Cider Press Blues


The greenhouse plants that sit in these peat moss filled frames in the summer have all been moved into the greenhouse. The front porch is piled with boxes of bulbs to be planted and the kitchen is filled with bushels of potatoes that need to be sorted and stored in the cellar.

The Red Shiso is safely hung in the drying shed. After the harvest, Lizzy and I weeded and limed the bed where the Red Shiso grew this season. Then yesterday, Jim covered this garden in hay.


Jim wins the Green Hope Farm hero of the week award for this work. One reason this job made Jim the hands down winner is because he had to haul all the hay in a wheelbarrow. This is because we no longer have a truck. Our farm truck was part of the big recall and buy back by Toyota. Apparently the frames on 800,000 Toyota Tacomas were made from defective steel. We are missing our rusty truck a lot anyways. A truck holds a lot more hay than a wheelbarrow and plus, wheelbarrows are dangerous.

A second reason Jim deserves the award is because he hauled all this hay and spread it on the garden in the pouring rain.

Jim’s interface with our cider press also made him the clear winner of this week’s award.

A bumper apple crop motivated us me to order a new grinder for our cider press. Up until now, we used a homemade grinder that required us to cut up the apples before grinding and then grind these quartered apples over and over and over again. We I finally decided to spring for a big heavy deluxe grinder, one I had had my eye on for more years than I can count. It looked to me like it would be easy to install.

Ordered in early August, the new grinder arrived with only one of two needed support brackets. It was late August when the other bracket arrived and Jim got to work on the easy assembly that basically required him to rebuild the press. After a happy Saturday afternoon attaching the new grinder, Jim’s moment of installation victory was short lived.

Within moments of the first turn of the grinder, the roller jammed and split. Now on a first name basis with the folks that made the grinder, Jim called and a new roller was shipped. Meanwhile, the apples on most of our trees had ripened and were beginning to drop from the trees. The heaving buckets of apple drops that we had collected were now moldering next to the press. Call it good times for yellow jackets.

Late September and the new roller finally arrived. Conveniently, Jim had to dismantle the press he rebuilt in order to install the replacement roller.

And the installation has not been a piece of cake, though I made Jim apple cake to take his mind of his installation woes.

Yes, just a day or two from October and not a drop of cider has been pressed. Instead the grinder is in a multitude of pieces all over the kitchen table.

In fact, I think JIm went out to spread hay in the rain to take his mind off the problems with the grinder.

It’s sort of the theme of these times, isn’t it? Things that sound easy to install but aren’t.

Which leads us to the technology front where Jim further secured himself the hero of the week by installing new memory in our UPS computer. Not that any of us thought we needed more memory in this computer, but it was a requirement for a new software upgrade from UPS. Anyways, this memory installation required Jim to go to Staples twice between a session jamming what turned out to be a defective memory chip into the bottom of the computer.

Who am I kidding? This guy is not the hero of the week. He is a hero of the ages. I would toast him with a nice hearty glass of cider………if I had any.

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