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It’s Hard To Pick Apples In An Enchanted Orchard

September 29, 2014

Fall in New England– the most glorious time of year. Here in southern New Hampshire, we’re enjoying warm days, cool nights, and starting to see some color in the trees.

One of my favorite fall activities is picking apples. Another is eating apple crisp and apple pie.

We have a lot orchards in this part of state. You can buy apples ready-picked, or grab a bag and pick your own.

It’s time to bring back Busker, everyone’s favorite street musician. Today he gives his saxophone a rest, and goes in search of apples. Naturally, there are complications…

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Apple walking along, learning magic tricks by reading book called The Art Of Illusion


Busker saxophone playing street musician walking along carrying empty sack passing sign that says Pick Your Own Apples


Busker the street musician with sack looking up at apple tree which has no apples looks like it's been picked clean


Busker street musician walking away looking disgusted, apple peeks out at him from behind apple tree

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apple snaps his fingers and dozens of apples appear on tree, magic spell had made them invisible

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Most area orchards have a shop where you can buy refreshments and local crafts. Some have play areas and farm animals for kids. And some are “event centers,” with outdoor wedding sites and reception halls.

My favorite orchard? Norway Hill in nearby Hancock, NH. They have fresh air, a great view, and a little farm stand where you can buy… apples.

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Norway Hill Orchard in Hancock, New Hampshire where you can buy ready picked apples or go out and pick your own apples

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Have you ever gone apple picking? Ever fallen out of a tree while you were at it??

Do you think apples taste better if you have to work for them?

Do you have any fall rituals you’d care to share? Besides eating candy corn, I mean.

Hope you’ll leave a comment.

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Other Posts You Might Enjoy:


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27 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2014 1:00 PM

    Do you have the word “scrumping” in America? It’s something British kids do when they pinch apples from someone else’s tree. We are actually having to forge new Autumn traditions since moving to America as the things we used to do in Scotland either don’t exist here or not in the same form. Last year we went to pick pumpkins at a farm so I am sure we will do that again plus walks among the Fall colour. My kids are most excited about Halloween, however. Autumn has always been my favourite season.


    • September 30, 2014 10:52 AM

      Scrumping… what a great word! I’d not heard it before– it certainly seems to convey a proper air of mischief! I can remember pinching apples myself as a kid, tho they were always the little green ones that no one but a dumb kid would want… : (

      Yes, it must be a challenge forging new traditions in a strange land. One of those things natives never think about. Well, you can’t go wrong with pumpkins and leaf-peeping and apples and cider. Dress the kids up as scarecrows and put ’em out on the front lawn, and you’ll be all set! Nice to see you, autumn’s always been my favorite season, too. : )


  2. September 29, 2014 8:08 PM

    I’m growing a Granny Smith tree… it hasn’t yet borne fruit.


    • September 30, 2014 10:59 AM

      Hi, Jak! Granny Smith– now why does that make me think of tea cozies and molasses cookies?? I just googled Granny Smith Apple. I never knew it was named for a real person. Good luck with the tree, I know they take time to bear fruit. And if I see Granny Smith, I’ll send her over to water it for you… : )


      • September 30, 2014 11:38 AM

        Hehehe, Mark, my wife decided to nickname it “Grandma Ruby”, if I remember right.


  3. September 29, 2014 10:14 PM

    Sigh, I live out in the prairies. So trees are rarer. Even at the mountain foothills it’s not fruit trees and orchards, at least not in Alberta.

    I like Golden Delicious Apples, that’s my type.

    Let’s see a fall ritual regarding type of food…is buying some nice butternut squash. I make stir fried butternut squash and he makes soup. It’s all lovely. It’s a habit from my mother who found this squash was so cheap to feed her big family. So I’ve carried on with the recipe.

    I freeze what I can….my freezer is gettin’ full of frozen blueberries, blackberries, Saskatoon berries and plums. Harvest is short. I feel like squirrel sometimes, Mark.


    • September 30, 2014 7:26 PM

      Hi, Jean! Hmm… I guess prairies aren’t famous for their trees. Tough spot for a bicyclist looking for some shade… : )

      Golden Delicious– yes, those go down easy. I can never quite get over all the different varieties of apples. Everyone has their favorite, that’s for sure.

      I like butternut squash, but never thought of stir-frying it. Sounds a lot quicker than baking. I like family recipes that get passed along. Nothing quite as satisfying as something you grew up with. Taste buds– they get very nostalgic sometimes… : )

      Your quip about feeling like a squirrel made me laugh. I feel the same way about firewood, only my woodstove eats it, not me. At least not yet… : )


  4. September 29, 2014 11:02 PM

    Apples remind me of home! They are grown in Shimla and upper Himachal and all winter anyone who is coming from there brings a box of apples home. Everyone seems to be nibbling on different varieties of apple all winter, i.e. all but me, and telling you which variety it is and where it comes from. I have never been apple-picking and considering that so many of my friends own apple orchards that is just inexcusable I know! One of these days I will get around to it. 🙂


    • October 1, 2014 7:55 AM

      My dear Malvika! How nice to see you. Thank you for that cheery apple greeting! I had no idea apples were so common in India. Now I know what to bring you when I come for a visit. And, of course, if you decide to make a pie, I’ll be glad to help you eat it… : )

      Yes, you must do some apple picking soon. It’s great exercise, and helps you work up an appetite for pie! Again, delighted to see you, thanks for visiting the Armstrong Orchard! : )

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 1, 2014 7:59 AM

        Sorry to disappoint you, but I have not one sweet tooth, although I am a good baker. So yes, I might make an apple pie but you will have to eat it all up urself 🙂 That alright with you?


        • October 1, 2014 8:25 AM

          Ha!!! Yes, I will steel myself to the task. I shall summon up all my willpower, and eat the whole pie myself. To do less would be ungracious. No, no, I insist. I don’t mind making the occasional sacrifice… : )

          Not one sweet tooth?? I have several. Perhaps I got yours by mistake. Dear me, life can be very unfair sometimes. Well, we must carry on, my charming Malvika!! : )

          Liked by 1 person

  5. September 30, 2014 4:56 AM

    What an ingenious invention! Diet food! Ten times better than low carb or low fat. Food which runs away before it can be eaten! I’m sure this innovation will make you rich 😉

    But money is so profane…. phu… and your drawings make me always smile which is invaluable!


    • October 1, 2014 8:16 AM

      My dear Tutti! Your witty comment made me laugh so hard, I dropped my basket of apples! Now I’ll have to grab my little net and go chasing after them. I don’t mind picking apples, but picking them up is a bother… : )

      Food that runs away before it can be eaten– the ultimate diet food!! Ha! I’m such a brilliant guy, sometimes I don’t even realize when I’ve had another stroke of genius!! Yes, soon I’ll be rich, but you’re right, money is profane, so I’ll have to get rid of it. I know– I’ll open a sausage stand and give free bratwurst sandwiches to all starving artists!! Yes, I think that’s the perfect solution… : )

      Thank you for your delightful comment which made me smile– and that is invaluable!! : )

      Liked by 1 person

  6. September 30, 2014 6:33 PM

    LOL. I love the hiding apples! Great illustration! You just gave me a great idea….apple picking!!!! I’ll have to find a place. Autumn is the best season eeeeeever! 😀


    • October 1, 2014 8:36 AM

      Ha! Thank you, Christine! Yes, you must get out and pick some apples– it would be the perfect fall outing for a nature lover and nature painter like yourself. I know you’ll insist on painting the apples first, but you’ll have to work fast– gotta make sure nobody grabs the apples before you’ve had a chance to pick ’em yourself!!

      Autumn’s my favorite season, too– wish it lasted longer! I shall look forward to seeing lots of apple, pumpkin, and cornstalk sketches on your blog!! : )


  7. October 3, 2014 10:48 AM

    Hahaha very tricky… Busker missed those apples up there… Better that he should go to Lemon R Us Cafe… It’s Donuts picking seasons all year round! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing Norway Hill Orchard stand photo… like I already got the feeling to experience the fresh air and the great view plus the smell of freshly baked donuts… ah… uhmm… apples by the way … 🙂

    Have a great weekend dear! mmmwahhh


    • October 7, 2014 9:36 AM

      Yow! Donut picking at the Lemons R Us Café– that has to be The Ultimate Joy!! No, wait– I guess eating them is The Ultimate Joy… but picking them is a close second!! How many places have their own Donut Trees where customers can pick their own?? Let’s face it– the Lemons R Us Café is unique, as is its vivacious owner– you, my dear Dolly!!

      Your line about standing in the Norway Hill Orchard and smelling freshly baked donuts made me roar with laughter!! They must have been apple cider donuts. They’re a seasonal treat here in New Hampshire– at least they are for me!!

      Thank you for bringing your usual breath of fresh air (and donuts) to the Armstrong Apple Pickers Club!! : )

      Liked by 1 person

      • October 7, 2014 10:01 AM

        Hmmmm Armstrong Apple Pickers Club!
        It’s my honor to always find time for me to hang out in here… I love the freshness of air laughter around and the smell of freshly baked apple cider donuts that tickles all my senses to smile from ear to ear… Who wouldn’t like to have that kind of treat?

        It’s always a pleasure to know what you are up to… hehehe 🙂
        I always enjoy my visit though… mmmwahhh


        • October 7, 2014 3:33 PM

          This comment filled me with such happiness, I climbed to the top a donut tree and gave the cry of the Wild Sugar-Bomb Bird: “Double-fudge! Double-fudge! Double-fudge!!” : )

          Liked by 1 person

  8. October 3, 2014 8:43 PM

    I actually have my own apple tree, but sadly, the possums and bats get to eat them all 😦

    Very cute apple illustrations Mark 🙂


    • October 7, 2014 9:41 AM

      Possums? Bats?? Who invited them?? I’d suggest at least putting out a jar, with a little sign saying “Pay Here, You Ingrates!” Hmm. On second thought, forget it– they’d probably eat the sign and throw apple cores in the jar… : (

      Always a pleasure, Jen, many thanks for your kind comment! : )


  9. October 3, 2014 9:43 PM

    On the 66 acres my folks owned, I remember picking applies. We might have bought a bagful or two as well. Apple cider, apple pie, apple anything … you name it. I loved this time of year.

    Busker, you must share. 😉 Beautiful illustrations of what makes me happy, Mark. 😉


    • October 7, 2014 9:47 AM

      Whoa!– 66 acres?? Sounds delightfully bucolic. No wonder you had all that energy as a reporter– it was all that fresh air and good apple nutrition when you were a kid! I gotta agree, Judy– apples make everything better. Well, with the possible exception of Utica Club beer… : )

      Always a delight, amigo, many thanks for your kind comment! : )

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Lily permalink
    October 4, 2014 6:36 AM

    Ohh those pesky little apples! Haha! 🙂

    My favourite thing to do in Autumn is to run through crunchy leaves – because who doesn’t love that satisfying crunch sound they make? 🙂 I also really love Autumnal colours. The red and oranges looks warm even though the weather itself can be a little cold! 🙂


    • October 7, 2014 9:58 AM

      Yes!!– the sound of crunchy leaves!! Why is it that kicking leaves brings such joy?? Why it’s even fun finding a couple stuck to your socks when you get home… : )

      Fall foliage– another simple joy. Funny how you hardly notice trees in summer, but can stand spellbound by them in the fall. I hadn’t really thought about the “warmness” of reds and oranges. Very true. Most of the trees outside my house turn bright yellow. Cosy, but not the same as red and orange– you have to wear an extra sweater… : )

      Great to see you, Lily, thanks for the autumnal cheer!! : )


  11. October 4, 2014 9:09 PM

    Apple picking and pumpkin carving are traditions in our family. Absolutely love this time of year! Miss having little ones for hay rides and corn mazes.


    • October 7, 2014 3:44 PM

      Hi, Michele! A warm welcome to you, thanks very much for visiting my orchard– er, blog… : )

      Yes, where would we be without apples and pumpkins at this wonderful time of year? I should mention mums, too. Nothing I enjoy seeing more than pumpkins and mums sitting on porch steps on a sunny October afternoon… : )

      Been awhile since I went on a hay ride– I’m ready! Does it go thru the cemetery after dark? Er… pick me up on your way back… : )

      Nice to meet you, thanks so much for stopping by! : )


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