last night i was researching places to go for some apple picking. as a kid i remembered going to lookout farm in natick, and figured that'd be a good place to return to again. much has changed since i went apple picking as a child though; lookout farm now charges admission to get in, $6 per person, and that doesn't include the actual apple picking, which cost $1.50 per pound of apples. so i looked for an alternative location, and found shelburne farm in stow, which has free admission and charged by the bag load.
the windows of my bedroom continues to be opened throughout the night, despite the cold weather outside. it's the best sleeping condition though, warm under the covers, but cold everywhere else. i could've slept later, where it not for my hyperactive bladder and the fact that i had to wake up at 10am to call the boston celtics ticket office to buy some tickets for the pistons game in november. i'm taking my exchange student to his first NBA game (he's a basketball fan). too bad it has to be the celtics, one of the worst teams in the league (thank you danny ainge). i was put on hold (with an estimated time of 10 minutes) before i realized i could just buy the tickets over the internet. the seats i wanted (which weren't very good to begin with, but they were within our budget) weren't available online however. i went the next higher level up but after reservation and service fees (thank you ticketmaster) the total cost came out to $100. i am not paying $100 to see some craptastic basketball game. so i went with the cheapest seats available (total $45) - i figured unless we shell out serious buckage for real good seats, we're not going to see anything any way, so might as well go there for the ambience more than the actual game play, which will be a lop-sided trouncing by the pistons against the team-that-danny-ruined. maybe i'll make a cool sign so we can get on TV and then tape the game so jawei can take home to his parents and friends and show them how awesome a time we almost had.
i finally went out and checked out the mysterious trippy flower julie had been harping about for a few weeks, said that i had to see it for myself. i went out to davis square and found the said flowers, which turned out to be some lantanas. returning home, i stopped by a garage sale but there wasn't anything worth buying.
around noon i brought jawei to the cafe where we were rendezvousing with my parents and sister. we met my aunt and uncle in arlington before driving out to stow. the weather couldn't have been any nicer, clear blue sky, sunny, with a slight nip in the air (that touch of autumn). it wasn't a surprise to find shelburne farm crowded with families towing children and pets on a nice weekend day. how apple picking works is you pay for either a small bag ($12) or a large bag ($18) then go off into the acres of apple orchards and pick your apples right from the trees. why people don't bring their own secret bags and collect a little more apples is beyond me (i did slip a few apples into the canvas bag i was carrying).
i don't really know my apples, but the four types that were open for picking were mcintosh, cortland, macoun, and empire. mcintosh seemed to be the most sour, cortland were slightly sweeter, and macoun were juicier with a milder flavor. there were a few other kinds that we could see but it's still too early in the season to pick them so they were roped off, with an occasional orchard worker standing guard nearby (the apple bouncer), telling people the area was off limits. i'll be honest, i'm not a big fan of apples. i find them to be hard on the palate, and their tartness turns me off (i'm more of a melons guy). still, there's something fun about picking an apple from a tree, in the same way that popping bubble wrap is fun. and my god! some of these trees were filled with apples, to the point where the branches would bend from the weight of the fruits. these trees were so bountiful that often times you'd find perfectly good apples on the ground, fallen off the branches.
apart from the apples, there wasn't much to offer in terms of other attractions. i remember at lookout farm you could also handpick other produces, but the only other thing you could "pick" at shelburne farm were pumpkins, and it looked like they were already harvested, just left out in the field. there was a pony ride for the kids, and a hayride that takes you around the property. close to the entrance was a store selling apple-related baked goods. since we had already paid for our bags, after we finished picking, we just returned to our cars and drove home.
after we returned to the cafe, i brought jawei back home, where we watched the start of the red sox game against the orioles. when evening came around we left for my parents' place to have dinner (with the score at 2-0 red sox lead). the temperature was 57 degrees, but on the motorcycle doing 30mph it felt like 40 degrees. i was shivering and hoped that jawei wouldn't notice (he was probably slighty warmer since i acted as his wind block). by the time we got to belmont my hands were like ice. only my father and sister were home, but soon afterwards my mother came back with suhan and his girlfriend. we ate dinner with the red sox game playing in the background, the score tied at 2-2. later i watched the game from the living room, not shy to scream out with excitement once the red sox came back and made it 4-2 ("yeah baby!" i shouted, pumping my fists and kicking my legs up in the air). after the red sox victory, jawei and i went back to cambridge. the night air was crisp, my days of riding are numbered. i took him through harvard square as a scenic detour, timing it perfectly so we'd be followed by sirening police cars and fire trucks.