09/06/2013

Yesterday we had our first strawberries of the year; the week’s sunshine was just what they had been waiting for. As they are growing in such profusion, I suspect we’ll be having some every day for the foreseeable future! I may try drying some, which reminds me – I still haven’t had the time to make a solar food dryer.

I have, however, completed the construction of the composting enclosure, and also put the remaining pallets to good use, starting an additional woodshed. The base is complete, as is the first course of the walls. I think another six pallets should do the job.

Today I retrieved a heavy steel frame from the aged FIL’s pile of scrap. I intend putting it to good use as an apple cider press frame, using an hydraulic car jack for the pressure. I had previously made a similar cider press when we lived in Britain, constructing it out of several layers of marine plywood according to a diagram I’d found on the Internet. Unfortunately it was not up to the job and cracked. As the Mark II model will be made of steel girders, this should not be an issue! It’s not going to be much fun moving it around though, so I may have to decide on a permanent location for it.
The home-made apple scratter is still in working order, so crushing the fruit should not be a problem. There are quite a few apple trees scattered around the property, and this year the blossoms are in profusion; probably the trees are trying to make up for last year’s late frost which killed every single one.

The pear tree in the garden is also making good progress and as long as nothing unforeseen occurs we can look forward to a bumper crop of edible pears as well. There are some pear trees at the aged FIL’s property as well, but these are apparently not very nice to eat. I think some perry manufacturing may well be on the cards!

Speaking of making alcoholic beverages, today we visted J. She had telephoned early this morning to inform us that all her elder trees were in full flower. Half an hour’s labour saw us with several plastic bags full of the flowers. The next batch of elderflower champagne is thus under way, and LSS will also be making some elderflower syrup tomorrow. (We’re unable to complete it today as we’ve run out of sugar!)

2 thoughts on “09/06/2013”

  1. Sounds like you’ve got all your liquids sorted out! I mostly have grapes, plums and a few pears. There is a guy here in the village who produces elderflower cordial for export on a large scale using elderflowers harvested by the villagers. After pressing, he gives the remaining pulp to a neighbour who distils it to make lovely elderflower palinca.

    I love cider, but unfortunately I don’t have any apple trees on my land (except one I planted this year). I might be able to scrounge some off neighbours though. Hope you’ll post one of your tutorials on scratter/press making one day.

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