those apples, I must confess sort of had me cringing there!
To top it all off, they did that when I was already loaded to the gills with other work -like trying to get everything all wrapped up and ready to send off to the publisher in order to get our order for our cookbook sent in before our deadline!
Let's face it folks, at that point in time, the last thing I had time to do then was start trying to peel and make use of that many apples!
But this week, I did finally dip into the bucket and start working on whittling the apple supply in my kitchen down a bit!
Sunday night, I peeled a good many of 'em, cut them up into smallish pieces and tossed them into a kettle, along with a little white sugar, some brown sugar and a dabble of honey -just for the heck of it -and then, added a tiny bit of water and set it too cooking away! They cooked up pretty nicely and I ended up with a good sized Tupperware container then full of homemade applesauce -which Mandy and both kids (and me too) all liked very much.
Tuesday, I got the old peeler out again and started in on my apple supply and this time, after peeling almost 2 dozen apples, I then decided the time was right to make up a batch of pie crust and we'd then have a nice treat for dessert of homemade apple pie.
My crust turned out great -nice and flaky and the apples cooked up very well too. The only problem with the pies though is that I forgot a really important commodity to add in with the apples -some white sugar! The apple filling is definitely quite tart! Actually, that's a bit of an understatement but it only really gets with the first taste of the apples and after that, your tastebuds sort of acclimate to the tartness and the cinnamon and a few other spices kicks in then and it tastes pretty darned good. (Really great with some yummy Vanilla Bean ice cream on top of it because the ice cream really offsets the tartness very nicely!)
I still have not quite half of the container Mandy and Ken had filled with apples left for me to cook up and get them out of the kitchen completely. But I don't think I need to worry about running out of some good apples to make pies and applesauce with because the apples on those three trees still have a whole slew more just waiting to be picked!
Just look at all those beautiful apples there -just waiting for someone -like Mandy and Ken -to come along and pluck those babies! The really nice thing -and quite surprising too -is that in all the apples I have peeled so far, I have not encountered a single worm! Ken and I both thought that was really amazing considering the fact these trees are not cared for in any way and certainly haven't seen even an ounce of spray to control the bugs and worms!
And all of 'em -free for the picking too!