~Apple Picking and Other Stories~


After the photo (below) was edited.


The same photo, of the apple tree, taken with Kodak Easy Share, before editing.

For this post, I used a Kodak Easy Share Z712 IS camera, I’ve had for a couple of years, as a backup.

My Canon Rebel XTI, is being sent in, for diagnosis of a problem. Hopefully, the camera can be repaired!

Until the Rebel is repaired or a new camera body is purchased, I’ll be using the Kodak.

Quality of photos is a tad different, than with the Canon. The photos of the apple tree, are examples of before and after editing in Picasa, Photofiltre and Photoscape.  Using these programs helps with sharpening and color enhancement, among other things.

All the photos, excepting the apple tree (before) were edited in one or more of the above mentioned programs.

Tip: Save photos at 100% quality or best quality, for clearer photos, when enlarged.


Last Saturday afternoon, we drove to Eckert’s Orchard, Milstadt, Illinois, with oldest daughter and son in law. While J and the kids picked apples, I took photos.

The sky was overcast and there were intermittent showers, but that didn’t dampen our spirits.

J and I came home with a little over 23 pounds of apples. Some were Jonathan and some Honey Crisp.


It was a quiet day at the orchard. Things will liven up, later this month, with games, a maze and other entertainment.

This is my contribution for Outdoor Wednesday.


Every Wednesday is Outdoor Wednesday, at Susan’s.









The following is my contribution for Foodie Friday, this week.


Stop by Michael’s, Designs by Gollum, for delicious dishes, each Friday.


5 or 6 medium russet potatoes peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced

2 leeks, washed, making sure to remove all sand. Peel and cut in half lengthwise, slice each half, lengthwise, then julienne slice.

1/2 cup celery, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped onion

Salt and pepper, to taste

Saute onion, celery and leek in 2 tablespoons butter, until tender.

Add potatoes to soup pot (about 3.5 quart). Cover with water, just to top of vegetables.

Bundle, in cheesecloth, 2 teaspoons dried thyme and one bay leaf. Drop into soup pot, then add other vegetables. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer, cook until potatoes are fork tender.

Just before serving, add heavy cream, milk or half and half and 1 tablespoon butter, heat without boiling. I used a mix of half and half and milk.

Garnish with chopped chive or parsley.


The Potato with Leek soup has nothing to do with Eckert’s. However, it has everything to do with channeling Julia. The foody-ness of the movie continues to follow me!

The recipe, for the soup, is mine. Julia & Julie inspired me to prepare it. The recipe is lots simpler to put together, than the Boef Bourguignon! And tasty, too!

The dessert is directly related to the trip to the orchard.


I made an apple crisp, using Eckert’s mix and Jonathan apples. I added chopped pecans, for something a little extra.



Honey Crisp


We brought these beautiful late summer tomatoes home, from our daughter’s.



Blue siding, on one of the buildings at Eckert’s.

We are going back to the lake, today. Someone was to stain our deck, while we were away. We want to check that and take a couple of days to do some fishing, reading and exploring.



Leigh of Bloggeritaville said...


I have missed coming here. I have had so much going on...but I AM BAAACK! I always love to visit your blog. I can honestly say it is like a vacation for me each time I stop by. It is comfortable and always offers up some great views, meals and advice. Thanks friend!
Come and see me sometime.

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Good Morning Pat,
Thanks for the tips and for sharing your awesome photos! My fave is of that old pickup truck! Dan and I picked apples on Saturday too but at our own home! I made two big pans of apple crisp yesterday using golden raisins. I love all the variations of a good old apple crisp! Have fun at your lovely lake home, wish I was there! Cindy

Barb~Bella Vista said...

Hi Pat, the pictures are lovely!! The soup and apple crisp look out of this world!!

Barb :-)


Your photos are great! I hope the "camera doctors" can fix the problem. I have been working with the editing features but it does take a while to get the correct effects. Someone suggested on a blog that I was reading to turn off the flash and I believe that is a real benefit for me.

Eckert's could use that truck picture in their ads. The reflection in the mirror is fantastic.

Have a great week at The Lake. Some of the foliage was turning when we there over a week ago. Once the change starts, it goes so quickly. I always want to hold on to fall and all it shares. This upcoming season is one of the wonderful parts of retirement.


Rose Mary said...

Beautiful photos, Pat. Hard to believe it is already 'apple picking time'! Have a great week a the lake!

food with style said...

another dazzling post, so much to enjoy!

Marla said...

Your photography is stunning. I love the way you pull life and beauty out of things we see every day, yet never really notice.

Blondie's Journal said...

I love these vibrant outdoor pictures!! Everything looks a little more red because of the subliminal message of APPLE picking!! ;-)

We have about another 3 weeks before the appleas in Michigan are ready for picking and we too, have orchards with so many fun activities. With the children grown and no grandchildren yet, do you think they would allow us to take our dogs on the tractor rides??

Have FUN at the lake! :-)


Glenda/MidSouth said...

Great photos - thanks for sharing your day with us. I use a Kodak Easy Share and have never taken the time to experiment with the different settings. The soup and apple crisp looks so good. Now I am starved. :)

BECKY said...

What a delightful ordchard to visit, Pat! Such a fun thing to do. The potato and leek soup sounds wonderful! I make Southern Living's loaded baked potato soup and it is absolutely scrumptious.

Soups are just so fall...and I am so ready!
Hope your camera repair gets done quickly and that you have a lovely time at the lake!
Love all of your pics! The truck and the siding are so cool!


BECKY said...

Pulllleease forgive my typos!! I do know how to spell orchard!! HA!

Brenda Eason said...

Oh girl the trip to the Orchard is amazing. I love the photos and I bet it was a blast. Do they have fresh cider? I have so been craving some.

Carolyn said...

Love the photos you took at the orchard.Your apple crisp looks delicious too.
enjoy your time at the cottage.


Bonnie said...

Your photos are gorgeous! Love the corn and the zinnias!

Fifi Flowers said...

FAB photos and food... what could be better!

Julie said...

I have not been able to sit and enjoy blogs for a long time...because of my sugery and the meds. I am playing catch up now!

The only better than a great camera - is a great photographer!!

Terri and Bob said...

I loved this post. The photos were amazing. I really liked the one of the Eckert's truck! Potato soup is my all time favorite soup. I have never used leeks in it but I love leeks so I am eager to try it!

What a wonderful time you had!

Brenda said...

Your photos are always delightful, no matter what camera you use. Because you know how to take good pictures! You should teach a class. I haven't made apple crisp in ages. Use to when the kids were younger. That's some good stuff fresh from the oven! You guys enjoy yourselves, get a little reading in and basking in the quiet of the lake.

salmagundi said...

Loved the picture of the flag and farm equipment - that really speaks America and Labor Day to me. There must be a contest to enter that great picture in! Great post, as always. Sally

Stella said...

the photos are beautiful. I especially am taken by the old truck and the blue boards. The potato leek soup sounds yummy for a cool fall day. Thanks for sharing.

Lynn said...

The pics are stunning!
I am going to have to learn to play in the editing dept!

Marsha's Mpressions said...

Hi Pat, so enjoyed this post - the rust on the old truck, the green paint on that old wall, the apple orchard! Just awesome!

nannykim said...

I just want some of them there apples!

jeanne said...

Hello Pat, your edited apple tree just shows how great a photo can look. Good job. All of your photos are a delight. I want to go apple picking. I have used that apple crisp mix before. It is very good. The pecans would be a tasty addition. The soup, delicious!!!

Wishing you and J a fun time at the lake.


Kathleen said...

That was great! The pics were so vibrant...
I see your lion's heads! I love potato leek soup..perfect time to make it here. I buy the 50 lb bags of Chef's potatoes..huge and ugly, but delicious..you can mash them without using milk and they are still creamy!
Can't wait to pick apples...I like the Mutzu....like a Granny Smith..
Thanks for the field trip, enjoy your days of relaxing!

Sandra said...

Hello! What pretty photos. I like the picture of the old truck. The apple crisp looks yummy!

Sue said...

What a nice tour you took me on! Especially loved the photo of the old, rusted truck and the board siding. There's a lot of beauty in such simplicity...
Your food looks so appetizing. Fall soups and fruit desserts... yum.

Ldy ~~ Dy said...

All your photos are just beautiful! Enjoyed all of them! Your leak soup looks totally yums!! I love fall! Your post inspired me to think fall!Hugs!

temp agencies said...

The first two pictures really have big deference after editing it the first one is much greener and more detailed with the colors. It’s amazing how the technologies can do.

seo expert said...

You have very interesting pieces here. I like your concepts on photography. Your photos are very well photographed.

Ekisabeth said...

Pat, thanks for stopping by my Outdoor Wednesday entry.

Oh, oh your DSLR camera is out for repairs? I am so attached to my favorite camera. Am sure I would be lost without it. I hope you get it back. all fixed and ready to go. soon.

You take wonderful photographs. Like your apple orchard and food shots and especially enjoy seeing textures. Thank you for sharing.

Elisabeth said...

Ooops spelled my name wrong...can't believe I did that. Where's my coffee? Here is my name correctly spelled and linked to my blog. Sorry.

Grits414 said...

LOVE the photos!!!

bj said...

Hi, Pat..these photos are amazing. I am so glad you love this hobby..hobbies do our souls good. And...WE get to enjoy the fruits of your labor!! :)
I love a crisp of any kind but especially apple. Looks delicious.
Bill and I are going apple picking sometime this week or next.
Have fun at the lake...

Beverly said...

Pat, I so enjoyed this post. Wonderful photos, warming soup, tempting apple dessert and fresh tomatoes - life is good.

Enjoy your time at the lake.

SmilingSally said...

You covered it all in one big post! I enjoyed seeing the fall pictures since I don't have fall here.

Lynne (lynnesgiftsfromtheheart) said...

Good morning Pat, thanks for the tips on photo enhancing. Hopefully, I'll get some time soon to really work on it. Your photos are always amazing. Thanks for swinging by to see the apple barrel. I'm glad you liked the apples. I believe they might have been purchased at Hobby Lobby or Michaels years ago. They sure brighten up the sunporch. lol Hope things are well your way, we're getting rains once again..
hugs ~lynne~

Terry said...

I love all the great pictures. The apple picking reminds me of when that was a fall ritual. I haven't picked apples in years. I don't even know if there is a pick your own apple place around here. I am going to have to check that out. Thanks for the memories.

grey like snuffie said...

WOW...23 pounds of apples....that's a lot of fun awaiting. Isn't it fun to edit the pictures and make the colors pop...like what I see even if my camera isn't the best to capture the richness of the colors. Loved all your photos.

claudie said...

Hi Pat
The Orchard is a beauty. You know by now that I LOVE RED on the outside. The tractor pic is my fav. The barn color looks very similar to my peaks on the cottage.lol
Oh and on Julie and Julia, I put a Foodie Friday post also with the movie in mind. Julie and I made a Prime Rib dinner... OMG.. the kitchen was wild!! I'm not a cook so it was a challenge.
Happy OW
Love Claudie

Mary said...

What a wonderful post. Your photos are spectacular.

xinex said...

Oh Pat, you post the most beautiful photos! Your apple crisp is mouth watering!....Christine

Kelly B said...

Your photographs are beautiful!! I love the rusty old truck!! Your apples look wonderful and the tomatoes look delicious!! :)

Kitty Valerie said...

The country is so beautiful. Lovely pics. Thanks for sharing. Have a great day,

JLS Hall (Joysweb) said...

Loved all those pix! And the potato-leek soup looks so yummy! I'm always a little afraid of leeks because of all that sand you have to do away with, but I might just have to try that recipe anyway.

Nikki via The Scarlett Rose Garden said...

Incredible shots as always Pat. Boy do I have a hankerin' to go apple picking now! I have never been to Eckerts. Love the tractor pic and that blue siding.

The potato and leek soup looks amazing, will have to try it!

Ebie said...

Hi Pat, this a lovely orchard, the apples look great, and good for home made apple pies! Love the farm tractors their rustic colors! I hope you will get your Camera back soon, although your kodak shots are beautiful!

Ebie's Watery Outdoors

Mary said...

Lovely colorful post Pat.
Yum, one of my favorite soups - I must make some soon.

Sorry about the Rebel XTI - hope they can repair it. Must say though, these pics from the Kodak are awesome too. I've just been gifted with a new camera - Olympus SP-590UZ digital with 26X zoom and 12 mp - I've yet to use it, need to put on my magnifyers just to see the manual! Why do they print these things in such teeny type?

Joyce said...

Hope your camera is fixed soon. These photos are all amazing and I miss apple picking and the dessert looks delicious.

Its So Very Cheri said...

My blog has just been growing like a crazy weed and I haven't been able to get by for as many visits. I miss all my blog friends.
Come for a visit and see both of my new parties for the week. They are up every week and I hope you will participate.

Its So Very Cheri

Pamela said...

lots of stuff in this post.
Hey! Honey crisp is my favorite!

Tammy518 said...

Eckert's looks like such a neat place to visit. The soup and apple crisp look so yummy. I keep hearing about "Julie and Julia." I've got to go see it soon!

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Pat, it doesn't matter what kind of camera you use - your photos are always wonderful. It's your creative eye, not the camera that makes your photos fabulous, and these were no exception. That soup sounds so wonderful. Thanks for sharing it. Have a wonderful time relaxing at the lake. laurie

ellen b. said...

Oh girl...I love each and every photo that you took. Beautiful and beautiful. So much eye candy here and then you add the food....yikes. I'm in heaven...

Scooterblu's Whimsy~Rhonda said...

Hi Pat, Hope nothing is seriously wrong with your camera. Your pictures are wonderful as always, though! Your talent must lie within your skills as a photographer and not the camera alone! You have an amazing eye and perspective! :)

Thanks for the "Welcome back to Blogland!" ...missed you! ~hugs, Rhonda

Linda said...

Beautiful pictures Pat. I love all the orchard pictures and what a wonderful old truck. The apple crisp looks out of this world...too delish. hugs, Linda

sarah said...

morning Pat, I'm drooling at Eckerts, just drooling, love your pics and I'd love some day to get myself to visit one of those places

hope your camera gets repaired


sarah said...

p.s. god your photos are good, I find outdoor shots really tricky

Suzanne said...

Beautiful photos Pat! I always enjoy viewing what you see through your camera lens. Looks like you had a perfect day!

The Decorated House said...

Hello Pat~
Loved the photos! Wishing a speedy recovery to your camera, but it didn't dull your artistic eye one bit not having it.

23 pounds of apples! I think being able to pick apples would be fantastic. Of course I can't do that. But I remind myself every year when I walk outside to get a fresh orange off the tree that we have a great trade-off.

Cote de Texas said...

your pictures are a beautiful as ever - no matter what camera! those apples! amazing!!

SnoWhite said...

beautiful images -- you're making me hungry!

Jane (Frugal Fine Living) said...

I love apples, especially crunching into a one that is freshly picked. Your apple crisp looks and sound delicious!


honeysuckle said...

Your photos are breathtaking. I'd like to do that some day. I had Leek and Potato soup too at my Julia Child party that I posted about today. So good. Love apples made into anything! Have a great weekend!

Mary said...

I'm back again to tell you how much I like your soup recipe. I also love that crisp but am unable to get that mix. Have a wonderful weekend.

Sara's Sweet Surprise said...

It's been sooo long. I'm FINALLY back!
I appreciate the photog info. I'm in the market for a new camera. The one I'm using now is on loan from my hubs and it's preferably a landscape camera for long distant shots is the best bet.
The autumnal colors coming up next month is very camera inviting and of course fall wouldn't be complete without apples along with the recipes too.

I hope you can stop by for a visit...I look forward to the company.

Sweet wishes,

Megan said...

Your pictures are stunning and I long for the cooler days of Fall. I envy your apples. Honey Crisp is my favorite apple and I would love to go to an orchard and pick a big bucket fresh off the tree.

Southern Lady said...

Absolutely beautiful pictures, Pat. I heard that Canon was having some problems with the Rebel not focusing properly, but, so far, mine is working fine.

I love all of your pictures, but the first picture of the apple orchard with the flag and the roses on the fence is my favorite.

I hope you and J have a nice restful weekend.

jason said...

Love your photos. I really like the truck and tractor shots. The colors really jump off my screen!

Catherine Holman said...

What beautiful photos! I love the old truck photos at Ekerts. I need to get back to our local orchard soon because we ate all of our apples!