One advantage of us doing "forests" this month is that it is also the start of apple season in Julian, located next to our largest local forest: the Cleveland National Forest. Last Thursday, we did an impromptu trip up there to do some apple picking (the first of our many family fall activities). On the drive up, we pointed out all the trees to A, who was amazed at all their different shapes, colors, and sizes. Many of the trees burned in the forest fires of 2003 (I believe) and 2006. They're starting to grow back or gain life again. But it wasn't unusual to see dead burnt trees next to lively sprouts. We showed her the firemarkings in the trees, where the trunks had burnt. It was a really fun drive :)
Once in Julian, we headed up to the apple orchard on Raven Hill. It is a family owned orchard and the owners are also artists. We paid for our bag and headed into the orchards.
A went with us last year but she was way more interested and into it this year, reminding us that we were to only pick the "big ones, with no holes." Baby E got a HUGE kick out of this trip as well. Daddy carried her about in his arms (where was my Beco!?) and let her taste a skinned apple, which she held tightly in her chubby hands and licked.
The girls visited the chickens, listened to the distant horses (who I'm sure would've enjoyed some apple picking of their own), inspected the apples, and tasted the different varieties - gala, fiji, golden delicious, oh my. The owner recommended we see if we liked the taste of the golden delicious apples which weren't quite as ripe. A took this job seriously :) A loved racing up and down the rows of the orchard, and E loved peeking through the leaves to spot all the apples on the branches. After much apple picking, we found a shady spot and the girls sat with daddy to talk and laugh.
After picking our apples, we headed over to Julian. It is an old historic mining town, complete with "Western" looking main street. They have a nut & honey store, many small street cafes, a small grocer, even a pistol shop. It is a great town to visit and just walk around in. There are so many small, independent stores. And they have great pie :) We typically go on the weekends during "Apple Festival" days (which goes on for about a month, it seems), so this was one of our first times going up on an "offseason" day. It was so quiet and relaxed and lovely! We stopped and got our usual pie :) Baby E wasn't so sure about the taste of a boysenberry
Then we headed to the nut & honey store for some small treats of honey sticks, candy sticks, and even butterscotch. It was a great way to end our visit, and, exhausted, everyone napped while I drove home.