It's a late October afternoon, the sunlight warm, so I take the apples outside to peel them. I know when they cook down, it won't be a whole lot of apple butter, but it will be good apple butter. And I have a fan club, vying for my apples.
Or more rightly, the apple peels.
As the peels fall from my peeler onto the deck, they are quickly snapped up my several quiet chickens. Magellan sits in front of me, eyeing the apple currently in my hand; she is a connoisseur, only wanting the choicest bits from the juiciest apples, those that are starting to get a bit wrinkly. I note her interest, and save her the bits that only have a small bit of peel on them, usually from a second pass to catch the bits I missed on each apple.
I practice my skill at taking off a peel hole, and then break it up for the waiting chickens.
Soon enough, interest wanes- some do not like apples, some find dusting in the sun preferable. Others have eaten their fill. They go back to their chickenly pursuits until my husband comes out, and off they go, following him to see what new and interesting he has in store today as he walks out around the house.
The lone holdout eventually realizes she's alone, and with a squawk, runs off to follow the flock.
I am left alone to peel the apples in the warm sunlight.
Later, I cut the apples up in the kitchen; a large elf steals a quarter; other quarters are given freely. Even the dog, who hates apples, begs diced pieces off of me, eating them quickly and then looking for more. My smaller stock pot is nearly full.
The cooking begins. The house smells of apples, cinnamon and cloves, perfuming everything til bedtime, and starting again the next morning. Lower and lower the level gets in the pot until - it is done.
10 half pints of October apples to spread on toast and eat in the winter and spring to remind us of a warm fall day.