Friday we attended another Chifferobe event, "The Perfect Storm", commemorating the dreadful Hurricane of '38.
Saturday, we went apple picking, and got all heritage varieties this time. Here's something interesting: it was the storm in '38 that makes it so difficult to get those apples now, at least in the northeast of the US. Many of the orchards of the time were badly damaged, and those old apples take a while to get established and ripen at many different times during the autumn months.
The farmers did much of their re-stocking with MacIntosh apples. Macs are good for applesauce, and fine for eating right after they've been picked. They don't make very good pies, and they have no very distinctive flavor. But they travel well, and of course ripen at the same time...so, "bang!" went the old strains of apple, at least on a commercial scale.
Since moving back to New England eight years ago, I've been fortunate enough to find great apples in the farmers' markets, and even in some of the local stores. The heritage varieties are my favorites--decidedly NOT one size fits all, and sometimes difficult to find. It's worth the search, though.
RI Greenings (ca. 1650) are a great apple--my favorite. They are the best for baking--in a sweet or savory pie, or crumble, they can't be bettered. They're good out-of-hand, at least right after picking, and though I haven't tried them for it yet, apparently excellent for applesauce.
This year we also found Cox's Orange Pippin, a russet/orange apple with a brownish cast. A famous dessert apple. There were some Winesaps, too, and so far I like them very well.
The marmalade and applesauce making got delayed, though. Yesterday a thin, hungry, injured grey cat came up to our back door. I left food and water, and he dined well. He came back today and asked to be petted. He's badly injured--it looks like a dog attack. The fur and skin are ripped away from his lower back, near the tail, and there is a severe puncture wound in front of that.
I coaxed him to me and took the poor creature to the vet today. He was very good, which is especially impressive, as I had to walk, having no car today. Since he's thin and grey, I'm calling him Shadow.
I hope that he'll recover, and that we can find another home for him, but if not, we'll keep him. At the moment, this makes me extremely unpopular with Fa Sing, my blue point (he's the alpha cat here). If he smells Shadow on me (who is being kept in a separate room), he hisses and spits, and he apparently blames the whole thing on his brother (littermate) Than Chai. He hisses at poor Tommy nonstop, and so Tommy hid most of the day and spit at me when I came to talk to him. He has since come out and curled up with me, but he's keeping a sharp watch out for his brother, and I can't say that I blame him!