Friday, October 9, 2009

hard cider!

Homesteading has made it into every corner of my life, even when it's not necessarily welcome or invited. It's become the cat that adopts you, the guest that won't leave, and the rain that won't let up. During the most mundane situations, where the farm has no business being, it finds a way to sneak in. It happens subtly, usually. In the middle of an e-commerce meeting I'll realize I didn't clean off the bottom of my boots and everyone at the office can smell sheep as well. Or sometimes someone at grocery store a stranger will stop me to ask if I was hurt? And I'll look confused till they pick off pieces of hay and grass from the back of my jacket. Or Sometimes (like earlier this week) I could be sitting down at my desk at the office, minding my own business, when all of a sudden the phone rings at the and someone who works in shipping wants to know if I want to come to an antique hard cider press next Saturday?

There was a time I thought I could get out if I wanted too. I thought I could quit anytime. Sorry folks, that train track has been stepped over. I'm in this. And the lines between worlds are thinning. I have proof of this because now, even in the world of web design and spreadsheets, new fiends are beckoning me deeper into the world of farm shenanigans...

Come on! How could I turn that down? I think the only way to make an October weekend more Vermonty would be if I sat there eating a block of extra-sharp cheddar in red plaid while the granny smith's pressed. My friend Mike (who's friends with this gentleman of cider, named Dave) have both welcomed me to their annual fall ritual of collecting wild apples and spending a Saturday making their knock-out hard cider. Next weekend I'm to show up with as many apples as I could pick, borrow, barter, or steal and we'll meet to make the cider. Dave told me he had the recipe from an Vermont Old-timer, and ex Veterinarian, and it was the best and strongest he's ever had. I'll get to watch and learn the whole process, from apple to bottle. I'll be taking notes, pictures, and laughing the whole time. I think last year's batch may be involved in the festivities as well...

This isn't light stuff folks. I've tried it. It has teeth. It was like drinking concentrated autumn-bonfire-party in a bottle. Dave and Mike are both new fiddlers as well, so I am hoping while the apples crush we can take some time to play some old tunes. Should be a fine Saturday, next week.

21 Comments:

Blogger Tara said...

Mmmm...what's not to love??

October 9, 2009 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger ashley english said...

Sounds absolutely divine!

October 9, 2009 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Shelly said...

Now THAT sounds like something I could do on a Saturday. I will be power washing the porch...Wanna trade?!

October 9, 2009 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Vickie's Michigan Garden (my backyard) said...

You can't turn that down apple cider --or your way of life now. You love it too much I see.
vickie

October 9, 2009 at 8:32 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Just finished reading your book. I have 7 acres in a VERY rural area 65 miles northeast of New Orleans--"Here Be Dragons Farm"--which gives you an idea how far off the grid I am!! Other than the very hot weather (108 heat index today--OCTOBER 9th!!)and the local paper mill contributing to the air pollution, I love it. I hope to be retired soon to work only at home--organic gardening & whatever. I am a vegetarian and want to ultimately grow everything I eat. Just read your blog for the first time and felt I should tell you that you are an inspiration to those of us who want the same things you do--serenity, peace, safe drinking water and safe air to breathe, communion with animals and plant life. Now if I can just figure out how to safeguard those chickens and goats I have always wanted with the feral cats, the wandering dog packs, the coyotes, the hawks, the fox . . .

October 9, 2009 at 8:56 AM  
Blogger Jen Chandler said...

Sounds like marvelous, perfectly fally weekend fun! Enjoy yourself!

Jen

October 9, 2009 at 10:06 AM  
Blogger finsandfeathers said...

If it's a hand press be sure to take a few turns. You'll gain another view of "hard cider." :>)

We'll be making more wine this weekend probably with a similar press. And stacking fire wood too! But no one knows how to fiddle.... yet. BTW, LOVE the Vermonty term and description.

October 9, 2009 at 10:59 AM  
Blogger Jordan said...

Oh boy, I want to learn how to make cider! Please ask if you can bring me - please, please, pleeease. I have lots of apple trees - I can bring a bunch of apples!

October 9, 2009 at 12:12 PM  
Blogger Bovey Belle said...

Ah - cider making. Down in the West Country we have a wonderful turn of phrase relating to cider - Dead Dog Cider they call it! Ain't no flavour quite like it . . . Someone's even written a song about it: http://sniff.numachi.com/pages/tiDEDDOGSC.html

I hope there're no dead dogs in YOUR cider next week!

October 9, 2009 at 2:05 PM  
Blogger Karen Sue said...

here's hoping your weather this weekend is better then the drizzle we got going here right now!!

October 9, 2009 at 2:30 PM  
Blogger motheralice said...

Sounds wonderful! Have a great time!

October 9, 2009 at 2:41 PM  
Blogger BJ Gingles said...

I just read an article about community apple pressing/cider making and thought how cool that must be, and you are going to experience it. Have a great time and please please please tell us all about it.

October 9, 2009 at 2:50 PM  
OpenID mountainchicken said...

I'm eagerly awaiting the hard cider post. Hard cider is one of my great loves in life and making my own is probably one of my top ten goals in life.

October 9, 2009 at 3:31 PM  
Blogger Tarra said...

I'm so jealous!

October 9, 2009 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger omnicharm said...

If the recipe's not top secret, would you please share it?

October 9, 2009 at 4:10 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

That sounds like such a GREAT time!!! What fun you all will have. Can't wait to read all about. Wish I had such an opportunity. Enjoy!!!

October 9, 2009 at 4:25 PM  
Blogger bookjunky said...

I hope you will share the recipe and instructions. We are still pressing barrels full of cider, making apple chutney, applesauce, apple pie, apple turnovers....

I have 2.5 gallons of apple wine going and I would love to give the hard cider a whirl, too.

October 9, 2009 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Hunington said...

The classic advice is to find a mix of apples, with some sweet, some tangy, and some bitter. Almost any apple will do, even crabapples (for the bitter component). Shockingly, you will need close to 120 lbs. to reach 6 gallons of cider, of which you will lose close to 1 gallon once you rack it off the lees. "Natural" yeast is unpredictable -- suggest you use campden tablets to kill the natural yeast for 24 hours, then innoculate the cider with yeast nutrient and a vial of White Labs WLP775 English Cider Yeast, which is available from most homebrew shops or online at northernbrewer.com The most important thing is sanitation -- sanitize everything that will come in contact with the fermenting cider. Starsan is the best product for this. Cider is pretty easy, so don't sweat it -- just recite the homebrewer's mantra "Relax, don't worry, and have a homebrew" and you'll do fine. Drinking last year's cider is an excellent way to get in the right frame of mind.

If you're curious, my 2007 recipe is at http://huningtonsachsbrauerei.blogspot.com/2008/09/jacked-apple-cider.html

October 9, 2009 at 7:28 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Will you please post all about it?! and the recipe?!

October 10, 2009 at 10:57 AM  
Blogger Robin said...

Hard cider is the BEST. I really think it's perhaps the most festive of drinks.

October 11, 2009 at 1:33 PM  
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