Sunday, 3 September 2006
Yesterday (Saturday) Carrie & I went and picked up Laura and her roommate Caitlin, and then drove over to Laura’s folks’ house in Shelton. Why? To make fresh apple cider, of’n course!
First of all, their house is awexome. It has several different yards that are mostly immaculate. There are a whole bunch of berries and tomatoes and goods like that. There’s also a small apple orchard (maybe a dozen trees). We tried first to pick berries, but there was only a very small yeild (the blueberries yielded the most).
So then it was straight on to the cider-making. An huge wheelbarrow of apples was near a confabulous fraptraption. Here’s how the process worked:
Apples from the wheelbarrow were washed in one bucket and then rinsed in another bucket. From the rinsing bucket they went in a small, open-bottom buckety thing at the top of the fraptraption. Inside the buckety thing, blocking the bottom hole, was a thick dowel with several small, blunt metal blades set into it. This dowel was attached to a wheel on the outside of the fraptraption. Turn the wheel, and the bladed dowel starts grinding/mashing up the apples. The mashed up apples and their juices are now small enough to slip through the open bottom of the buckety thing and into a larger, slatted bucket below that is lined with a mesh bag.
Once the slatted bucket is full of mashed-up apple bits, the top of the mesh bag is gathered and then a lid is put down inside of the bucket. An enormous screw is then turned (by hand of course), which pushes down on the lid and compresses all of the apple bits, squeezing out their sumptuous juices, which collect in the wooden tray in which the slatted bucket sits. There’s a small hole on one end of the tray, and through this hole the apple cider spurts into whatever container you put beneath it.
This made gallons and gallons of apple cider. No additives, no preservatives, nothing but mashed-up apple juice.
Oh, and also the leftover apple parts (after all the juices were squeezed out of them) were thrown on a pile in the yard behind the backyard. This place was pretty big.
For a late lunch slash early dinner, chicken was barbequed according to an Alton Brown recipe. There was also home-made potato salad, bow-tie pasta salad with parmesan and olives, salad, corn on the cob, and hot dogs. There was also something for dessert, but we were all much too stuffed to partake by then.
So we grabbed our jugs of cider (as well as a couple of bottles of hard cider that we were given), said good-bye to Laura’s family and drove back to T-town.
Later in the evening I was picked up by Sandy & Mathias and driven to Fools Play, where I performed in a show called “Fools Play Improv” or something. Afterwards we all went out to the Rib Eye as usual, and then Sandy & Mathias drove me home (well, Sandy was the one actually driving).
But before they drove me home, we all drove Amber home. She lives in a trailer out in the woods. It was really cool, and it totally reminded Sandy of where she grew up.
Then they drove me home. I’d left my keys in the house, so I had to call Carrie and have her get out of bed and open the front door for me. Whooops!