Apple Butter 2008

This past weekend my family gathered to celebrate the time honored tradition of apple butter. Each year my great-grandmother’s family, The Hollingers gather for a reunion of sorts. A weekend full of camping, making apple butter and generally enjoying both the out doors and the company of family members seen mostly on a yearly basis.

This year I was lucky enough to jive apple butter weekend with a few of my vacation days to extend an already long weekend. After stopping to hookup mom’s new pop-up trailer, I arrived mid-day on Thursday, to find cousins and uncles already hard at work preparing for the upcoming weekend. Trees were fell, logs were split and wood was stacked. My son, Dallas was able manage to con his mom out of a day of school and arrived in time to enjoy the Thursday night activities.

It was a beautiful weekend all the way around. Mid 70’s and low 80’s dipping into the 50’s overnight kept us all very comfortable around the campfires. Thursday night I slept in a new tent but was less than thrilled. So the weather being what it was I ditched my tent for the rest of the weekend and slept in my bedroll on the dock by the pond under a beautiful blanket of stars with the Milky Way poured out above my head.

Friday was beautiful Bailey, Kyler and Dallas’ girlfriend Katie all arrived, we shot trap, sighted guns, cut and split more wood, and prepared food for the Friday night folks. Bill Hime, and his friend Brian spitted 6 rabbits which were cooked over an open wood pit fire in our new chicken box, as we all sat around the campfires sharing stories and spirits. Saturday morning the fires were lit at 4:30am and through the course of the day the apple butter was prepared and dispensed to all the family members who had streamed in on Saturday morning. As night fell we cleaned up our mess and headed back to the campfires to celebrate another successful batch of apple butter.

Sunday is for cleanup and wishing you might have turned in a bit earlier the night before or at least had the forethought to bring some aspirin. My kids and the other campers began packing up and by noon most were ready or had already departed. My cousins Bill, Mark and I sat around the fire enjoying a fine autum sunset. Bill was staying a few extra days so I decided to keep him company for another night under the stars. Monday morning was greeted with a dew covered sleeping bag and a sore back. A couple cups of cowboy camp coffee, a bit more clean up and I was ready to hook up moms trailer for the trip back to her place. All in all a wonderful weekend in the great outdoors near Ansonia, Ohio. I’m already looking forward to our Feb 7th and 8th as we’ll be heading back to McKnight’s farm for our winter campout and woodcutting event.

Photos from 2008

Additional photos from previous years can be found at

Also I will be happy to receive any photos from this or previous year’s apple butter’s. Please send all photos to


2 thoughts on “Apple Butter 2008

  1. Beautiful post! That sounds like quite an experience. I love the feeling of staying up late watching the stars and talking with family and listening to the fire crackle.

    But what about the apple butter? Is it hard to make? How much do you make? Is it sweet?

  2. The Apple butter is hard to make, we use 2 huge copper kettles. The fires are started early (4:30 am) 50 gallons of cider is cooked down until most of the water has cooked out, then after the 18 bushel of apples are pealed, cored and cut up they are added to the two kettles where they are slowly stirred in by hand over the next 8 hours by everyone in attendance. Other misc flavors are added and whala rich delicious apply apple butter. All fresh and warm.

    I believe this year we ended up with just over 48 gallons all tolled. Everyone gets a gallon for just under $10. The apple butter is very sweet and wonderful on everything from toast to ice cream. My personal favorite being cottage cheese. My mom uses any left over apple butter to make a BBQ sauce that is out of this world.

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