Clark Hollow Ramblings: The smell of fall

Last week Linda and I were out doing some chores in anticipation of having to stay inside on Thursday, as the weather man was calling for rain all day. The week before we had taken our grandson down to Lee’s Orchards so he could help pick a few apples off the trees. With most of those, we made applesauce. Seems everybody likes applesauce.

So, after our chores were done, I slipped down to Williams Orchards and picked up a bushel of beautiful golden delicious apples. We figured a rainy day could be used for peeling and cooking, but it wasn’t applesauce we were after this time. I separated the apples and took the ones that weren’t quite so ripe and put them with a few of my favorite yorks to keep for later in the year. The riper ones we started peeling a little after daylight.

We had three different cookings going at the same time. Two were in crock pots, and the third was in the oven. My bride wasn’t sure which recipe she had used last year to make the apple butter that had turned out so delicious, so we used three different ones. While they were cooking, I went out to the shed and retrieved the hock half of an old ham that had been getting some extra age on it since last winter.

It was pretty cool that morning, so while the old ham was soaking, I fired up the wood stove to knock the chill off the air. I also derived a bit of sinister pleasure by knowing I was roasting a few thousand stink bugs that had taken refuge in the chimney.

Quick story: The previous day, which was also cool, I was on the roof cleaning the chimney. Linda was doing something in the house and decided she was chilly. I had just finished the second swabbing of the flue with the brush, when it sounded like something erupted at the bottom of the flue, and ash and soot and smoke came belching out of the flue. Never again will I clean the chimney without first turning off the emergency switch to the furnace. That’s right: She turned the furnace on while I had my head stuck down the chimney. Live and learn.

Now, back to our rainy day activities, what I wanted to convey to you was how good the house smelled with all that spicy apple butter cooking, the old ham boiling away on the kitchen stove, and the wood stove popping and cracking and adding warmth to the house. 

Now, all I need is a big kettle of dried limas and maybe a pumpkin pie. That should be a real treat for the olfactory senses and enough to make this old man start sharpening a few knives and making sure the deer rifle is ready to go. I hope you enjoy this beautiful time of year.

Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 133 Articles

Richard Brady was born and raised within sight of Rappahannock Peak, as was his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, etc. He graduated from George Mason University and was employed for 35 years with various agencies of the federal government. He retired in 2001, and he and his wife, Linda, live in Flint Hill, Va.