We had one busy weekend. We were already swamped with building new storage shelves in the basement, figuring out a notebook system for reviewing monthly tasks for our spouses, finishing the root cellar, taking off the supers from the bees hives and pulling out the winter coats when the apple press arrived. It wasn’t hard to put together but it was definitely a two-person job. We found a minor design flaw. The base is wood and it seems as though lining it with a basin of some sort will protect the wood from constant contact with the cider. One of the co-owners knows a metal smith who can make a custom pan for us. I think we can break the press in on Thursday. We will have a bunch of people here so I am thinking about making a big pot of soup as the day will be sunny but cool. Several of the people coming are vegetarian so I am think of doing a potato/leek soup with kale. I hope someone will offer to bring bread and maybe someone else dessert. If not, I can make the bread without a hitch and perhaps really drive myself nuts and attempt homemade donuts. The soup is so easy. I cook a big pot of potatoes and leeks in a vegetable broth until tender, then add rich milk and let is steam but not boil. I can add a couple of bags of corn from the freezer if I need to stretch it some.  I put in kale toward the end.

I have a huge shiitake flush! I soaked the logs on Friday and, sure enough, they flushed yesterday. I sprinkled diatomaceous earth all around the logs to keep the slugs out. They ate my first flush.

We are off to Hawley Bog this morning. It’s a wonderful place to hike and I know there are a lot of apple trees that don’t get picked. I will also be on the lookout for mushrooms. My older daughter is talking about returning to homeschooling next year. I loved homeschooling but I think she is learning more in school right now and, om a selfish note, this is the first time Bruce and I have been alone together in 33 years. When we were first married there was work. Then the kids came along. I really like time together and the uninterrupted 6 hours every day to get things done in. I will only homeschool her if we have a plan for getting here out of the house 3-4 days a week. Now that she is nearly 16, that would not be all that difficult I suppose.

We went to our church auction on Saturday night. I came home with two treasures. I got 14 pounds of garlic. I am splitting with two other families but it is still a lot of garlic. I have enough for seed stock and to supplement my pitiful harvest. I also got a big pot of salad green that are big enough to go right in the green house. There is chard, parsley, several varieties of lettuce, dill and some Asian greens. It is getting cold already so I need to get them planted ASAP. I want them well-established before winter slams us for real.