|Here is the gorgeous thing. The chute is where you dump in the apples; the two barrel-looking things collect the cut-up apples from the chute. The hydraulic press is the silver pole you can see in the mid-left of the picture.|
|The above-mentioned Big Green Machine, as staffed by Scott and our friend Jeff Adams, without whom we could not possibly do the small farming we do. He's a Real Farmer, you see--as in, he knows how to do EVERYTHING.|
We freeze ours in gallon milk containers. Scott's family used to can it, as they didn't have the freezer space. The word is that unpasteurized and uncanned apple cider is not even from the same planet as the other stuff.
I'm in the midst of reading Shannon Hayes' book Radical Homemakers. It's entirely different than anything I've ever read before -- a defense of/exhortation for both women and men to spend more time at home. A discussion of the benefits of producing as much of your own product as possible -- for the sake of your own creativity and satisfaction, for the increased quality, and for the ability it gives you to circumvent at least part of an economy that really only benefits the most wealthy and elite in our society. She urges readers to see even "small" changes and products made this way as really not small at all. Every thing one does that is not that of the "typical consumer" -- every sweater I knit instead of buy. Every time I knit it with yarn the local mechanic's wife spins, for that matter. Every time I make something for dinner instead of giving in to take-out. Every time I can or freeze local produce so we eat "our own" spaghetti sauce, applesauce, peaches, pears. Every new skill I learn, like making my own butter, or sauerkraut. Every time we raise our own meat chickens. Every time we eat the eggs from our own laying hens. Every time I make my own bread. They are important steps in restoring health, dignity, and satisfaction to our lives.
This cider making seems to me to be a perfect example of that sort of action. Instead of buying cider from, say, two states away at the store (which I wouldn't, because it's too expensive), we made it ourselves, surrounded by friends and family. When we divied up the cost, it worked out to $2.50/gallon. We laughed and visited while we worked. When we were done, we went inside and had a potluck lunch and then divided the spoils. The food miles for the cider were ... uh, let's see ... three. Every time we drink the cider during the fall and winter, I remember the fun we had and the way the sun shone. In the past, I always enjoyed cider making, but I would never have thought of it as a significant step in changing a lifestyle and moving toward a world I like even better than this one.