A whole lot of bottling

We headed up to Maine Friday night, and made it as far as Scarborough, where we spent the night and a leisurely morning walking on the beach and playing old time tunes.  Made it to Five Islands a bit after noon, where I inspected the work that had been done on the new orchard ground and looked in on the trees – one (Opalescent) had been moused so severely below the soil surface that it was no longer attached – I pruned it severely and potted it in mulch and stuck it in the shade; maybe it will find enough root left to survive.  Other trees looked OK.  Saturday evening old friends Jeff and Ellen came to the folks’ for dinner, which with JT, Jake, and kids made a lively time. Just before bedtime I set a bunch of last year’s used bottles to soak overnight in B-Brite

Sunday morning I organized equipment, washed bottles, racked some cider, and got it chilling and carbonating in Cornelius kegs in a snowbank.  Around mid-day Kauf, Kelsey, Em, and Andy showed up, and we set to bottling in the old homestead.  Folks quickly got the hang of the fountain sanitizer, double-barreled semiautomatic counterpressure bottle filler, and benchtop capper, and we did three kegs before dinner.  This year I bought a bottle drying tree which helped a lot.  We had enough folks on hand to achieve the desired operating condition for any cidering activity, where a few people are working the equipment at any one time and everyone else gets to hang out, talk, and play music. As for the cider, I agree with Holly that it was a good year, well rounded, refreshing, and pleasantly tart.  The last batch of 08 cider from Farnum-pressed juice which had been in a keg in the root cellar since last winter had mellowed some and was also pretty good.

The 3 Cornies being empty, we went over to the grandparents to fill another couple kegs, then put them in a snowbank to chill.  After a fine dinner of lasagna and squash provided by Northland & co, we bottled 1.5 more kegs and played music, with the kids running around like banshees all the while.  Bottling, cleanup, and dessert (blueberry poundcake and chocolate-espresso birthday madness cake) done, the kids and parents went to bed; the remainder of the party retired to the red barn for a game of Settlers.

We woke up Monday to several inches of snow which continued to fall through early afternoon.  Some of the party went for a ski around the North End, while Alexis made some pumpkin bread for lunch and I dug out the grandparents.  With the easing of the snow we departed for the south, concluding a very satisfactory weekend.

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