Every year my family gets together with the neighbors and we make applesauce together. Applesauce Day is a big production around these parts. Tom and Lukey were the first to arrive Saturday morning for the big day. Tommy said that he didn't want to eat breakfast that morning because he just wanted to eat applesauce. Strangely enough, Tom is the one who doesn't look very excited.
The kitchen is the center of cutting and cooking. The apples are sliced and put into big pots on the stove. The steam from the water at the bottom of the pot softens the apples and readies them for crushing.
After cutting and softening, the steaming hot apples make their way to the garage amid shouts of "HOT! HOT! Coming through!" The side of the table that Dad is working on is the crushing station and the other end is where the applesauce is bagged.
Lukey is out of focus in this photo because he wasn't supposed to be in this photo. He hijacked my picture.
The night before Applesauce Day, the men went to the local orchard to pick up the apples. It takes a lot of apples to feed two families for an entire year. Just so you know, we don't always keep computers in the garage, but we had someone important we needed to video chat with.
Esther called in from overseas for the occasion. Having these two families together can be very chaotic (which we love) and we didn't want Esther to miss out on the chaos. I'm sure she got her fill. They made sure to share the chaos via Skype.
I guess I should have explained this part first, because this is where the process really begins. We send the kids out to the garage with baskets for collecting apples. Because there are so many different kinds, the kids are instructed to pick from each bag until the basket is full. Then the basket is sent to the kitchen for cutting. Cam even helped out a little this year.
He may have picked a few apples, but this is where he spent his time. All he said that morning was "tractor, tractor." He's pretty bossy when it comes to the tractor. I'm surprised he even let Leia sit on it. Maybe he was fine with it because, as Leia says, "Cameron is her bff."
Cranking and crushing is definitely my favorite part of the process. This little contraption is so amazing. You start by dumping the apples into the top white bin (which Leis named the toilet), smoosh them down as you turn the crank, and watch the applesauce slide out. The apples are peeled and all gross stuff is removed on it's way down the drain. I think Kelly enjoys playing the role of the tyrant on this day. Don't worry Em, I've got your back.
Bowls and bowls of applesauce make their way to the next station - cooling and bagging. We add a little sugar and then wait for the applesauce to cool before bagging. See that contraption to the right of the green bowl? My dad made that specifically for bagging. The nails hold the bag in place and the funnel ensures that we don't get applesauce all over the bag.
Mom is in charge of bagging and the kids are in charge of writing. They number each bag and then doodle all over it. It's mostly gibberish, but this is definitely the job they argue over the most.
Everyone had a job on Applesauce Day, but I'm proud to say that I did not. I mostly had the camera in my hand and took photos instead of actually being put to work. Charlie also has no job. She wanders around the house trying to find a place to sit, only to find that she can get no peace. If only you could see her when the day starts to wind down to the end. She can barely hold her head up.
Applesauce Day is a big deal around here. It's so wonderful to spend time with close family. I remember making applesauce when I was little and it's really fun to keep the tradition going.
Plus, there's nothing like the excitement of completing that first bag of applesauce.