Fall Brings Jar Flies and Apple Butter

Fall brings sights, sounds and smells to my community in West Virginia. There are jar flies at night and on weekends they are cooking apple butter at the church.

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I heard jar flies tonight.

I finished my two-mile walk around Tara Estates and when I topped the hill on the way back to my house, which borders on the woods, I heard jar flies – they were drumming and chirping.

Fall is not far away.  Jar flies signal a beginning and an end in this rural country:

The evening air is cool enough for football games.

This is the time of the year when Saturdays are set aside for making a run of apple butter at the church.  It takes all day or two days – one day to peel and cut the apples and the next day to boil and stir the apples to a saucy state in a copper kettle over an open fire.

Sugar and cinnamon are added last. A sweet, cinnamony-apple smell is carried into the church through the air and on shoes and bare feet and aprons.  On Sunday the sanctuary will be filled with the wonderful smell of apple butter making heaven a little sweeter and hell a little more distant.

The sweet corn will soon be gone and women are busy canning half-runner beans which are strung and snapped into small pieces so they fit in the pint and quart Mason canning jars.

Yellow tomatoes and red Mortgage Lifters are laid out on porches, on railings and on steps leading to the backdoor.  Some are squashed beneath bare feet as kids run through the gardens.  Tomato relish and spicy red juice will decorate the pantries in the country kitchens this winter. 

Mixed wild flowers, purple and periwinkle blue, bright yellow and copperish colored marigolds replace the summer annuals.  Russett potatoes and Irish potatoes will soon be uncovered from the potato hills and laid out neatly in long furrows for the dirt to dry to be brushed away before storing in the coffee sacks for winter food.

Fall is not far away.

I heard jar flies tonight.

 

 

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