I remarked to Dad the other day that the lawns are still so nice and green. Usually at this time of the year we are beginning to see brown spots, or with persistent hot weather entire lawns begin to go brown.

This year that is not the case. The rains seem to come often enough that the grass has stayed hydrated and a lush green. Of course, that lushness also means the grass seems to grow faster as do the weeds. I guess there has to be a little pain (that of pulling weeds or having to mow the lawn again) with all the beauty that also abounds.

Everything looks healthy and has for most of the summer. Several times Dad has mentioned as we’ve traveled along country roads that the trees seem to be so full of leaves this year. This, of course, is a marked difference from the years we endured the “gypsy moths” and their destruction of many trees across the region. During that time it seemed that we’d never see the end of them as each year we’d see the weblike substance amongst tree branches appear once again.

The past several years they have been absent and this year it looks like the forest has rebounded with a bang.

Now I’m hoping that we will once again be treated to beautiful fall colors as the leaves begin to turn. I’ve noticed as I travel on Interstate 80 between Falls Creek and Brookville that the sumac trees are already sprouting their fall colors. If we don’t have a rainy fall, maybe the hills will be ablaze with bright shades of red, yellow and orange. What a beautiful sight that is and one I look forward to each year.

Thinking of those beautiful falls in years past, also makes me want to head to the orchard for apples. If they are anything like the apples on our flowering crab tree, there will be an abundance of them this year.

Apples, pumpkins, sunny days with low humidity ... I can’t wait for fall to arrive.

In anticipation of an abundant crop of apples this year, I’m sharing the apple pie recipe I found a long time ago in a Yankee Magazine that has proven to be the best I’ve ever used.

APPLE PIE

Makes 10-inch pie (8 servings)

2 lb. Cortland apples (or your favorite)

1 lb. McIntosh apples

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Pie crust (homemade or boughten)

Tapioca flour or cornstarch

1 large egg, well beaten

1 tbsp. sugar

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Peel, core and slice apples, place in bowl.

In separate bowl, mix 3/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.

Roll out pie dough into 12- to 13-inch circle to fit a 10-inch pie pan.

Place a flat 1-inch layer of apples on bottom of pie, sprinkle with layer of sugar mixture. (I usually add a little tapioca flour or cornstarch as well to make sure the pie filling will not be runny since I freeze the pies without baking them. I usually place a little cornstarch or tapioca flour down on the bottom of the crust before placing the first layer of apples.)

Repeat until all the apples and sugar have been used. (As I’m making several pies at the same time, I just keep layering until I’ve heaped the apples into a fairly large mound.)

Roll out more pie dough to make top crust and cover apples. Trim excess dough from pie pan edges, leaving about a 1 inch overhang. Tuck the edges of the top crust under the bottom crust and crimp. (I usually don’t tuck my dough. I do it as my Mom did and trim the excess at the edge of the pie pan and then crimp the edges together around the pie.)

Brush egg over surface of pie and sprinkle with sugar. (I usually skip this step as I believe the pie is sweet enough without the added sugar)

Cut slits in top of pie crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake 20 minutes then lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake 20 minutes longer or until the pie is golden brown.

If freezing the pie, don’t bake it. Wrap the pie in freezer paper and aluminum foil and place in the freezer. When you want to use it do not thaw pie before baking. Place rack on lowest level of oven to bake when baking frozen pie. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and bake for 20 minutes then lower the temperature to 375 and bake for another 20 minutes. If crust begins to get too brown around the edges you can cover the rim of the pie with aluminum foil to protect it from burning.

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