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Apple picking is an odd activity.  Here’s a product that’s available in the store 365 days a year at a reasonably low price.  Also, there are none of the following in the produce section of the grocery store:

Worms.

Bees.

Mysterious beetles.

Ticks.

Danger of falling from trees.

Secondly, when it was all said and done, I drove over 60 miles round trip for five pounds of apples.  That is not the behavior of a sane person.  Third, I had to go out into the orchard and find apples that were not worm-eaten, rotten, and within arms-reach of children*.

*My lovely daughter seemed obsessed with risking bones and internal organ damage by trying to pluck 25 cent pieces of fruit from the most inaccessible branches of the trees.  You kind of understand how Eve was tempted by the apple seeing that spectacle.

Who would do this craziness?

Why do we do these things?

Because it’s awesome.  You are foraging for your own fruit.  My daughter climbed trees looking for the perfect fruit, my son creeped under branches looking for good fruit on the interior of the trees.  Good family times.  I’m sure if I had to do it every day, it would be a hellish nightmare, but once a year, it’s a blast to go out and spend a ridiculous amount of time and money to get a bag of apples.

Anyway, here’s pictures of apple orchard fun at Centennial Farms in Augusta.  We picked Mutsu, Jonathan, and Golden Delicious apples.

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Katie climbed into the trees for apples.  I’m really not sure if this was allowed.  However, it did get us some good apples.

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Brendan’s hands overflowed with bounty.

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This picture would be great without my clumsy finger in the corner.  Someday I will master the technology every 13 year old on the planet has done with ease.

When we got home, I tried to make Apple cake.  Let’s just say it was an adventure…therefore I call it “Apple Surprise.”

First of all, I’m no good at peeling apples.  I’m just not good with paring knives.  So, Katie and I used a vegetable peeler, and it worked out ok (Except for the two apples that flew out of our hands and into the garbage can).  We put six peeled apples into the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

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Notice the bits of peel on the apple.  That is an indication that it was late and I needed to get this done and get the kids to bed.

We had also bought a gallon of apple cider at the orchard, so I used a half cup of cider and a half cup of water rather than a cup of water in the bottom of the pan.

I didn’t have cake mix, so I used the Internet to figure out how to make my own cake mix.  It went pretty well.  For your information, here’s how the Internet says to make cake mix:

2 3/4 cup flour

1 3/4 cups super fine sugar (I did not use this)

2 teaspoon baking powder (I used baking soda…did I mention I’m not a baker?)

3/4 tsp salt

I sifted it all together and hoped for the best.

Well, I took my “CAKE MIX FOR DUMMIES”, added a stick of melted butter, a cup of brown sugar, almost a tablespoon of cinnamon and mixed it all up until it was lumpy.  Then I poured it over the apples and cider.

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Notice Katie messing with the cake mix in the background.  She seemed unsure if this plan would work.

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At the last minute, I decided to sprinkle some apple pie spice on top as well.

So this all looked good, and I thought we’d bake it for 50 minutes to see what would happen.  At the last minute, I decided to pour a little more apple cider over the cake mix…that was a good idea.

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Here it is right before it went into the oven…Have I mentioned I’m not a baker?

About 35 minutes into the cooking, I noticed the parts of the cake mix that had apple cider poured on it looked like cake.  The rest of the cake looked like nasty powder.  At this point I said, “Why not?”  Let’s pour apple cider over the whole darn thing.

I cooked it for about 25 more minutes and SHAZAAM!  Apple surprise.  The biggest surprise was that it was fantastic.  I’M A BAKER ON THE EDGE!

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Look at that fresh-picked apple goodness!

Well, now it’s Wednesday, and I still have a rather large amount of apples left.  Obviously, I should eat them raw.  That’s what a healthy person (or one of those paleo dieters) would do, right?  But, let’s just say that I wanted to do something less healthy with the apples…I’d be glad to entertain your suggestions.

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