This weekend we hosted what we think was our 7th annual Apple Fest. I could tell you all about where we got the apples (shout out to Adam's Apple Orchard, a family-owned orchard just a half-mile from our house), how we pressed, and how we're saving the cider, but what I really want to tell you about is this photo:
This photo is not of us (though you can see my husband loading a pizza into the oven off to the side). This is a photo of a random collection of people who have one thing in common - a connection to us and our homestead. It includes an uncle (from one side of the family), a cousin and cousin-in-law (from another side of the family), 2 second cousins (see them peeking up between their parents?), the mom of our son's friend from daycare (they always help us pick), the dad of our son's friend from preschool (giving lessons on the crusher cause he's come for years), and the son of our daughter's first daycare provider (who jumped in for the first time with no hesitation).
Some of these people have met before, some haven't seen each other since the last cider press, and some we met for the first time today.
If I had panned the camera back and tried to capture the folks who were throwing the ball for the 3 year-old baseball crew, watching the seven-year-olds on the swing set, or sitting in the Adirondack chairs eating pizza, the picture would include: friends from work, old bosses, new employees, neighbors we've finally connected with, friends-of-friends, and kids and parents who have been to this event year after year.
Watching our yard that day felt like watching a village festival unfold, and I'm telling you it made me seriously weepy. A few times I caught myself looking out the window or turning around as I got to the top of the porch steps to just pause and take it all in. This is the point of a homestead, of living closer to the land and sharing a beautiful space with those we know and love.
See that smile on my cousin-in-law's face? That says it all.
My heart is so full today, as we slowly and happily clean up the remains of the apple pulp. We are so lucky to have this group of people and a place to gather them.