Sunday, September 7, 2008


Today was one of those rare, clear blue sky sort of days that take a Washingtonian's breath away. Or a Kentuckian's, in my case. After church Randy set up the 50 year old cider-press he bought at an old homestead down the road and we picked some transparent apples. The real cider-making won't begin till November so this was a test run. I think apples are better after the first frost but that might just be my imagination.

So we fed apples into this very old hopper which pulverized each one and then watched in glee as a very light-colored cider trickled out. I looked at all that apple mash leftover and wished we had some pigs. We used to have two - Wilbur and Templeton - but they quickly became bacon. I don't think the rain here agreed with them as the butcher said they were some skinny pigs - and it seemed all I did was feed those rascals!

Of all the things we do on our homeplace, my favorite is cider-making and jerky-making. And I love our garden, even if I can't spend as much time there as before. I guess I have an affinity for such old-time things because I see that they are becoming a lost art - a lost way of life. That makes me sad but life is all about change.

I think this is one of the things I love about James Thom's wonderful frontier books. He doesn't just write about using a Kentucky rifle or skinning a deer or walking the Lewis and Clark trail. He actually does them till he is at home with each of them. This gives an authenticity to his work few novels have.

In The Frontiersman's Daughter there is a cider-making scene toward the middle of the book. I hope you can smell and taste the cider as you read about it - or at least want to! Those old apples on the frontier weren't like the ones we have today.

My boys and I are thinking about beekeeping. The Indians used to call bees the "white man's fly" because they weren't native to America or the frontier and their coming always heralded the advance of the white man. But all that's in my second book so best not give anything away!

Enjoy your Sunday wherever you are.



  1. Homemade apple cider is very good! I know we can get it anywhere around here in the mountains by the gallon. So neat you can now make your own.......a great fall treat! Hope your week is off to a good start. Talk with you soon. :)

  2. I bet your cider is wonderful back there - different apples, too. It is such a healthful drink. I wish I could visit Seana's cabin with you - those pics you sent are just incredible! Talk to you soon:)

  3. I miss Apple Cider and a sweet hello to you too.

  4. Love those recipes on your blog! A sweet hello to you too!