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November 13, 2004: Sticky sweet

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Due to some mix-ups in the schedule, we didn't get to Apple Hill last weekend like we'd hoped. However, we ended up with one more free Saturday, so we went today instead.

It's a yearly tradition to go to Apple Hill. When my sisters and I were kids, and our family still lived in Roseville, we would all pile into the car at least once or twice each winter and go to Apple Hill. If we didn't make it during the autumn, we would still get there in early December, to cut down our Christmas tree. The house we lived in had a 13-foot cathedral ceiling in the living room, and most tree lots don't sell trees quite that tall. So we'd head up to Apple Hill, find a tree farm, and cut down the biggest, cheapest tree we could find. Since taller trees tend to be more expensive, we would usually end up with the cheapest kind –the one that gave you welts on your skin if you touched it with your bare hands. All throughout college it was a tradition for the boyfriends to come with us, so all the men could flex their muscles and kill the fatted tree (or something). And then we'd bring it back home and put it up – a procedure which usually involved at least two ladders and at least one person on the top of the tallest ladder swearing as he nailed the top of the tree to the beam that ran across the ceiling.

Now that we're all further away, and more importantly, now that we have a Christmas tree farm within minutes of our house, there's no such need to go up to Apple Hill to find a Christmas tree. Instead, we go up there mainly for the food.

There are two main places to stop and get food when you are in Apple Hill. The first is High Hill ranch, where they make the most marvelous caramel apples. We always go there first and go directly for the sweet stuff before we do anything else. Once the caramel apple is consumed and we're sufficiently coated in sticky goo, we next move on to check out all the apple-related goodies and all the crafts. In nicer weather there are usually lots of kids and their parents fishing around the big pond down the hill, but today it was a bit too chilly, and perhaps too late in the season, for any of that. Instead we meandered around the craft tables and then swung by the fudge place (which was not very exciting at all) and finally got back in our cars and continued on to our next food destination.

Kids Inc. is the second important stop along the route. There they make the best apple pies – huge monster pies full of up to 5 pounds of apples. I think one of their regular pies could feed a small army. Since I'd promised to bring back something for my office we picked up two of the smaller pies (one for my office, one for Richard's), and settled on little single-serving (ha!) pies for ourselves. Even those are huge – I think next year we've decided we'd be better off just splitting one, since I don't think either of us managed to get through even half of our own pie.

There were more little craft booths to wander through, and we made a few more stops at a few more places. But after the caramel apples and the donuts (did I forget to mention the most amazing apple donuts?) and the pie we were so full we could barely move. So instead we drove around the little roads between all the farms and admired the fall foliage and the pretty trees and eventually made our way back home to take a food-coma induced nap.

I was supposed to go down to my almost-twin's house this evening for a girls' only party, but by the time we got home we were both exhausted. Richard's been sniffly and stuffed up and I've been feeling draggy, so I called and reluctantly backed out of going, and instead we drove off to pick up a few more shelves for those bookshelves we got last weekend, and then went home and took long and lazy naps and are looking forward to spending the rest of the day in blissful laziness and not eating any more apples or apple-related foods for at least a few days.

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