Saturday, October 09, 2010

Apple Butter Days

Back in 1975 in Marshall MO, a group of families who spent a lot of time together socially and professionally, and who had children close in age, decided it would be fun to make our own apple butter. Raynors owned the huge copper pot and stirring ladle (now replaced by another one because we wore the first one out!), and the tradition began...each family peeled and prepared their own apples, the men started the fire early in the morning, and we all gathered out at a spot on the Raynor's farm called "Stickery Thicket", where we combined food and snacks, roasted hot dogs over the fire for lunch, and eventually canned up the apple butter. The earliest picture of our family was taken in 1976 (the 1975 photo did not copy well!), the one of the 3 of us was in 2005, and Carla and I were there for the last one. In honor of the last year of this tradition, one of the originators, Gretchen, assembled a wall-hanging from squares created by some of the families who helped get this started. We have so many wonderful memories of these annual gatherings..and eating the apple butter (did you ever put warmed apple butter over vanilla ice cream? It is delicious--and the way we always end up the day, serving up gallons of ice cream and ladeling the bottom of the kettle into the bowls. Try it!) The youngsters who helped us stir and who made the apple cider (and drank it all!) are now the able adults in the crowd, and their children are now playing in the tree house and grinding the apple press...and so life goes on. Maybe, just maybe, one of those in the next generation will pick up the tradition one of these years--but we will no longer be the ones responsible for peeling all those apples, stoking the fire, and preparing all those jars and lids for the canning process! Take it away, kids! And thanks to Richard & Carol for this marvelous memory-maker!

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