It's fall and it's apple-licious!

We had a fall extravaganza last weekend with Billi and Brendan! We intended to go hiking with them in the Olympic peninsula and spending a day or so in Seattle, but it ended up that we did neither, and instead went to the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge where we saw our first barn owls! We also went to Oysterfest in Shelton, WA where they live (I ate my first oyster shooters, and no one told me I wasn't supposed to chew them up, although I probably should have understood that from their names. They were gross.) The best part, though, was that we also got to hand-make apple cider with Billi's best friend. Fall is my favorite season, and I've been a little disappointed at the lack of true fall colors out here. Whether it's because of the much larger number of evergreens, or whether the wet climate keeps even the leaves on the deciduous trees green until they die, there just isn't much "fall" in the air. But this weekend, I got my fall fix by doing such a quintessential activity, but one that was all new to us!

First things first...we shook the apples down from the trees!

Once the apples are picked, they have to be washed to get all the insects and dirt off before grinding them in the cider press.

Kelly churns the cider press to create fresh juice from the chopped apples.

Fresh cider pours from the press!

Billi strains the raw cider through cheesecloth to get out all the extra solids. The cider will then need to be boiled to make it safe for drinking and canning the extra for later.

Yum! Fresh, hot apple cider!


Ready, Aim...

We spent this weekend with our friends Billi and Brendan in Olympia, WA. A river borders their property, so they built a campsite on along the river's bank. It's pretty amazing. We slept there our first night, then spent a lazy day doing some hiking and birding in the area. On Sunday, Kelly and I got our first tastes of archery. They have a target set up in their back yard and we got to try both their recurved and compound bows. It was great fun, and although I still have a lot to learn, I did actually hit the target a few times!

Is it Kelly. . . or Legolas?

If you click on this picture to blow it up, you can see the arrow right through the deer's heart! Kelly hit the bullseye!

Okay, so my technique isn't the best yet, but hey! I'm having fun!