Cider-Makin’ Family Gatherin’



This year for some reason, it was the under-15 group of gathered family and friends that took over the apple-chopping at our friend Joe’s annual event.

Maybe it was the lure of benignly-aggressive work-play with a forbidden sharp instrument that enticed them; or the spritz and smell of crisp chopped apples on a too-warm October day. Maybe it was just to feel a part of the good work of making something as genuine in their lives as fruit juice right before their eyes that they willingly participated with such enthusiasm and joy. How many kids get to experience a day like that, after all?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. You just reminded me of something, Fred, saying that this is an annual event. Did you perhaps blog about this event four years ago? If so, then I think that was the very first post of yours I ever read. As I remember, it was the photo that caught my eye – rich greens and golds and browns that said autummn all over it. And a white house in the background; looked kinda idyllic. Still does…

  2. luckily my son will get to experience this, as the little school he attends makes it the old fashioned way for their annual fundraiser. they get the day off of school, and take shifts stirring it in the kettles all day and night (with parents, of course) :).