Thursday, August 27, 2015

Cleaning up and Putting up

Early morning out the back door.

Summer is always a busy time for outdoor work, but late August we kick it up a notch.  We always have a party Labor Day weekend and we invite friends and relatives from all over to come to the farm and many stay for the whole weekend.  This is good incentive for us to get everything cleaned up and replace broken boards on the bridges and just make the place look nice.  I think Sam said he ran almost an entire gallon of gas through the weed-eater yesterday!  I have done a bit of that myself.  

It is also when so many of the things we grow in the garden are ready to pick and preserve.  On Sunday, we picked 2 large plastic totes full of apples ( I got to climb up in the tree....I still love to climb trees) and when I arrived home from the office yesterday I found Sam preparing to press cider.  Our cider press is something I am sure Sam acquired at an auction and fixed up to be useable, as is the grinder.  So it is old stuff and runs totally on man-power.  First, the apples have to be sliced up.  I was in time to help with this chore.  Then, they are put through the grinder, which looks like this  >>>>>>>>>>
and here is the inside of it.  It is like 2 big intermeshed gears that turn and crush the apple slices as they pass through and drop into a bucket. 

Then they all go into the cider press

which has a flat piece of wood on the top which is slowly and laboriously cranked down with a metal rod in the hole on the top of the crank apparatus (I have NO idea what to call it) as you walk in a circle around the press and the cider comes out the spout at the bottom into a bucket.  This is very hard to turn.  Between Sam and myself, but mostly Sam, we had about 7 hours in this chore and produced 4 1/2 gallons of cider.

Sam is talking about picking more apples and making more cider, but I have no idea when we will find the time.  Maybe this weekend.

On Tuesday, I canned 5 1/2 quarts of tomato sauce.  Everything in it, except for the olive oil I sauteed the onions in, came right from the backyard:  tomatoes, onions, garlic, fresh basil, oregano and parsley.  Sadly I don't think I will have enough tomatoes to make another batch due to the poor tomato crop this year, but we will enjoy what we have.

This morning, I picked some peppers and pickled them.  In past years I have canned them, but they get mushy in the canning process and Sam does not like them then.  I don't care for them at all, but he loves them on salads and pizza and sandwiches.  So this year we decided to try just pickling them and refrigerating them.  We'll see how they turn out done up that way.  I only did a quart and it took very little time.

Tomorrow I plan to go and pick peaches and can those as well.

Today Sam and I went to the county fair for the livestock sale and purchased our yearly lamb.  It was nice to be able to purchase from the daughter of an acquaintance of mine.  It doesn't always work out that way, but it did this year.

And that's really about it for this week.  I have started to warp my small loom at home for some really brightly colored towels, but its not far enough along yet to look like anything.  My time has been somewhat limited for fiber stuff.  It may just be that way the next couple of weeks.  My schedule is very full up through the Wool Gathering in about 4 weeks.  But that's ok.  I know it will all go by way too fast!

This tomato plant in my herb garden does not seem to have suffered from the wet weather, but the tomatoes on it are not yet ripe.


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