Making apple cider with just a hint of cuteness: due to popular demand.

Yesterday we made the apple cider. This year has been an astronomical year for apples. I have been collecting apples from a number of different trees over the last few weeks. We love to have a mixture of apple flavours in the cider.apples-for-apple-cider-006

I went to a tree down the road near a wee farmhouse that is being renovated. They also want to try and reclaim this old barn. I do hope they can, it is small but beautiful.


Before we started the apples we needed to move the wine out of the plastic bucket barrels, so we could use them for the cider. So we racked the wine  into the big glass demi-johns.

Now, here is a strange thing. You will remember that we halved the grapes at the last crush and I am fermenting my half with its own wild yeast and John is doing his the conventional way with the introduced yeast. Well,  my ladybird wine, which is being fermented using  the wild yeasts, is a notably different colour to the wine with the introduced commercial yeast.  Mine also looked most disgusting when we took the lid off. But it did not smell bad. Have a look. The first jar is Johns and the second is mine. This is from the same grapes picked a few weeks ago.



Hmm, this could be interesting.  While we had everything out we racked the honey mead. I had a little taste, it is VERY good.


Honey Mead benefits from a long aging and will sit a while longer – so  back to the cider.


John made a smashing machine a few years ago just for the cider making. It is a spikey little barrel that rolls around inside a converted beer keg barrel.


Once the lid is on, it is powered by the tractor and I throw the apples into this little hatch on the side and all the mashed up apple comes out a hole in the base.


Then the apples are pressed in the ancient sausage maker that he turned into a press.


And there you are- 6 gallons of apple juice for cider.

And now due to popular demand  – Nanny Boo and his brood.  The Marmalade Kitten is doing very well. The Middle Kitten is holding his own. But the Tiny Puss is still not drinking properly. He is being force fed which is pretty miserable.  I make him get up and I make him drink. They have been on kitten replacement milk the last few days, just to be sure, but still no change. apples-for-apple-cider-087 apples-for-apple-cider-086 apples-for-apple-cider-072


There they are, off for walkies with their NannyBoo.

This morning the Broiler Chickens are off on their final road trip.  I am looking forward to good chicken in the freezer and once again that will mean more time in my day. Today I will very, very slowly drag the ark from one side of the property to the other and around to the vegetable garden where it will exchange its tarpaulin for a big plastic sheet and magically turn into a fall green house.  Once John gets home he will help me put it over the tomatoes. Exciting stuff.

love your friend, celi


56 Comments on “Making apple cider with just a hint of cuteness: due to popular demand.

  1. I’m constantly amazed at the motherly way Boo looks after the kittens – absolutely incredible.

  2. Interested in the apple crusher contraption. I have been loading quatered apples in a bucket and smashing them with the buttend of a slege hammer. Not efficient at all. Thank goodness I have lots of company coming at the weeks end to help ith the jucing.

  3. I can’t believe how different in colour the two wines are – very interesting. I can imagine how lovely it must have smelt with all the apples being crushed for the cider.
    Celi, thank you for keeping the kitties in your post. I do hope our wee little one is getting stronger even though he is still not drinking properly. I am sure with all of Nanny Boo’s TLC he will be just fine.
    Here’s to your days being a little easier to C.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  4. What kind of apples did you use for making the apple cider? I’m guessing Red Delicious and Granny Smith?

    Making things with apples must be in the air. I’ve been helping to make apple butter — mmm mmm good!

  5. Here in central NY we have also had an astronomical year for apples…and pears, and plums, and just about every wild plant that has any kind of fruit. I wonder what special alignment of planets came about to produce that…

  6. That LadyBird wine may turn into champagne yet! Thinking one of your home grown birds cooked over a tin of home brewed cider might be the order of the day soon 🙂 Just when I thought NannyBoo and his Kitties couldn’t get cuter – they did. Morning miss C. Laura

  7. I’m meant to be making Pommeau this week with the surplus apples, my friends family is from Normandy and they make this concoction with calvodos and cider…… and now I wish you had your tractor around the corner so we could squish a gazillion apples!

    • Normally, pommeau is made from last year’s cider. The commercially produced pommeau is nice, but very weak – about 8:1, which suits me fine The farmers make it with 4:1 cider/calvados which Jock prefers! The farmers also sometimes add spices and orange zest.

      • Viv you’re a star. I’ve just learnt loads more from your comment, thank you. I thought it was made with Apple juice and didn’t know about the year old cider thing either. Maybe we will end up drinking the Calvodos separately 🙂

  8. That old barn looks fantastic – i hope the restoration works.
    Your wine is definitely a funny colour, but looks aren’t everything – it’s more like a fortified wine. Good luck with it, I suspect it might turn into something good 😉

  9. I am having a go at making apple cider this week, my first time so wish me luck. I used my grapes to make grape jelly which even if I do say so myself tastes wonderful and so much better than shop bought. Reading your blog has inspired be to have a go at things I would not normally do, have even made a Christmas cake. x

  10. I love that apple eater John made…best re-purposed beer keg ever!
    Even if the barn can’t be saved in it’s original form, it looks like there’s enough good wood to salvage and build another…there’s a barn up the road that’s in rough shape, and nothing special in form or function, but I’ve put word around that if they ever decide to tear it down, We’ll buy the beams and build something at our place…
    Have a great day, C!

  11. Boo and his kittens just make my day! I hope they all improve today, he takes such good care of them!

  12. Just when I thought Boo couldn’t be any cuter he turns into a Nanny dog (melts my heart) Belly rubs and extra treats for this good boy!

  13. What a clever contraption that apple press is!! I love a good side-by-side comparison, his-and-hers stuff. Peder and I used to have his veg plot and my veg plot. His was always better. He always grabbed the sunniest spot, too. 😀

  14. awesome! The little kitties are growing up. You can see the difference in the size just a bit from when you first showed them. I hope little runt makes it. I’m pulling for him my friend! XOXO – Bacon

  15. Thanks for the cuteness, it goes well with the cider. The colors in your photos are stunning. Fall technicolor. We miss that in California.

  16. Every thing looking good at the farm! Apples, kittens, wine all my favorite things! Just back from the local orchard having bought a load of apples my self. Not so adventurous as you and making cider, but thought I would freeze some down for pies during the winter, and dry some for my granola in the mornings. Visited the farmers market saturday (they only have two more weeks before closing for the winter) and spent my pet sitting money on goodies for the freezer: Liver, kidneys, stew meat, ox tails, tongue, soup bones etc. (all the stuff most people don’t like) and got them all real cheep. Lots of hearty stews in the future cold winter months! And dog food too!

  17. Thanks for posting your crusher and press!!! So innovative and very cool! Will show my hubby!!!!
    Your wine looks so nice and clear! I can’t wait to hear how it tastes! Woo hoo!!! 😀
    Don’t you just love the heavenly smell!!!! My wine from the Niargras smells delicious! The wine from the Steubens is the loveliest color of deep pink! Smells delightful! I can’t wait to sample!
    I am curious about your honey mead. Would love to try this. Could you email me the recipe? If it tastes that good…I sure would love to make some!
    Steamed some tilapia for the kitties today! Smells up my kitchen, but oh how they love it! Easy for them to eat…poor old timers! 🙂
    Finished cutting and moving all the trees and branches then the raking up of twigs! Uffda…what a job that was! So glad it is over!!! Kinda sore today….
    I am saying prayers for your little runt…sigh…sure hope he/she makes it…it is so hard to lose one. I lost my little Sophie. She was a tiny one a neighbor’s cat dropped off in our barn and then left the little mite…she was so small…it broke my heart. I tried my best just like you are. Sometimes nature takes it course no matter how hard you try.
    Have a great day! We have Zestar, Harrelson, and Fireside apple trees. My Clapps Favorite pear tree is coming along nicely! Have to decide on a couple of plums for the spring. We mix our apples with friends who have a huge orchard of just about everything! LOL
    Have a great day Ceci! 😀

    • Sorry to hear about Sophie, but it seems more often we try the more likely we are to have to deal with failure, just numbers I guess, hope you are having a more restful day today.. c

      • Rained all day so I rested up and made some White Chocolate Chip Chocolate Chip Cookies! Gluten Free and delicious! Yum! And Two Tomatoes Au Gratin! That’s the last of my tomatoes. Red and green! Til next summer! C’est la vie! I haven’t had a day off in so long I didn’t know what to do with myself! LOL I can smell your crushed apples! Mmmmmm…. 😀

  18. p.s. I love the pics today! Especially the one where Boo is giving a clean up or a nice kiss to one of his charges!!! LOL Thank you! I really love these! They make my morning! 😀

  19. Interesting to see the different coloured wine. Also very good to see your apple crushing machine. We made our cider yesterday and use a garden shredder to pulp the apples, which works fine but means we have to cut the apples first.

  20. Thank you for keeping us posted on the little ones. It warms the cockles, as they say. And that apple crusher is so ingenuous.

  21. I love Boo and his Kitty Brood. I hope the tiny one gets some strength going. Please don’t stop the photos I love them so much. I was telling a friend about them last night and couldn’t remember what breed Boo is, help me out?

  22. Good day C; boo is fantastic,the wine looks but i do have to say that the idea of turning the broiler palace into the green house is outstanding double duty is at the heart of homesteading outstanding.

    be a blessing mike

  23. Nanny Boo is so precious in his concern to nurture these little orphans. I still hope the best for each of the little dears. And I’m also so glad to have the visuals for the cider making. I pictured a small by comparison press. Silly me! You are the mother of the best inventions! Sending warm hugs to the kittens and tomatoes–we’re still dragging summer into our future, but I’m enjoying flavors of fall through your descriptive words and photos, Miss C. ox

  24. Nanny Boo is going to be heart broken if Tiny Puss doesn’t make it…

  25. Big Man would love a taste of that cider! It’s good when you have a freezer fully of happy chickens and bless Nanny Boo – he’s like Nanna in Peter Pan!

  26. You guys sure are busy these days! Not having to move the chickens 4 time a day will be a blessing. I’ve no idea what’s going on with your wine but it sure will be interesting to see how they turn out. I’ve been sending pics of Boo to friends. He’s developing quite a following and the little guy has plenty of people rooting for him. )

  27. I love the feeling of getting finished with one harvest and moving on to another. Your chickens will be delicious! And the cider making paraphernalia is ingenious! Keep the photos of Boo and his little charges coming. Nothing like it.

  28. Hi C! Looks like I have missed a lot at the farmy!!! Those kittens are just adorable. Your wine is looking good too. We should catch up soon. I’ve been swamped on not online much (at least not for fun). I hope all is well. Miss A will love the pictures of Boo. 🙂

  29. Nanny Boo and his kittens are just TOO cute. Good wishes for the littlest one. He looks scrappy and so wanting a chance at life. Your pictures are beautiful!

    You guys…..this year, once again, we had no fruit due to late freeze in July. Even our ancient apple tree succumbed. That what happens up here in the high desert of Oregon at 5,000ft. Actually had to buy bushels of organic apples from a farm up north so could dry some for this winter. Apple cider? No way this year. I love yours and also your winemaking. What an amazing woman you are.

  30. Oh what a wealth of news! Fascinating to learn about the wine and mead [hmm, quiite a little sip!] and cider ~ clever contraption that!! Love the old barn also: should rebuild beautifully. Boo: incredible ~ yes, half my friends seem to have photo series of him and his brood also, in spite of my being practically offline . . . do, do, do hope all three will make it: Boo CAN count!!!!

  31. Your John is quite handy to have made the apple processing machines. Just think of all the time you’ll have without moving the ark around. Your food pictures are outstanding! Boo and the babies are adorable as ever.

  32. We could almost smell the apples. Just today Misfit said he’s in the mood for a homemade apple pie. He does make a good one & now that I “smelled” the apples, we may go on the hunt tomorrow for some apples. And of course love Nanny Boo & brood. Keeping fingers crossed for the tiny one.

  33. What a life at the Farmy – it does not stop… old barns, apples, cider, a smashing machine, wine, mead, chickens, tomato plants, kittens, Boo, unseen cast members, and Celi the ringmistress… roll up, roll up… 🙂

  34. The cider experiment is fascinating (I’m placing secret bets and guess who I’m backing, but then I’m biassed). I admire Johns smashing machine. With that kind of ingenuity, he qualifies to be an honorary Kiwi.

  35. Would love ot taste your cider made from different apples. I once saw a fascinating Rick Stein programme on TV about a Somerset family who’d been making cider for generations, and they strained their cider from the ceiling to the floor, through hay bales !!!!

  36. Can’t I make cider using my Jack LaLane juicer? I will put in everything but the stems and the worm debris. Since the apples will not be cooked first, I’ll have genuine cider, won’t I? Then I wonder how to preserve it, since our red delicious tree gave us 20 bushels this year, and we can’t drink all that cider before it turns to vinegar. Can I bottle and seal it, then water bath it 25 min? Should I boil the cider before I bottle it or put in in the canning jars cold?
    Thanks so much.

    • Hullo Marcia, we make hard apple cider, however I believe that to make soft cider you do use heat to preserve it. Otherwise I really don’t know. but 40 bushels goodness me! you have to preserve it somehow.. that is wonderful. c

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