Andrew's Blog

A City Boy Making His Way in the Country
September 2013

Cider Season

It’s cider season – and this year, I’ve attempted to make my own. Below are some hard-learned lessons about home cider production.

1) To make more than a thimble full of cider, you need a lot of apples. A lot.

2) You have to core (and if you feel like it, peel) all those apples.

3) Again, to make more than a cup of cider, you need a lot of apples. Like a lot.

4) You need to strain your apple mush through cheesecloth (or strainer should you choose). That’s work. And energy.

5) A gallon of cider in the store is about $4.

6) To make more than a gallon of cider, you’ll need a massive amount of apples. Like an orchard or something.

7) Our cider will become hard cider – you need yeast for that. And someone that knows what they’re doing.

My intention is not to scare you away from making your own cider. More importantly, I just want to make sure you have enough apples; and know what you’re getting yourself involved with. There’s a lot of peeling, pulsing, squeezing and straining. In the end, maybe you should just grab that gallon jug at the store and spend your time carving pumpkins and celebrating the season with friends and family.

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It’s Tree Planting (and planning) Season

It’s that time of year again, time get some new trees in the ground. Not too hot, not too cold, the air, soil and environment are just right for planting. At Orchard House, we try and plant 4 or 5 new trees a year. Not only is it good for the environment, but it helps to reclaim a little of this farmland back for Mother Nature.

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This year we put in some poplars (that were destroyed by the mowing company – 1 remains), replaced an apple tree, put in a crabapple and a redbud (one of my favorites) and today planted 2 more. The real difficulty, as I’m not a great planner, is to think longterm with these trees – how tall will the grow, what’s their width, what do I want to do in the area around them? So I’ve tried as best I can.

But even the best planned intentions can run amok. Last year I planted some wonderful heirloom apple trees, and a few weeks ago one of the goats escaped, tried to reach the leaves growing on one, and snapped it in half. Destroyed. Hateful. Re-planted something new. My gardening mantra: If at first you don’t succeed, Lowes is just down the street.

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