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Ben's blog

  • Soft Cider -> Hard Cider

    The apples are rolling in and we decided to buy a press to try to make hard cider with them.

     

    It’s raining applesapples_coming_down

    Washing stationIMG_1798

    And that’s why we wash them :)IMG_1800

    All crushed and ready to go.IMG_1803 IMG_1805

    Packed all the way down IMG_1866

    And the resulting yumminess. Only a few of our apple trees produce apples that are decent to eat. The rest are small and quite tart, we were surprised to learn they actually make the best cider.IMG_1869

    They don’t eat much of it but they are happy to indulge their urge to scratch.IMG_1880

    Contemplating our options for turning these 5 gallons into hard cider IMG_1929

    We provided sugar for the fermentation in the form of honey & maple syrupIMG_1939

  • Meandering Marmot

    We have a resident woodchuck on our land, quite close to the house. I’ve stopped trying to take shots at it. It has reached the status of “mystical” at this point for bullets go through it like a ghost. It built a far reaching tunnel system with holes 300 feet apart. It removed a massive skunk I had buried in one of them. Above all, it respected our garden for 2 years and doesn’t seem interested in making new holes. At this point I have nothing but respect and admiration left for the little guy. I just hope we don’t come to regret it, a raid on the garden would void a lot of our efforts.

    Pondering a joy ride on the pedal tractorIMG_1427

    Observing IMG_1614 IMG_1674 IMG_1704

  • Apple droppings

    Every day we pick up droppings from a tree that is a bit early. We make just enough applesauce for a day, just enough for the house to smell incredible.

     

    the nice ones are saved as they keep really well

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    the ugly ones are cooked immediately

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  • Golden age of the Monarchs

    Summer 2016 revealed amazing firefly spectacles. They left the stage this year to the Monarch butterfly.

     

    caterpillar

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    I never saw butterflies as very good fliers, they seem to land on whatever the wind blows them on. Only after following one a while did I realize it hit a milkweed every single time. Despite of their completely erratic flight pattern, they are in fact quite calculated.monarch_milkweeds

  • Garlic Galore

    600 bulbs dried & cleaned. we’ll definitely have enough for our consumption.IMG_1399IMG_1402

  • First fire of 2017

    Cleaned up, sweeped, polished & touched up. It looks better every year.

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  • The eclipse as seen through our solar array

    in blue, the curve for a normal day, in red, the moon gets in the way.

    solar_eclipse_production

  • The light at the end of the tunnel

    I have been pushing hard for days to get to a point where we can start using the new space. I can see that the rough construction is almost over and that things get easier from then on. In fact, I can see that I will never push as hard as I did these past couple of years. This Summer has been incredible in that the land and the house are really taking shape into the dream we are pursuing. And also because we know the hardest is behind us after more than 2 years of ruthless efforts. And so, while it’s psychologically very hard to muster the resolve to spend days working to exhaustion on ladders in the Sun, I also know this is the last such sacrifice I’ll be doing. Future projects will have a much saner rhythm to them because our livelihood will not depend on them. It is with the knowledge that it only gets easier from this that I plowed through 5 more days of construction.

    To finish the sheathing of the second floor I’ve received help from Chris & Lou. Bringing 4’x8′ half inch sheet of wood up ladders is both tricky & tough. Both Chris & Lou are experienced carpenters, I’ve learned a whole lot from them, including how to make this hard task as easy as possible. They showed me many other tricks.

    It kind of looks like a bunker without windows.IMG_1144

    FlashingIMG_7195

    Insulation & vapor barrier, it’s a very nice feeling to start thinking about the inside.IMG_7188