Apples and Pears and Pears and Apples and …

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Dear friends,

We’ve been living and breathing apples and pears at our house. It started out with the apples. In the morning we canned a batch of applesauce and cleaned up the mess; in the evening, we filled the nine shelves of our Excalibur dehydrator full of yellow delicious apple slices and cleaned up the mess. The following morning we retrieved and bagged the dried apples and started all over again. We are not complaining, but for a while, there didn’t seem to be an end in sight.

Larry ran the apple peeler/slicer/corer. What a nifty timesaving apparatus!

Our golden delicious apples had spots that mostly came off with the peels. My job was to check to make sure, slice through the middle, and add them to the pineapple/water mixture. They made excellent dried apples.

We love our Excalibur nine-drawer dehydrator.

We also canned many pints of applesauce.

It is even exciting to have the leftovers for our compost pile!

Then the pears began to ripen. We had picked them all and brought them home. All 261 of them! We laid them out on our long table and checked each day for ripe ones.

Better than store bought! We grew both Bartlett and Starking Delicious Pears. They are so tasty and we can’t tell the difference by the flavor.

Oh, my goodness! Have you ever tasted dried pears? They are even better than dried apples. We felt like we were popping french fries in our mouths, only these were good for us!

Then the pears began ripening so quickly, we canned them in pint jars.

Two more new “firsts” for us was making apple butter and pear butter. Oh, how the mouthwatering aroma filled our house! We live in an amazing time when you can learn to do most anything on the web, and I found that letting the butter cook down in the slow cooker for about four hours was so much easier than watching it on the stove. In the above photo, notice the two knives holding the lid up to let the moisture out. I would never have thought of that!

Larry is such a good helper, running the peeler/corer/slicer for me and stirring and lifting whenever I tire. (Remember, I had back surgery in June.) Lately, he has started filling the jars while I wipe them clean and put on the flats and rims. I have more and more respect for my mother who did most of her work alone. Larry and I talked about his mom also, and wondered how on earth the women of the past did all their work. I feel sadness for Mom and would like to bring her back and tell her I understand and appreciate how hard she worked. We are so thankful we have each other. Larry is retired, and we enjoy working together. We’ll also be enjoying the “fruit” of our labor all year.