I woke the other morning to the sounds of geese flying overhead. Popping out of bed, I went to the big window over my desk. Sure enough, there was a huge flock of geese, at least a hundred in number, flying across the sky with the Autumn-colored hills in the background. They were headed, I knew, for a field that surrounded the country club greens across from the river. That was their meet-up place where they could rest up, get a bite to eat, and prepare for the next leg of their journey. They had been meeting there every fall for years.
After days and days of summer weather, Fall was back with a slight bite in the air and a whispered invitation for me to come out and play. So, after breakfast, I threw on my jeans, sweatshirt, and sneakers, my official Autumn uniform, and headed out for a walk to one of my favorite places: The Cider Mill
The Cider Mill is a hot spot in our area at this time of year. Tucked in between homes, apartment buildings and the train trestle, stands a big red barn-like structure whose entire purpose involves everything apple: apple cider, apple pie, candy apples, caramel apples, apple jelly, to name just a few. There are other non-apple things as well, like donuts and, of course, just plain apples. If you like apples, this place is like apple heaven!
As I walked through the iron gates that surround the property, I was greeted by rows and rows of pumpkins of all sizes. Along the side of the building were deep bins that held smaller pumpkins, gourds of all different varieties, and at least four or five kinds of squash. Past those bins were more that were filled with every kind of apple you can imagine. Each bin was labeled with the variety of apple and what it was best used for - baking, cooking, eating, cider - whatever your need, they have just the right one for you.
Pushing open the big doors into the building, I was hit with the aroma of baking and cider. You can actually watch them make the cider from beginning to end through big glass windows. Around on the other side you can watch them make the donuts. There are no stale leftovers on the shelves for you to buy. They are made fresh every day, all day, until they are gone.
The front of the store held bins and coolers with all of their apple products plus an assortment of jams and jellies made from local produce, locally made cheeses and all kinds of goodies. There are free samples of whatever kind of cider they are pressing that day as well
I treated myself to a few apples, both Empire and, of course, Cortland (just a few miles up the road is Cortland, New York, home of said apple), a maple donut, a huge freshly made oatmeal raisin cookie, and a single cup of flavored coffee ... maple vanilla nut! I strolled home with my treasures, stopping off only to pick up cat treats so my fur babies, Charlotte and Laura, wouldn't feel left out
Kicking back with my fresh-from-the-oven cookie and a hot cup of the most delicious coffee I've ever had, I felt like a goddess enjoying the nectar of the earth. The sky outside my window was crystal blue, the squirrels next door were scurrying back and forth with chestnuts from the trees out back, and in that moment all was as it should be. You can keep your big houses, big cars, and big bank accounts. At that moment, I was already rich, and blessed to boot. You can't put a price on happy.
And so it is.