When faced with a windfall of apples, Marilyn Englander puts a California New Normal spin on the old phrase ‘turning lemons into lemonade’.
When we bought our home years ago, my husband and I inherited the water-guzzling landscaping of previous owners. We replaced the most unsuitable plants, while drought helped us along by killing others. Last winter a big tree crashed down in a windstorm, so this fall I began worrying about our overloaded apple tree. In late October, with a forecast for extreme winds, I called a tree crew for help pruning.
Just as the chainsaws went silent, and the winds were peaking, we were plunged into a Public Safety Power Shut-off. I hauled two overflowing bushels of harvest into a lightless kitchen as night fell.
Here was a windfall of ripe fruit, but we were back to pioneer days, with only candlelight and dim lanterns. Yet with cold settling over the dark house, I knew there was only one solution: marathon baking.
We’re fortunate to have a gas oven, so I set lanterns around the room and got out knives and rolling pin. Chop chop, chop some more. Golden halfmoons heaped into glistening mounds in the pie tins. A light sprinkling of sugar and cinnamon, the top crust pinched in place, I slid pie after pie into the hot oven. Every time I did so, I took a moment to appreciate the radiating heat. The homey aroma of baking pies cheered us too, as we huddled in the only warm room in the house.