Thursday, 10 November 2016

Cider time: the press in action

I'm falling behind in updates, but that's simply down to being too busy. But my son and I both made videos of the press in action over the past few weeks.

I now have 310 litres of cider fermenting. 120 of which are in one of the oak casks, and 50 litres which were made with a mix of apples and grapes, which were given to me by a neighbour. I have one more pressing session to do, to try out keeving with 60 litres, and maybe some more milling, to make 100L mash for making schnapps. However, I think I'll need help, as my shoulder is in a bad state, so hand-cranking that mill will not be good for it.

But on to the videos!

First, from my 11-year-old son, his second effort at making a video, which I tink he did a really good job on. I must post the one he made of the harvesting!

And then my slightly dryer version, a week later.

People love stopping to watch this going on, and I've heard so many tales now from old people, about how there used to be a giant hydraulic press in our barn, which was used by the community. I'd be happy to reinstate such a tradition, once I get a motor for the mill!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

The old fruit press, part 3 - finished!

It didn't need too much work to finish the last pieces this evening. But finally putting it all together was very rewarding. Looking forward to trying it out now!

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The old fruit press, part 2

Part two of the old fruit press restoration, for your viewing pleasure.

It's been great fun so far!

Monday, 10 October 2016

The old fruit press, part 1

This goes straight to video!

A bit later than planned, as this was recorded on Sunday.

Friday, 7 October 2016

Another project: An old fruit mill and press

So a couple of weeks ago, i decided I would really like to have a press, so I could have more control over my cider making, at least for small batches. I saved a search on eBay small ads, so anything popping up with 50km of us would show up. But then, last Saturday, I got a message from a friend asking if I would like a press, as they had one in a barn they're going to sell. It was fate!

The next morning, we went over for a look, to find there wasn't just a fine old press, but a couple of old fruit mills too. Now, I had already been looking for a staiunless steel electric model, perhaps even buying one together with a neighbour to share the expense, so i wasn't too interested in the dirty old mill. However, that very day, we were off to a festival, to man a stand pressing apples for juice to sell. And what kind of mill did they have? The c´very same kind. Well, it was a booth for the local museum, after all. So, that was decided, It worked brilliantly, looked the biz, and if it's been used for decades, it must be good. I'd take it.

Fast forward to yesterday (Thursday) evening, and we borrowed a friend and his trailer, and off we went to Allfeld to pick up the press and a mill, with a large barrel thrown in fora few homebrews.

The press and mill were layered in mud, as back in May, there were serious floods in our region, and Allfeld was one of the worst hit villages. Large parts of street were washed away, and the barn where the mill was, was right on the banks of the Schefflenz, so was filled to about 1.7 metres of water, with all the mud it carried. We escaped lightly here in Schefflenz. So, it was hard to see the true condition of the mill and press. Today was time to get out the high pressure washer,and blast the dirt off. Have a look at the video to see the mill in action, and in various stages of dismantling.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Two-wheel tractors

No, not a tractor that's been sawn in half, but a walk-behind tractor suitable for small-holders, being capable of ploughing, tilling, mowing, or even hitching a trailer behind and driving around. All of the above appeal to me, for looking after our orchard, and eventually setting up a vegetable garden in a year or two.

Have a look at the video for a quick intro!

Friday, 29 July 2016

Bathroom panelling finished!

We moved in just over 17 months ago, and every day, I've looked at the paneling I made in the bathroom, and thought, "I must finish that".

The problem was not the material, as I've had that at least that long, but the fact one board was too short, so I hd to lengthen it. Without a table saw, I could not cut precise enough to butt-join two pieces without a gap showing, so it was only recently that I got help from a friend to get a suitable cut.

Once cut, the two pieces were joined with a biscuit joiner, and a strip was glued underneath, to give the impression of a thicker board, much like I did with the window sills, so long ago.

The front was then planed and sanded, to make that join as seamless as possible.

The wall behind the sink is pretty uneven, so some careful marking, then cutting with a jigsaw got as near a perfect fit as I could manage.

To take the hard edge off it, i used a hand router to put a 3mm radius curve on the top edge, so it matches the window sills, and to take the weighty look off it a bit, I used a more decorative cutter on the bottom edge, which mirrors that of the bottom skirting. Then the whole thing was given 4 coats of varnish and glued in place.

Job done!

Next for the bathroom will be to rig some system to hang a mirror and extra storage from.