Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hay looks beautiful. baling today.

First you cut it
Then you ted it
Then moisture test
Looks like we're a go for baling today.  I'll wait until the morning dew dries up, and then raking and baling.  Looking forward to having it in the barn.

Ok, you shouldn't do this.

Don't drive your farm truck out over the newly-dried hay to service the tractor.
 The hay was wrapped so tightly around the driveshaft that it stalled the truck out.

90lbs of hay painstakenly removed from the bottom of the truck.  With a pocket knife.  On my back.  

Sunday, July 27, 2014

hard cider dreaming

why would anyone grow an orchard of crab apples?
 This farm has a fairly large, established orchard.  The trees were planted on a grid system, and they've clearly been carefully pruned over the decades.  This is my first exposure to an "old" apple orchard, and several of the apples here I just couldn't understand.

I took a WSU extension course in hard cider production, and learned that the off-tasting (and smaller) apples are often used as a flavor agent in batches of hard cider, and in fact, could make very tasty cider when mixed with juice from other varieties.

If you're interested in what WSU has to say about cider, you'll find it here.  
More normal (to me) apple
Hard cider is a traditional way to preserve the bounty of an orchard into the winter months, and was in fact a very popular drink in early America.  What I'll do is press each trees output separate, ferment them separately and then mix them to produce the final product, for bottling.  Which is what the WSU course suggested.
dessert apple
 Most of the apples I have here are probably cider apples.  I do have a couple of trees of dessert apples, which is what most folks think of when they think of apples.  But each variety has a place, and I'm interested in experimenting with these older apples to see what they produce.
The birds think they are ripe

several thousand pounds await