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It's that time of the year again, fall is upon us and to me that means mission to continue family traditions while creating good memories.  We started our own tradition about four years ago.  A wonderful lady I used to babysit for had told me a years ago that she was taking her children to pick apples.  Living in the city, we don't really have a lot of local orchards so I had inquired about where and learned all about the farm.  For the next couple of years, apple picking wasn't a priority.  My daughter was born the following summer and taking a newborn, who screamed every time I put her in her car seat, to an orchard 45 minutes away was not high on my list of things to do.  It was a few years later, when my daughter was older, I remembered about what this lady had told me and I wanted to take my children to this orchard.

We picked a weekend when the apples best for cooking would be ready to pick and had invited my mother and father-in-law out to visit.  My mother-in-law brought her canner and the plan was to make applesauce and apple butter.  I had never canned before and needed someone with experience to show me how it's done.  Canning kind of scared me because if it's not done right there is a potential to make yourself and family very sick.

Off to the orchard we went to pick apples.  The kids had a great time, the adults had a great time - it was a lot of fun and it was then that I realized I wanted this to be a family tradition.  For the next few years, we returned to this orchard and during those times the apple prices remained the same - $16 for a half bushel of apples.  I never thought to compare prices anywhere else because I was simply grateful to have an orchard within a reasonable distance that we could visit to pick apples.  After checking the price at the orchard this year, I was surprised to see they were charging $20 for a half bushel of apple.  That seemed like a drastic price increase and as we know I'm on a mission to save money, so I decided to do a little investigating to see if that was what all the orchards were charging. I found most orchards were not posting prices so I decided to email a farm that was a little further out and discovered they were only charging $9.50 per half bushel.  That's over a 50% price difference. Sign me up!
So we continued our tradition of apple picking, only this year we'd try a new orchard.  Worse case scenario, we don't like it right?  I knew this trip would last into lunchtime so I decided to pack a healthy lunch and some drinks so we wouldn't have to eat out.  Off we went, on what was about an hours drive, to the new orchard.  We were so happy when we got there - not only did they have apples to pick, they had a wonderful store front with all kinds of goodies.  I spoke with the cashier and figured out how things worked at the farm.  A few bags were acquired and off we went to the orchard.  The kids had fun picking the apples.  As always, my daughter climbed up on Daddy's shoulders to get the apples that are out of reach.  There was lots of giggling and silliness as always.  Lots of pictures and good times.

After paying for our apples and loading everyone into the van, I asked my husband how far away we were from "Ye Olde Mill" - out came the iphone for a quick search and we discovered it was only a couple of minutes away.  The unexpected surprise changed our course of direction and off we went to Ye Olde Mill.  We were happy to discover all the great things there - a beautiful pond, several picnic shelters, a playground, a few farm animals, and of course the Mill with Velvet ice cream.  We made our way over to the picnic shelter to enjoy the lunch I packed - nutella with banana slices on whole wheat bread, cheez-its, and raisins.  During our lunch I was startled to discover an inch-worm had hitchhiked his way to Ye Old Mill on my shirt.  My son retrieved the little critter from my shirt and both kids admired it as it inched across my son's finger before he pAfter our lunch, we ventured off to get some ice cream - you can't go to the place where the make Velvet ice cream and not get an ice cream cone, it's just not right - and enjoyed the activities at the mill before returning home. 

Our family had a wonderful time apple picking and at Ye Old Mill.  My husband and I decided that this would now be our new family tradition, apple picking at the orchard followed by a picnic and ice cream at the Mill.


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