Such lovely apples

bramleysSMGoodness, how time flies in the summer. Two months since a post? Argh. Rather than engage in the daunting task of recapping all of the homesteading activities of the busy season, I’ll just launch right into recent events… and make a promise to try hard to stay caught up, now that fall is nigh.

Our lovely Bramley apple tree really put on the bumper crop this year: bushels and bushels of tart, lovely green pie apples the size of softballs. Some took two hands to pick!  I just adore that grand old lady, and I really want to try grafting some more Bramleys for the orchard. That tree is one of the best things that came with the house. Below, we see Emily racking 5+ gallons of apple juice into a glass carboy, ready to start fermenting into Hard Cider, most sacred of alcoholic drinks. To the right is a juicer her friend Al the Pal gave us several years back, and man, did we give that thing a workout. The pressings and cores went into a different 5-gallon bucket to become vinegar, yum. We still have several bushels of apples left, and those will become canned (sweet) cider as well as several bags of dried apple slices for snacking. You can’t see it, but on the stove off-screen is the remains of a tasty apple crisp that was both dessert AND breakfast the next day.

rackingSMMany have been asking about our pond, and I’m pleased to report that our excavator buddy Dick of Jiffy Construction is now back on the job. He’s been very in-demand elsewhere, as he fixes busted water mains for the local municipalities and other such earthworking emergencies, but now that he’s here… whoooo, does he live up to his name. Look at all that destruction! In a Jiffy!  Beside working quickly and being very friendly, one of the things I like about this guy is that he’s a true craftsman in his media. He operates heavy equipment like an extension of his own body, gracefully digging, pushing, leveling, and stacking. I have no doubt he could use his trackhoe to lift a 6,000 pound boulder with a china teacup balanced on top of it, set it next to a teapot, pick up said tea pot, and then pour a dainty service for two.

Jiffy_pondSMBut all that aside, another thing I like about Dick is that he’s one of those guys who cares about doing a good job, because it’s the right thing to do. I’ve watched him when he didn’t know I was standing there, taking time with his excavator to pick up loose rocks and limbs, smooth the dirt around the edges of an excavation, and pat it down gently with the back of the bucket… just so it looks “right” when he walks away from it. That attention to detail really gets me.

Oh, one more big piece of news… we had our final inspection on the house remodel project, and we are Officially Done. What a relief. There are the obligatory few pieces of trim remaining to be installed at our leisure, but for the most part, we’re in for real. I just finished a little firewood crib near the front door, to keep a ready supply of dry wood for when the rains return. Which is coming pretty soon, I can feel it. Brrr.

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