I know I am not a poster-child for blogging (haha) but, I am finally done with my thesis and Christmas. I must say, I enjoyed Christmas much more than I enjoyed writing my thesis. Good news on the thesis, though. I proved my hypothesis with a Pearson coeffecient of .665. That means that the two things I was measuring have a very strong positive relationship. As my group members grew emotionally, they also grew spiritually. That made the writing of my thesis seem a bit more worthwhile. I am writing today because I am very excited about one of my Christmas presents. Joe got me a cheesemaking kit. This is very cool because it came with a cheese press. Thus far my cheesemaking has been limited to soft cheeses, but now I will be able to branch out quite a bit. Now, all I have to do is find a milk supplier! I am looking into starting a co-op for raw milk in the south-eastern Rochester area. (Let me know if you or someone you know might be interested.) (I am also excited about another present- my mom got me flannel sheets and let me tell you, I am so warm! I never want to get out of bed. My poor nursing baby, he has to cry pretty loud to get me out of bed in the middle of the night nowadays.) We worked on simplifying Christmas this year. Brilyn got a tricycle and helmet from Santa. She also got individual packs of applesauce and juice boxes from Santa in her stocking, a VERY rare treat in our household. From her parents, she received the Felicity movie. And that's it. Cade got some puffy-treats to take to church. And that's it for him. I got Tim Horton's gift certificates, cocoa cups, and a wine bottle opener. That's it for me. Joe got Montreal Steak seasoning and a really cool watch. That's all. I really enjoyed the amount of gifts given. Next year, we hope to simplify with our extended family as well. I'll keep you posted on how that goes. Between stockings and under-the-tree gifts, we stopped for a breakfast of corned-venison and fried eggs. I had time to make some sour-dough bread and sausage roll as well. We had that around noon when Larry and Andrea came to visit. After gifts and phone calls to family, we went for a walk in the woods. Joe had Cade on his back, and I pulled Brilyn in the sled. We took some apples that we have stored in our cellar out to the winter wheat field as a gift for the deer. One funny story from Christmas morning though. I got Joe a watch, and I thought he might have guessed that. So, I wrapped his watch in a deer hoist box to throw him off. When he opened it on Christmas morning, he thought I had given him a deer hoist (which he obviously had just bought, that's where I got the box). So he says, " Oh, nice, this is cool, why did you get me this....turn off the camera now." I luckily have all this on video. Maybe I will be able to figure out how to post it on here sometime, it is worth sharing. He did eventually open it and discover that it was a lovely watch that even keeps track of the moon phases. (I guess that is handy for hunting.) One other fun idea we took advantage of this Christmas is that Brilyn left all her pacifiers out with the cookies so Santa could take them back to the Northpole for the baby reindeer. It has kept her spirits up so far during this grueling transition from paci-hood, I'll let you know how it ends up. Finally, we are looking forward to making some mead over this vacation, so come on back to see how that goes. XOXO ~Joce
It is officially fall- Joe has started scouting for deer, the leaves are starting to turn, and the apple trees are loaded with delicious fruit.
So, we are making some hard cider. We have a good number of apple trees producing and one started dropping apples all over the place already.
Here's the apple cider-makin' process- Brilyn and Jocelyn pick up apples that are not too wormy or rotten and throw them in a laundry basket, Joe carries the basket in the house (good thing he's a big big man), Joe cuts the apples into chunks with a filet knife (God watches over Joe to prevent loss of digits), Jocelyn pushes them through the juicer, Brilyn screams "up up huggy huggy!" over the noise of the juicer (think space ship landing), Joe or Jocelyn strains the cider through cheese cloth, Joe puts it in a big jug in the fridge. REPEAT REPEAT until we have FIVE gallons. This takes us, oh.....20 hours of work.
From here on out, the process is really a one-person job, so Joe takes over. He pours the cider into a big bucket and adds 6 pounds of sugar, stuff to kill bacteria, stuff to balance the acidity, etc... Then he lets it sit over night at 70 degrees, then adds some yeast made especially for the purpose of turning cider sugar into alcohol. The equipment and ingredients for this process cost an even $100.00. After this we will still have to buy a corker and some corks. After Joe adds the last of the ingredients last night, I mention to him that I hope it tastes good. He just shrugs and says he doesn't care how it tastes, he just made it so he can have free alcohol. FREE?!? Let's recap: 20 hours of work for two people with their Master's degree, let's estimate 20 dollars an hour- $800.00, plus a few more hours of research and adding ingredients and such-add another 5 hours for Joe-$100.00, plus the equipment and ingredients-add another $100.00. So we are looking at our cider being worth about 200.00 dollars per gallon this time around. I still really hope it tastes good. :)