Monday we headed up to New Mexico with our Girl Scout troop to pick apples at an orchard. Sam and I have passed this particular one many times on the way to the corn maze and pumpkin patch, but we never knew we could stop there. We pulled up to a small, ranch style home surrounded by huge trees and green fields – something we don’t see much of in El Paso. It was just gorgeous.
After waiting a few minutes for the rest of the troop to arrive, Bella and I got out and gathered our bags, spraying ourselves down with bug spray.
Spoiler alert: it didn’t work.
She was eyeing up a group of girls next to her and suddenly said, “Mama, I need my water bottle.”
I nodded and pointed to my bag. “I’ve got it.”
“No,” she shook her head, “I need it. To hold.”
Not sure what she wanted to hold her heavy water bottle for, I handed it to her, seeing her eyes fixed on the girls. Suddenly I realized that each of them were also holding a water bottle.
And my heart ached just a little – that she was already at this stage. That she cared. And noticing as she stood next to them how big she is getting.
On a side note – she held that water bottle about 3 minutes and handed it back to me to carry. 😉
In the orchard, all of us had a tour of the trees and were told the three different kinds of apples they grew, the bugs that ate them, how long it took to produce fruit (5-8 years!). The owner let us pick our own bushels.
You can see the t-shirts the older girls dyed for all of us with our troop number! Bella flitted between me and her friends, wanting to stay close and then wanting a bit of independence. She chatted with them about her lizards (one real and the rest stuffed), Charlie, her cats. I know a few of the moms from other things, and a few know me from my blog. That is always so crazy to me.
The apples were amazing; we picked 10lbs worth to bring home for applesauce and pies. We had a look at their pecan trees – those things are giant! Then the owner read the girls a story and we had a picnic in her backyard.
I paid for the apples, loaded them into my bag. We started for home and Bella passed out in the back. Once we got home, we peeled about 5lbs of apples, cooked them down with spices, and pureed them into applesauce.
That night she started complaining about mosquito bites. It was then I realized just how many had bitten us – dozens. We had bites everywhere – faces, necks, hands, arms, feet, legs – I’ve never had this many in my life. Bella seems to almost have a reaction to them, also she tends to itch them until each bite is the size of a silver dollar. We had to make a run to Target for Calamine lotion (brings back memories of my childhood) and After Bite.
Today we are discovering even more. Sam told me yesterday, “You have so many bites it makes me itch.” It was worth it – maybe not if we get West Nile or something. But if we don’t – totally worth it. 🙂