Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Making Cider

The kids were on fall break last week so we headed to my Mom's house in Northern IN.  My Dad planted a few apple trees years ago and we are now able to reap the reward of his hard work.  My Mom doesn't like to harvest the apples until there has been a frost, since this sweetens the flavor of the apples, but I wanted my kids to have the experience of seeing how apple cider is made since this is definitely a lost art. So despite chilly temperatures, I hauled the kids outside and made them get to work picking apples.


AJ (who is now refusing to have his picture taken)

Essie trying to navigate the apple trees that need to be trimmed SO badly.

True selfie with no make-up or contacts

Can you find Essie in this tree?

There she is-all the way at the top!

You'll notice the steers just hang out, hoping some apples will fall their way.

Chloe wanted to take a picture of me so here I am, freezing and dressed in my father's clothes.

 AJ taking a bag of apples to the car to head off to get them pressed into cider.

We headed down the road a few miles to an Amish friend of my parents who has an apple press.

My Mom loading some apples into the chopper.

Up the conveyor belt into the chopper

Amish guy laying cheesecloth into pressing frames.

Then he transferred chopped apples from chopper into the frames.

 A coupe of frames of chopped apples under the press.

The cider is then transferred to the small tank and larger tank pictured below so you can fill one gallon, or a few gallons at a time.

The reward for our hard work-pure cider!  YUM!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The End of the Garden 2015

The garden season has come to an end for 2015.  It was a difficult year with record rain in June & July making most of the early planting rot where it stood.  I only canned 18 pints of tomato sauce this year, that's it!  No salsa, but no worries, we still have plenty of salsa left over from last year.

I did figure out the best place to plant peppers.  I used the southwest corner of the flowerbed & had the best pepper harvest I've ever had.  Meanwhile, the peppers I planted in the garden produced about 3 peppers.

My acorn squash has apparently cross pollinated with the (volunteer) pumpkins.  Haven't cracked one of these opened yet so not sure if they are eatable. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Saturday in the Gorge

On a rare Saturday where there was no soccer, Amy didn't have to work, and it was sunny and upper 60's, we decided to go down to Red River Gorge for some hiking.  Our goal for the day was to climb Indian Staircase, an "unofficial" route that is definitely one of the cooler spots in the gorge.

Chloe & AJ fueling up at Sam's Hot Dog Stand


A little family photo at the Bison Way trailhead

Essie says she is "Queen of the Stump"

Matt & AJ

Sassy girls

We were pleased to have Aunt Buffy, who was camping in the gorge this weekend, join us on our hike.

We can't pass a fallen log without making it a balance beam.


Climbing up over the rocks to get to the base of the Indian Staircase

Aunt Buffy

Almost to the base of the staircase, trying out our rock climbing skills

A little Mom-and-Son selfie

Family picture at the base of Indian Staircase

Chloe and Essie

The girls LOVE climbing on rocks.

Dad gives Chloe a hand to get up on the staircase.

The "staircase" is actually a series of impressions worn into the rocks.  Legend has it that the steps were made by Indian hunters over 200 years ago.

Chloe is on her way.

Essie's turn next

Making their way up the staircase

And here come Mom and Dad, bringing up the rear.

Chloe wasn't sure she was going to make it.

But with a little encouragement, she did.

A great view from the top

Exploring the Council Chamber Rock Shelter

Under the rock shelter

View back across the canyon of the Indian Staircase

A little more zoomed-in view of Indian Staircase.  Yep, we climbed up that slope.

Indian Arch 

Taking a break at Indian Arch

Family photo at Indian Arch


Have we got some crazy kids.

Chloe and Essie

How to get up on top of the arch?  Why not just climb a tree.  This kid is ridiculous.

And he made it.

Adena Arch

The girls really enjoyed playing under Adena Arch.

One more family photo

And oh, what great views

Heading back down the mountain - a very fun day in the woods.