Honey Pot Hill

Our inaugural New England apple picking trip couldn't have been on a more beautiful day. Mid-October, we chose a 200-acre family farm in the tiny town of Stow, and the drive was so picturesque - the kind where you want to stop the car every other minute to take in the sights. The farm was a little overwhelmingly huge at first, but after a hayride or two we found our way around, and it was nice not to have the orchards super crowded with a ton of other folks.

We went with another couple and each purchased a small bag. The hayride took us to the big hedge maze, but we balked at the price - nearly $20 per person! - and walked the rest of the path to the General Store to check out the goods and grab a bite before heading out to pick apples. The air was fine and clear, an invisible soup of happy smells; damp earth (it'd rained a bit earlier in the day), a fired-up grill, the unmistakable doughy goodness of cider donuts being freshly made, and piping hot cider.

It was, quite frankly, completely magical.

What a hunk.

One thing I've somehow never been told and haven't seen about apple picking are these great big wooden ladders just scattered willy nilly in the orchards! I don't know what's so exciting about picking one up and marching around with it while looking for your perfect apple tree, but it was exciting. They are SO TALL. And potentially unstable! And then you thwack one against a tree branch and scurry up like a squirrel! And then you reach dangerously far because you. need. that. one. apple. (Superstar dance moves are totally optional.)

M was a little more conservative with her ladder approach. You can hardly see it because it's hardly bigger than a footstool, but the one she's on here is metal. Pfft. Still, she got her filthy tomboy mitts on some pretty good ones.

Scuffed up boots and layered looks for a relaxing hayride.

"Do you have any idea where that hay's been?" "I do not, ma'am, quit yer fussin'."

Thinking about one of my grandma's favorite things to scold us kids about when we were little. She loathed us calling out HEY! to one another or heaven forbid, to our parents or even her. (So rude!) "Hey? Hay! Hay is for horses!" Damn right, Grandma!

I think my first apple picking outfit gets an A-! The minus is because the orchards we chose were surprisingly hilly, and flat boots would have been a more stable choice. Overall, it was definitely autumnal with a capital A.

My horse print shirt from Asos with a corduroy Tulle skirt with the cutest buttons down the front, some cozy, cinnamon-colored knee socks under the boots I got from Rock 'N Rose in Portland, OR (the store that hilarious clothes selling bit from Portlandia was shot at), and a super pretty red Free People coat and H&M scarf. The finishing touches were my vintage equestrian leather bag and leather feathered Mariele Ivy necklace.

I have to take a break from FFAF business to acknowledge the ongoing loss and destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy on the Atlantic Seaboard, especially in New York and New Jersey. I've been following things as closely as I can, and am really grateful that my friends there are all safe and accounted for, even if some of them have lost their possessions, can't get home yet, can't get to work yet, or are struggling to help their own families and friends pull through during such an incomprehensibly hard time. My heart goes out to those who have fared much worse. Whether you're in the area or back home in SF, you can find out how to help and/or where to volunteer here or here.

Here at home we're just fine; we lost power for over a day and are working with our home insurance company to have our fence fixed - it's very tall and wide, so it took the wind like an enormous sail and lots of it ended up coming down just from the insane gusts we had. The rain was nothing by the time it got to us, we saw far more water during a handful of unruly summer thunderstorms. We're truly lucky no trees came down on or around our property!

Here's to hoping all you readers are safe and sound tonight, and to a much kinder and gentler November.