Boiling Apple Butter

One day a car drove up the lane. A lady from the city got out of the car.

"Good morning," she said.

"Good morning," said Joseph Lee.

"Where is your mother?" she asked.

"I will call her," Joseph Lee said.

Mother came out of the house.

"Good morning," said the lady.

"I have come to buy apple butter."

"I am sorry. We don not have apple butter today," said Mother.

"When can I buy apple butter?" asked Mrs. Smith.

"Next week we will have some," Mother said. "Tomorrow we will boil apple butter."

The lady smiled and drove down the lane.

That day Mother and Mae were very busy. Mae helped Mother to carry many crocks from the attic. They set the crocks on a big table in the washhouse. Mother took very hot water and soap. She washed each crock carefully. Mae wiped the crocks with a dry cloth. Then Mother and Mae turned each crock upside down.

At noon Father said, "I must take the apples to the cider press. We will need a lot of cider to boil apple butter."

Father put four boxes of apples on the truck. He put two empty milk cans on the truck.

"What are the milk cans for?" asked Joseph Lee.

"We will put the cider in them," said Father.

Father drove the truck and Joseph Lee and Mae sat beside him. Away they went down the lane, across the creek and up the hill. Soon they came to the cider press. Father took the apples from the truck. He carried them to the cider press. Then he took the milk cans to the press.

A man poured some apples into the cider press and started the press. Some juice began to run out. The apple juice ran into one milk can.

"More apples," said the man.

Father poured more apples into the press. The sweet apple juice filled one can.

"Put the lid on the can," he said to Joseph Lee.

Joseph Lee put the lid on the can. Soon the last apple was in the press. The man helped Father to put the heavy cans on the truck. Joseph Lee put the empty boxes on the truck.

They went down the hill towards home. Father put the cans in the washhouse. Then he got on the tractor and went to the field. Joseph Lee and Mae ran to the house and went into the kitchen.

"Oh, Grandmother," they said.

There on a chair sat Grandmother. She had a pan of red apples. She cut each apple into four parts. Then she took the core out of a piece and peeled it.

"Are you going to make apple pies, Grandmother?" Mae asked.

"Oh, no," said Grandmother. "We will use these apples for apple butter."

"I thought the cider was for the apple butter," said Joseph Lee.

"We will need the apples too," Grandmother said.

"You children can help too," Mother said.

Joseph Lee took a big pan and washed the apples for Grandmother. Mae kept Grandmother's pan full of apples. In the evening Mother helped to cut apples. Then Father got a pan and a knife and soon he was cutting apples. Three people cutting apples kept Mae and Joseph Lee very busy. Soon they had several pails full of cut apples. Mother covered each pail with a cloth.

"Everything is ready," Father said.

Early next morning Joseph Lee awoke and dressed very quietly. He went down the steps.

Out in the washhouse he found Father. There Father had made a fire under the kettle. The inside of the kettle was pretty. It was the color of a bright new penny. In the kettle was a little cider. Father took a pail. From a can he put cider into the pail. He put pail after pail of cider into the bright kettle.

"Now we must wait until the cider boils," Father said.

Joseph Lee went into the kitchen. Grandmother was mixing pancakes. Mother was putting the dishes on the table. Mae was helping Mother.

Soon Father and Mike, Joseph Lee's older brother, came to the house. After all the family sang a song, Father read the Bible and Grandmother prayed. All sat around the table for breakfast.

Once Mike said, "I think I should put more wood under the kettle." The he put more wood under the kettle.

"The cider will soon boil," he said.

After breakfast all the family went to the washhouse.

"The cider is boiling now," Father said.

The children could hardly see. The washhouse was full of steam.

Father put a pail of apples into the boiling cider. He put another pail and another into the cider.

"Who will stir the apple butter?" Father asked.

"I will," Grandmother said.

Father took a big paddle from a nail on the side of the washhouse. It had a long handle. He put the paddle into the kettle. Grandmother took the handle. She stood far away from the kettle. Back and forth, back and forth and around went the paddle. The children watched Grandmother.

"Why must you stir the apple butter?" asked Joseph Lee.

"Apple butter will burn if someone does not stir it," said Grandmother. "Nobody likes burned apple butter."

"May I stir, Grandmother?" asked Mae.

"Your are too little to do it alone," Grandmother said. "But you may help me." Back and forth, back and forth, and all around the paddle went. Bubbles came to the top.

"I can hardly see," Mae said.

"The wood is smoking," said Grandmother. "Tell Mother to come."

When Mother came into the washhouse, she asked, "Shall I stir now?"

"Yes," said Grandmother.

"I will put more wood on the fire."

She pushed the burning wood far under the kettle. Then she put more wood on the fire.

"Bubble, bubble, bubble," said the apple butter.

"The apple butter might run over the sides," said Mae.

"We will take care of that," said Mother.

She put butter into the kettle.

"Butter will help to keep it from running over," Grandmother said.

All morning Grandmother and Mother stirred the apple butter. They took turns stirring it. At noon Father stirred for one hour. Mike stirred for one hour, too. Still the apple butter was not finished.

After a while Mother said, "Grandmother will you come?"

Grandmother came from the kitchen.

"Look at the apple butter now," said Mother. "Is it ready for the sugar?"

"Almost," Grandmother said. "We will stir it for a little while longer."

Soon Grandmother said, "Now, I think we will put the sugar into the apple butter."

Mother stirred the apple butter. Grandmother took a pail of sugar. While Mother stirred, Grandmother put the sugar into the apple butter.

"Do not put any more wood on the fire," said Grandmother.

"After a while she said, "I think the apple butter is finished."

Mother took a dipper with a very long handle. Grandmother gave her an empty crock. Mother put the hot apple butter into the crock. She filled many crocks with hot apple butter.

She covered the crocks with a big table cloth. She put some apple butter for supper into two dishes.

"Grandmother will have a surprise for us," Mother said. "You children go out and play." The children ran out to the orchard.

While they played Grandmother was busy. Early that morning she had mixed bread dough. Later she put the bread into pans. Now she set them in the hot oven to bake. Mother got some fresh butter from the cellar.

At supper time Father came in.

"Fresh apple butter will taste good," he said.

"But that is not all we have," Mother said.

She set a big plate of Grandmother's bread on the table. Mae put the fresh butter on the table.

"This is a treat," Father said. "Fresh apple butter and Grandmother's bread and Mother's good butter are a fine treat."

After supper Mother cut many pieces of brown paper. She took a ball of string. She lifted the white cloth from the crocks. Over the top of each crock she put one piece of brown paper. She took a string and tied the paper to each crock. Now each crock had a lid of brown paper.

"One big job is finished," said Mother.

"You and Grandmother did a big job today," Father said.

"Don't forget Joseph Lee and Mae. They were a big help," Mother said.

This material was typed in by Dick Sullivan. Thanks a lot, Dick!

From Stories I Like to Read
Second Grade Reading Lessons by Edna K. Wenger
© Christian Light Publications
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