Thursday, 24 December 2009
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
We had a large delivery of wood and looked forward to being all organised for when we needed to switch the heating on (which only happened on Saturday!). Pah, not so. The wood isn't seasoned and Jesse huffed along with her ovens only going up to moderate. It was weird because the fire itself was roastingly hot, so hot as to singe and melt the leather gauntlets we have for tending the fire, yet the heat wasn't transferring over to the ovens. We have since found out - via surfing waves on the internet that were almost tsunamis in our desperation to find the answer to our problem - that if the wood is unseasoned or wet, the moisture basically puts out the gaseous burn in the bottom of the flue. We need this secondary burn for a clean burn and super hot temperatures to transfer to the cooking bit. Plus this moisture allows for creasote/tar to form around every nook and cranny so needless to say, we spent 3 hours degunking her. We live and learn. She is now happily doing her stuff as we made a mercy dash to our local hardware store for some 'proper' wood. The other stuff will be good for next year so you could say we *are* organised.
Fortunately today dawns sunny and calm, released from the grip of the icy wind. We can open the volets (shutters) again and let in the light.
Today's activity - Christmas shopping.
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Our neighbour brought 3 massive fruit boxes of their red apples and my Uncle invited us to come and raid as many apples as we liked from his orchard (sadly he's moving to Canada so we won't have that perk next year).
Anyway, here you see the boys with the apple chopper and press below. We have made 12 litres of juice so far and still have 10 fruit boxes to process. Plus more set aside for eating apples. It's time-consuming but fun. It also feels great that we can teach the boys through example how things grow, how to look after and improve your crops, how to harvest and how to process and store food supplies.
This was my first ever taste of freshly pressed apple juice and it is very different from the shop-bought apology. We have frozen lots so hopefully there'll still be some for lucky visitors in the spring.