I am by turns touched, enlightened, inspired and amused by your wonderful responses to my posts. I do read every one but I don’t always have time to reply as I would like. As I am no longer posting on the weekends, I thought it would be a good idea to take Saturday morning and reply to all of them at once. It will require less brain power than coming up with a new idea but still let me be connected.

The solar charger for the bee enclosure gave out two days ago. This was the second one to fail in a year and, as they are dreadfully expensive, we were not happy. As this is prime time for bear problems, we had to get it repaired or replaced. Bruce went to the manufacturer’s web site and found someone who repaired them in Vermont, only about a 45 minute drive from our place. We could have mailed it there but we had no idea how long we would wait for it to be returned nor how reliable the repairman was so we decided to drive it there ourselves and get a feel for the work quality before committing.

As we are now in the habit of doing, we traveled with a couple of big sacks, my small saw and our apple picker. The day was lovely. It was a bit overcast, damp and cold, but the foliage is just peaking in Vermont and we took a windy back road the whole way. What can I say. We hit pay dirt. We weren’t on the road for 20 minutes when we found an enormous flush of oyster mushrooms, They were huge and really fresh. It took about a minute to harvest a full sack, probably ten pounds, of great shrooms. We were able to find the house we were looking for without one wrong turn. The place was amazing! The guy had a small orchard, bees, a wonderful workshop and a windmill. We had obviously found a kindred spirit. In fact, if I had not insisted we go for a ride so the gentleman could take a look at the chargers Bruce would still be there talking. We went into town to get some lunch and on the way found a fabulous row of apple trees. They were right on the side of the road on state land. We were able to harvest a couple of sacks. I read recently that millions of pounds of apples go unharvested every year and I believe it. We find ignored trees all of the time. I have not bought and apple in years. The ones I get are not perfect but they make great sauce, wine, cider and dried apple bits. They are often older varieties with amazing, complex flavors. The apple we got were a sweet variety. With the tart ones we got last weekend, we should get delicious cider.

We had a very nice lunch at a local diner. I love those little restaurants with names like Miss Flo’s and Dot’s. The soup is home-made and the pies topped with real whipped cream. We always leave a good tip as we know that nobody there is getting rich.

We headed back to check on the status of the solar charger, fully expecting that we would be facing a hefty bill. We found this fellow had repaired both chargers, discovered that one was still under warranty, outlined what we were doing that caused the system to fail and charged us….$9.00! What a day! We met an honest, competent tradesman, harvested many pounds of fabulous food, feasted on wholesome food, had our spirits lifted by the beautiful colors and spent time together without the interruption fo chores or telephone. Perfect!

While the apples will be fine in the root cellar, the shrooms had to be processed. I thought about canning them but went with freezing as it was late when I got to it. I have a bunch dried already so I went with freezing. The process is really easy. I fried the mushrooms up in some butter and tamari and bagged them up in one pound packages. I ended up with seven pounds. Quite a haul.

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