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Cider

Our cider was made about 50:50 with Bramley (sour) and Discovery eating apples.

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Smash with stick
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When pulped, put into press. This one was a donated press from Steve’s grandparents originally used for wine.

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First batch made a nice medium apple juice. We added demerara sugar to add sweetness.
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11 litres. 13 once sugar and water added. OG 1.074, so going to be 8.4%!

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Nothing is finer than cider

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Two years ago, Helen made an apple picker at the bushmoot (two bushmoot related posts in a day!)

We’ve never used it until today.

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My parents wanted their tree stripped because they had problems with wasps

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Two bags of apples later we obviously need more.

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But they smell really good in the garage where they’ll sit, not touching until next weekend.

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Sewing

During this years bushmoot, aside from the usual making things out of forest materials, one guy brought his sewing machine and did a talk. His love of them and their history was eye opening, but he also gave us a quick run down and some general knowledge.

My wife has (had?) A 66k but whilst I tried to work with it I failed miserably – it refused to sew.

So on the way back from my holiday I picked up a 201K (the luxury sewing machine of its age, worth about 6 months average wages!) Made in March 1940 for about £75 from good old eBay. Its not quite mint (but close!), but with a few drops of oil it started to run much smoother!

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Anyway, I set it up and exactly the same thing happened that happened me on the wife’s 66K.

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So, it wasn’t the machine, it was obviously me! So now knowing with some pointers from my new found friend I finally worked out where I’d been going wrong!

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And whilst I used high school maths to work out the correct circumference, I completely failed to add a seam allowance to the sides.

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So a small mistake.

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And by bizarre coincidence, the camo lined up. But it still works and I’m pleased with my first attempt.

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Fruiting

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Strawberries are now in full force with the blackcurrants, raspberries and even a few blackberries also following suit.

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You can’t tell we had double in there at one point.

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I’m wondering when the birds will notice…

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Victoria plum is fruiting for the first year so I’m pretty excited. I love Victoria plums.  So much so we have two of them!

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Grape vine seems to be going mental… Looking forward to them again! They were very tasty last year.

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Yellow plum here.

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First baby courgette

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Leeks and basil ready for planting out

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Sweetcorn is a definite success this year. We’re also growing baby corn.

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Beans haven’t been decimated either

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Our elephant garlic is in bloom too.

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Galaxy Delight kegged up

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Tonight I got off my backside and racked up the Galaxy Delight beer.

It was only about the last 7 litres when I realised the keg would only take 19L and I’d need to bottle some. This is the first brew I’ve put into them, so I’m not 100% used to the routine and I was ill prepared.

Anyway, this beer isn’t going to be cask conditioned. Its going to be force carbonated so I’ve rigged it up in the kegorator to the CO2 cylinder at about 10PSI

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Homebrew festival

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This weekend we attended the home brew festival in Market Bosworth. 

I entered three beers, two all grain and a kit.  I placed with one of the all grain beers (2nd) and the kit (3rd)

Very pleased and thanks for all the help and encouragement from my friends and family

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Workstation

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Idiocy is, I assume, building a wall over a wooden racking system.

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I honestly have no idea why they did this.

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Some donated racking!

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Much more organised! And now the woodworm infested woodwork has gone, things are tidier and I’m almost ready for the roof to be replaced.

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Biltong maker/box

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So a few months ago I built a biltong maker.

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Its purely a plastic box with a reptile heater and a computer fan. Oak dowels support the meat and a lid stops flies getting in.

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I suspend with string

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A few days later! Biltong. Juicy biltong!

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The Home Brew Festival

In a few weeks I’ll be joining members of the craftbrewing forum in Market Bosworth for The Home Brew Festival.

Its the successor to “the spring thing”.

Its members only (membership of the home brew festival not any associated forum).  You pay the membership fee, then about £23 for the full weekend camping! Beer is provided completely free at the bar.

There’s also a competition – I’m putting in three entries – one of my entries is a kit, but the rest are all grain.

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So 3 weeks later, I’ve kegged 160ish pints!

If you’re going, I’ll see you there!

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Spring cleanup

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Above: before
Below: after (in the rain)

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Sweet corn planted

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Chickens are happy with the grape vine progress

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Bean poles moved and naughty self seeded squash moved

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Ready for more planting next week!

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