A long, long time ago,
I can still remember how those apple trees used to make me smile.
And I knew if I had my chance, that I could make some apple jam (or pies, cakes and more !)
And maybe they’d be happy for a while . . .
Because those poor trees had been so lonely for so long.
I can’t remember if I cried when I read about the history that lived inside . . .
That cabin you see in front of your eyes.
That’s when something touched me deep inside.
The day I vowed to keep the history alive.
I learned a young coal mining family once lived here.
THIS was their homestead.
They planted apple, plum and cherry trees. They planted red currant bushes and grapes.
These are the bounties of their earth that I am now so proud to call mine. But not really mine you see — these trees will forever belong to them. I merely borrow.
And to honor the family that once worked so hard here, I cook with their precious fruits to create delicious meals where hubby, B and I enjoy them.
In their honor.
Also in their honor, I keep their trees and bushes happy. Because if you know a thing or two about gardening, when you strike up casual conversations with your growing beauties, you are vastly rewarded in the end.
It’s very true.
Don’t believe me?
Well, I have 20 pounds of apples to prove it.
These apples are glorious I tell you. Absolutely glorious — but don’t ask me what variety they are because I am completely clueless. All I know are the plain facts here: They are crisp and super crunchy. They taste sweet with an almost rose perfume note. They also bake up like a Granny Smith apple which I am sure if you’ve ever baked an apple pie before you know that is the “go to” apple, well, most of the time anyways.
So just recently, in honor of the coal mining family that once lived here, I share with you my Coal Miners Skillet Apple Pie recipe at the end of my post. Cast iron skillet not necessary, but oh — I don’t know, I tend to think goodies whipped up in one of these beautiful heavy skillets always seem to taste better.
And speaking of pie– I have come to realize that birthday pie is just as equally (if not better) than birthday cake! But don’t stone me now cake lovers — it’s just something about homemade, good old American pie that gets me every time.
Just look at the nice birthday surprise my boys greeted me with over the summer! This is literally the sight I saw when I drove onto the coal miner’s homestead.
“Honey, where would you like to go on your birthday?” Hubby asks me . . .
This was my answer:
and this . . .
“Mommy? Can we go back to the Airstream for more birthday pie?” B asks . . .
And now? I walk these trails behind my house and reminisce about this past summer. Not only this past summer – but all the past summers from a long time ago. Ever since we started glamping on our coal miners homestead.
I think about the apple harvests and everything I made in my silver kitchen. I think about sleeping under the stars snug as a bug in a rug in my Airstream bed — each morning I wake up I am greeted with a view of the coal miner’s cabin which immediately takes my mind to the family that lived there.
I think about how I can keep the memories — the spirit of the experiences to the homestead alive as we are no longer there. At least not until next spring when the snowmelt begins and the tiny little buds start to appear on branches of all sorts. I think of the apple trees and how they are bare with no leaves (don’t worry, I gave them a nice warm apple tree hugging before saying goodbye — and I will be back every so often to check in on them, they know it – because I told them so and they listen after all).
I think of all of these things when walking through the forest behind my home . . .
And then one day it dawns on me.
I will create.
I will create lasting memories.
Hand me down treasures.
I share with you a piece I made from copper and sterling silver.
This piece goes to my girl — my darling daughter (what?! daughter?! Yes I say — she is 23 years old, exactly 20 years younger than me!).
It is her birthday and I hope she will cherish them.
I call this series:
// Lasting Legacies //
From the apple trees to their precious leaves and blossoms — to the river that swiftly flows just beyond our property. To all the fish I caught and released and to the beauty of the surroundings that I let myself become one with. I am inspired to create pieces reflective of these experiences, observations and journeys.
If you would ever like to have a gander at what I am creating – you can have a peek at my Etsy shop.
The shelves are empty right now — but that is because I am busy creating.
Dreaming . . . reminiscing and taking those thoughts and turning them into beautiful heirloom pieces. All influenced by our silver travels.
I am working hard on them with my bare hands, open mind and careful eye.
I’ve discovered a new passion that parallels my photography and writer-ship here on J5MM and it all comes together full circle.
So please do stay tuned. I’m hoping to have a few pieces up in time to order to for the holidays and I’ll be sure to keep you updated here on J5MM.
Oh! And before I forget (most important information here) just LOOK at this handsome little devil I came across upon a turn in the forest on one of my walks! I snatched him up and and I tried to put him in my pocket to take home. But he was just a tad too big. But good news! He happily followed me home with the cutest little bouncy trot. How lucky am I ? !! :)
Thank you for being here :)
~ Monica xoxo
Coal Miners Skillet Apple Pie
- 4lb Baking Apples (Seeded and unpeeled (or peeled your preference))
- 1 3/4 cup Brown Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped candied ginger
- 1 tablespoon Flour
- 1/2 cup Butter
- 1 Egg White
- Turbinado Sugar (for sprinkling over the edges of your curst)
- 1 package Puff Pastry
- pinch of salt
|Preheat oven to 350º
|Peel (or not) apples, and cut into 1/4-inch-thick wedges. In a large bowl, toss apples with the cinnamon, brown sugar, ginger, flour and pinch of salt.
|Flour your counter and roll out the puff pastry to 1/2 original thickness. Press the pastry into the and work it up the sides of your skillet. The pastry is rectangular so you may need to do a little cutting and replacing . . . it's not supposed to look perfect here -- but taste delicious.
|Fill your skillet with the apple mixture and dot the top with butter. Wrap the edges of the puff pastry over the sides of your mixture. If you wish -- place the second (rolled out) pastry and cover the top. Pierce the top with a knife to let steam escape.
|Egg white wash with a pastry brush the edges (or the top) of your pie and sprinkle turbinado sugar for extra crunch -- the amount is to your liking.
|Bake for 35 minutes keeping an eye on it after that. All RV ovens are different. I highly recommend a temperature gauge to place in your oven.
You're looking for a golden brown pie that is nice and bubbly :)
|Let cool and serve warm with ice cream !