Apple pie on thanksgiving

Trip Start Oct 28, 2004
Trip End Aug 08, 2005

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Thursday, November 25, 2004

In the true spirit of Thanksgiving, Molly and I have decided not to feast but rather to harvest. Some people give on Christmas by donating gifts or working in soup kitchens, but how many people really do something on Thanksgiving? Not many so we thought we'd start a trend. We're going to be spending our Thanksgiving picking apples.

That's right. We're migrant workers.

At 6:30 every morning the three of us stand on the corner, bagged lunch in hand, and wait for Rinko and Din to pick us up. We make it to the orchird by 7 am and begin thinning apple trees. And we don't stop til 7pm. Ah, the life...

In the agrilcuture industry "thinning" is an important process that is done about three weeks before the actual harvest of the fruit. In our case, the apples are a bit larger than a cherry. They grow in clumps and it is our job to pick off the apples that crowd one another. As an apple grows and ripens it needs to have its own space to prevent not only brusing but to keep the branch from becoming to heavy.

During our first two days we thinned Gala apples. We miss the days spent in the gala orchard. We were working hourly then. We'd thin a tree and then take a snoka (Indian for break) and then thin another and take a rest. Then I would teach Molly how to juggle while Mike read a book up in a tree. Apple fights broke out through the day and we all have the bruises to prove it. We even thought of playing bocci ball with the apples.

Then yesterday we moved orchirds. And this one means business. There are supervisors, lots of smelly workers, and a contract. $2.50 per tree. And a lot more work. Boy do we have to work fast. We're now picking Braburns (look for them in stores late March 2005)and while the trees are smaller there is a lot more fruit. It's sad that our fun orchard is a thing of the past. We have another week and a half picking for $2.50 a tree. If we each do 40 trees a day we'll clear $100. Everyone else does about 100 trees themselves, if not more. They tell us in broken english, "$200, easy work."

We have made friends with Rinko and Din. They are both from India. Rinko is 23 and Din is probably mid 40s. They are an interesting pair to say the least. Din makes his own whiskey and it should be ready it by next weekend. It's in a big blue vat in his backyard and he says it'll be 97%. He's going to fix us a traditional Indain meal for the big night. He said Molly and I only get one glass and he guesses Mike can only handle 2.

The others that we work with...well they're another story. I dread the ride home because the Indian woman slaps my hand and places it back on my lap each time I brace myself using the seat in front of me around sharp turns. Maybe she thinks I'm trying to touch her son? She's scary and she smells bad.

We're living at the Holiday Park for the next week and a half so we probably won't have many interesting stories between now and then. Hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving. As for us there aren't any turkeys for sale in New Zealand. And the only pumpkin I can find comes in soup form. And the only pies I've found have meat in the middle. I told Molly I would put out a bowl of crutons in place of stuffing but I couldn't find those either. At least we'll be having mashed potatoes.

Miss you all. Eat some for us!

And PS if you have any good apple pie recipes send them our way!
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