We changed our clocks over the weekend, which meant that Sunday was my favorite day of the year – a 25 hour day, perfect for getting things done. On Saturday, we had taken Ali to the airport to go to Istanbul. On the way down to the main road, we ran into our neighbor Osman, standing in the middle of the road with a calf that was lying by his side. They had been coming down from yayla, and the calf got tired and refused to budge. Everyone is heading down now, as it gets colder up in the mountains.
We had been the happy recipients of many generous offerings of fruit from our neighbors, mostly in the shape of grapes and pomegranates. I had been squeezing the pomegranates for juice (a cinch if you have one of those one-armed-bandit orange presses), but they are so huge that it was a bit cumbersome. In a recent phone conversation with my mother, I mentioned that I was squeezing all those pomegranates, and she got upset that I was not making pomegranate syrup, nar ekşisi, which she loves.
So on Sunday morning, Baki and I got to work. I cut the pomegranates in half and whacked them with the back of a wooden spoon to get the seeds out. Baki’s job was to squeeze the juice, and we discovered that the food mill does a great job of this, so he cranked away.
At the same time, I decided it was time to deal with all those grapes, too. So I got them all into our miraculous steam juicer. One liter of juice went into a bottle for Ali to drink when he gets back, and the rest I will cook for pekmez. I have become obsessed with tahin and pekmez for breakfast. You just mix them up into a paste and it is the most delicious thing. So all that work left us with two pots of juice to cook down.
Later, we went to Sundance, so Baki could ride his bike. The chain was all floppy, and the training wheels were wiggly, so Baki ran off to find Suleyman, who helped him get his bike back in working order. Somehow, he convinced Baki to let him take the training wheels off, and Baki zipped around like crazy with a huge grin on his face. He made sure that everyone noticed that he was riding on two wheels! Then, we discovered a package with my mother containing a kit to make caramel apples, just in time for Halloween!