After a week of unseasonably warm weather, a dousing of nearly three inches of rain, the weather has turned a bit unseasonably cold. Yes, you can average our weather, but the great mid-west of North America never gets average weather. So Saturday was going to be a bit cool and maybe a bit wet, and this is a university town, so football, and homecoming, so best to get out of Dodge. All in all, a good day for an apple quest to southeastern Michigan. Locally the early varieties of apples did well, and the Jonathons and Jonagolds were excellent, and the Phactors recommend you try Crimson Crisp if you get the chance, but the later varieties just did not fair so well. Thus if the Phactors were to have Northern spies, it would take a quest to the Tree-Mendus fruit farm in Eau Claire, MI. They have over 200 varieties of apples under cultivation, quite amazing diversity, and you get tastes! The Phactors managed to beat the homecoming parade out of town, and then it drizzled on us all the way to Michigan. Hungry and hoping the rain would let up, the Phactors stopped for lunch in an Applebee's. But it didn't. Still you don't drive 4 hours to get your favorite apples and just give up. Perhaps you have gathered that most of the apples are U-pick, and nothing quite like a cold, drizzle to make it an adventure. The dear woman working the orchard outpost should get a medal for remaining cheerful doing a rather miserable job while someone else got to make the mulled cider by the barn's fireplace. Not to be deterred by the cold and rain, the Phactors picked apples, 4 half-bushels and fortunately northern spies are largish apples so you don't have to pick so many to fill a bag. Now here is the question. If you were picking some of these apples for friends, how much above the purchase price do they owe you for the transportation and picking in miserable weather? As the trip neared it's end the rain finally stopped. So checking the score, the Phactors are squashed up (from a field trip 2 weeks ago) and appled up for the fall and winter. Next up, what you do with this bounty.