Cider Press Hill

First fire and other seasonal stuff

Saturday, 9:10 pm

Tonight I’m enjoying my first fire of the season. The northeast has been a little brisk the past couple of weeks and my house finally reached the official “cold” mark. After spending the day out and about, I came home, this evening, to 58 degrees and it wasn’t very pleasant. I’ve done pretty well getting used to and comfortable with 62 degrees in the house this fall, but 58° felt very much like a fire in the stove tonight. I thought that I might be able to skate through most of October without burning any wood, but...guess not. I probably won’t need another fire for the next week or so, but I’m still disappointed that I couldn’t hold out longer.

On the other hand, it’s so cozy in here. I think the disappointment is vastly outweighed by the sheer pleasure of being nice and warm for the first time in a couple of weeks.


Over the past few days I’ve been searching high and low for a gallon sized glass jar in which to conduct a science project-- lacto-fermentation—homemade sauerkraut. Nothing fancy. I’ve looked in a variety of different stores from here to Portsmouth. And I even found one glass jar that would work just fine for a whopping $29.99. I did not buy it.

It wasn’t until last night that I had a brainstorm. How about an industrial sized pickle jar? I just betcha BJs or Sam’s Club has huge jars of pickles.

Today J and I went out to BJs and stocked up on some items. Among industrial sized pickle jar with industrial sized pickles. For $3.99. The pickles were a bonus. I gave them to J. I wanted the empty jar. Imagine that. $3.99. Phooey on fancy $29.99 glass jars.

I’ll let you know how the sauerkraut turns out. My mom used to make it in a crock years ago. Best tasting stuff ever. It’s hard to believe that the cans marked ‘sauerkraut’ in the markets are even in the same food group.


Last week I made and canned my first applesauce of the season. I had intended it to be the only applesauce of the season, but I didn’t get enough apples. I spent one entire afternoon peeling and coring and cooking one peck of apples and it only yielded 6 pints. Well, it beats store-bought and it’s 6 more pints than I started with. But I think I’ll go find more apples and make another 6 pints. I don’t believe there is such a thing as too much applesauce in the winter.


And, speaking of...Winter must surely be just around the corner now. A couple of days ago, I glanced out the dining room door and saw several juncos and four tufted titmice lined up on the deck railing facing me. They were patiently waiting for the diner to open. I burst out laughing. It was a comical sight.

Shortly thereafter, the diner opened and my winter birds have been merrily throwing seed husks all over. It’s a happening place out there.

For the little rodents, I tossed out some peanuts, too. It’s chipmunk heaven. 

Posted by Kate on 10/0408 at 09:10 PM

LOL. I need to get some bird feeders. It is a bird watchers heaven in my back yard. Its one of the things I miss about smoking lol. Sitting out on the deck having my morning coffee and cig, watching all the animals and birds. For some reason sitting out there with just a cup of coffee, freezing my ass off, watching them just isn’t the same.
Do you think anyone would buy it if I said I am just trying to make watching the birds in the freeeeeeeeeeezing morning cold worth it? No? LOL. Sigh.
After you left I played with the therm. and let it run for a bit. We really need to have someone come and check things out this week if they can. It is getting cold out. Double sigh.
Let me know when the sauerkraut is ready! I bring some Brats over and it will be a excuse for another girls night lol.

Posted by justme on 10/05  at  07:02 AM

Wow you have been busy!!!  I love my bird feeers too.  I have been holding back with the feed for a few weeks beacause I have had a bunch of rats sorta of take over! So I thought if I removed there food source for a while they would leave.  Well no sooner had I put seed out again, there they were.  So I gave up.  Everyone gets to eat :/

Posted by annie on 10/05  at  12:28 PM

J, if I had your trees and your deck....sigh. The perfect bird sanctuary. You oughta see if you can get some suet from the butcher (sometimes they give it away or sell it for 30 cents a pound) and hang it in a mesh onion bag from one of the tree branches. Boy, you’d have happy birds.

I think it takes about a month for the sauerkraut to ferment. You’ll probably end up taking some home if we don’t eat it all. It’ll store in a jar in the fridge for almost forever.

Annie, I am so glad I don’t have rats. I thought squirrels were enough of a nuisance. I know little animals have to eat, but I’m pretty sure I’d be plotting violence if rats showed up. How disappointing that must be for you!

Posted by Kate on 10/05  at  03:44 PM

1.  Great idea you had on the jar.  Just got back from the Berkshires, helping to start clean out my mom’s house with her.  A formidable task and I worked hard all weekend and it did not look any different when I left.  She claims it does, but nahhhhh Anyway, as I was leaving with the car piled high with stuff for the local thrift shop (and books of mine for the shelter), she offered me two BIG glass jars with metal lids.  She used them always for cookie jars, said theyused to be what molasses came in!!

2.  Annie, try safflower seed for a bit.  The squirrels do not like it.  I have been putting it and only it in my feeders for almost two weeks to break the squirrels of the habit of eating over at my house--LOL--and they are back scurrying around, gathering up acorns for the winter--which is what they should have been doing right along!!  It might be worth a try.

3.  APPLESAUCE.  I make homemade always, have done so for years, but Kate, I never, ever, never peel the apples, nor do I take the seeds out.  I just wash--very well, of course, quarter, cook and then put them through my food mill.  Takes about 1/8 the time, depending on the kind of apple, has a lovely color and tastes ten times better!!  Try it!!

OK, my mother’s house was running about 54 when I got there on Friday.  After she realized I could not work (efficiently) wrapped up in a huge wool afghan, she turned it up to 60!!  BRRRR, so I come back here, the man of the house was watching the PATS and at that time, so annoyed with them, he was oblivious to the fact that the front door and Slider was open and the temp IN THE HOUSE was frostbite level.  So, I had to put the heat on a little.  I am frozen.

Posted by cyn on 10/05  at  05:21 PM

I am taking deep breaths as my teeth chatter this morning on my coffee mug.
“I love my new house, I love my new house, I love my new house”.

Temecula, CA - Clear, 59°
86° / 56°
96° / 58°
99° / 59°
88° / 58°
I miss home, I miss home, I miss home.
I am never going to make it through one more winter. Maybe I am going about this all wrong with E. Maybe I should do nothing to conserve heat and pay over a thousand a month to heat. Maybe he will finally get as homesick as me!!! Hmmmmmmmm what other devious things can I do. Sheeeet, I can’t believe it has taken me three freaking long ass years to come up with something so simple!!! Shame on me, I am better than that! (and I don’t mean doing something devious, I mean coming up with it)And I thought betting against mccain with, a you have to years to get us back if I win, was good. Shame, shame.

Posted by justme on 10/06  at  05:42 AM

J, it’s a little chilly in my house, too. Only about 61.7° and going down. I’ve been moving around a lot and I wrapped a scarf around my neck, so I’m not feeling the chill too much yet. By tonight my teeth will be chattering right along with yours. I am not burning more wood tonight. It’ll be warm outside tomorrow and I can open all the doors and windows to let the luxurious heat inside.

I know you want to go back to California, but y’know....I think the state is bankrupt. This might not be the ideal time to be thinking of moving. Not that I’m enthusiastic about the idea from any perspective. ;)

Cyn, I am surprised by the dearth of glass jars in the stores. Well, maybe not so surprised as irritated. EVERYTHING is plastic. I’d love to get my hands on one of those old molasses jars. Or a whole shelf full of them. I’ll just have to keep buying monster jars of pickles.

Your idea for applesauce is one I’d never run across before. Now...if I just had a food mill, I’d try it. I’m attempting to winnow out my supply of small appliances that I don’t use very often, so don’t give me any ideas to start adding. (Still pondering...should I keep the bread machine? I run hot and cold, so will hang on to it until I run consistently cold on the matter.)

Posted by Kate on 10/06  at  01:18 PM

Foley food mill is non-electric, so, see, will not qualify as an appliance!!  Look at as something that exercises your arm!!  Just turn the arm and before you know it, you have applesauce. Under $20 and worth it, so worth it!! 

I will check with mom when I go back up there and see if she has a stash of them in the cellar--would not surprise me, if she does, I shall get some for you and then we can figure out how you can get them.  She would be thrilled to give them to someone who really wants them.  I have dibs on one, but that is all...... ;)

Posted by cyn on 10/06  at  09:42 PM

Ohmigosh Cyn, if she has some I’d be so thrilled! Ever since my last moth/worm infestation, I’ve kept everything in glass jars. The little buggers can’t chew through glass. Quart sized jars work for most things, but I also buy a few things in bulk (grains, budgie seed, and dried legumes) and wow could I use a few large jars. Whatever she has and can spare.

I looked the Foley Food Mill up on Google. Hey, what a neat tool. I could get a lot of use out of one of those.

Posted by Kate on 10/06  at  10:06 PM

Oh, I wouldn’t mind taking one off her hands LOL.
Kate that’s the mill I was talking about that I use to have that helped so much in making all the canning stuff I use too! Tom sauce is sooooo much easier! Mine was not that exact one. Little different. Not sure if that particular one is good for Tomato’s, Cyn?
oh, did you get the email I sent you yesterday with the paint color?

Posted by justme on 10/07  at  06:36 AM

I don’t know why you could not use a Foley food mill for tomato sauce or puree.  IF you are doing small batches it would work just fine.  But it would be pureed not chunky.  If you were doing a large batch then I think your arm would get awfuly tired, plus you could only do a small part at a time. 

I am going to ask Mom about the jars when I call her tomorrow night - after we discuss the debate tonight...she is a registered Republican who cannot wait to cast her vote for Obama.  She detests John McCain and Sarah Palin!!  And, she is 93!!

Posted by cyn on 10/07  at  09:32 PM

Humpf? Cyn, the one I had was pretty big so it wasn’t that bad lol. I was in a kitchen store last night at the mall (oh lawdy me!) and they had a couple, they were very small and looked like a medium size sauce pot? Mine was, big round and kinda looked more like a funnel, wide mouthed at the top.
Kate give me a call when you are up and about. I ordered the movies for us (4, 2 of each! all together) they should be there today or tomorrow at the latest. I am going to ask why they would not go to my Library, they have before.

Posted by justme on 10/08  at  06:27 AM

Blog woman!
Oh, all the movies are in! So Are we going to BJ’s? Tomorrow is going to be better for me, but I can swing Sat, if need be. I just would feel better if GC1 was home while I am not, at night. She has to work until 10Pm, and sometimes goes out after.
Now I just have to decide how I want to cook the buggers. And I have a couple of back-ups. My first back up is almost tempting me to go with it lol. But I cooked that salmon version for you a while back I believe. I miss cooking for two just two lol. Or adults. With kids its always having to leave this out, or this one won’t eat this and the other won’t eat that! any way call me. GC1 and I are going to do the change of addy thing so we can vote and then paint her room. so call the cell so we can make plans on time etc....

Posted by justme on 10/09  at  07:59 AM