Thursday, December 12, 2019

Northern Spy

Sometimes when I tell people about the rural community of Western New York where I live, they get this strange look in their eyes that says “Really? How could anyone willingly live there?” Yes, 150 inches of snow every winter—and that’s on the lake plain, a stretch along the southern shore of Lake Erie that runs from one to three miles deep. The folks who live just up the escarpment from us, get about 220 to 240 inches. Today, I dug my car out, and cleared the snow and ice off the back porch and back stairs so my three Maltese dogs could get out into the big back yard again. They ran and ran and ran, leaving little pawprints in the snow and were very happy to come back into the house and settle down in front of a radiator.

Even if you don’t like frolicking in the snow, there are advantages to this rural lifestyle. People along the lake plain grow grapes, berries, apples, even a few hardy souls manage peaches. And today, in my little village in the middle of nowhere, I stopped at the local pie shop one of two local bakeries--(the local cake shop, is also well worth a stop)-- and brought home a fresh-baked apple crumb pie, made from Northern Spy apples grown along the lake plain about ten miles west of here. Northern Spies are a very late season, large and stout apple with carmine red skin married with streaks of yellow and pale green. Their creamy yellow flesh has just the right bite of tartness to offset the sweet, juicy, cidery taste. They make a fantastic pie. Just the right firmness, and a knock-your-socks-off flavor that lets you know this is a real apple in a real pie.

I’m on the tail end of a ten-day-long cough/chest cold that everyone seems to be getting this year. It laid me low. I couldn’t write, could barely think, blew my nose until it bled, coughed until my ribs hurt. Started to feel like a human being again yesterday.

The Northern Spy pie was dinner. Half of it anyway. My three Maltese dogs got their fair share of the apple crumb crust.

I’ll get back to writing tomorrow.