No, I haven‘t been around as much as I used to.
Not that I don’t write three posts a day… in my mind.
But my time seems to no longer be my own as my children‘s needs beckon me from 6:30 in the morning ’til about 10 at night when the baby finally really falls asleep.
Joel has had an opportunity to “make a little extra money” the last couple weeks (and I put that in quotes because there is no such thing as “extra money” – something always comes along to gobble it away).  And so I find myself parenting, schooling, farming – toute seule, 16 hours a day for 5 days out of the week.  
Schooling has been profoundly intense.  There aren’t enough hours in the week to teach everything that I have planned.  Everyone has different fortΓ©s – everyone has different struggles – throw into the mix a two year old learning to potty train and a newborn who wants to snuggle all day and well…
My time is no longer my own.
And that’s OK, I just put my blinders on and plow straight ahead.  Soon the baby will be on a schedule, the two year old will wear big boy underwear and I’ll cry that everyone is growing so fast.
There is always something that needs to be done around here and so when Daddy is finally home true family time is difficult to come by and very much coveted.  The other day we found ourselves inside a magical moment under our old, funky appletree.  
I am determined to learn and try whatever I can while we farm, homestead… what ever you want to call it – on these three rented acres.  So, this weekend we experimented with making our own cider.  
There was something absolutely amazing about picking “our own” apples.  Who knows what kind they are.  They don’t taste that great which is too bad because they aren’t too wormy.  They taste like a red delicious for the first three seconds and then turn so tart in your mouth you just about need to spit them out.  Dommage.      

We decided to try our hand at making apple cider.  I love cider and wish we had had the chance to pick more.  As it turned out we found the time just as the last apples were ready to fall.  

I am obsessed with the idea of having my own orchard someday on our “big farm”.  In the meantime I will have to make do with our little funky apples.  I also have been scouting out lots of trees in the area that look like they are going to go to waste as part of peoples “landscaping” – I may go stick a couple notes in some front doors asking permission to pick.  

I am sure there are better ways to make cider but we made over 3 quarts from what you see in the basket above by grinding them to almost a pulp (sort of like tapanade sized pieces) in the Cuisinart and then making a double layered square with cheese cloth putting a glob in the middle, wrapping up the corners together and squeezing into a Ball jar. Add autumnal seasonings to taste.  It was so fun!!!  To make your own beverage!  I am so easily pleased… and this made me giddy.

The garden is winding down.  
We’ve brought in a lot of food and we eat from the farm about 75% of two meals a day.  I really don’t know how I am going to make it this winter without our garden.  We have already planned to more than double it’s size next year. I wish we could really go crazy… there is so much wasted space used for worthless GRASS around here.  The landlord has his “yard” that he likes to come a putz with/mow and it’s a shame.   I’d kill to have a 1/2 acre garden or a cow or something – anything but worthless grass.  And then there’s the walnut trees….
I wasted an hour trying to harvest walnuts today.  Along the lines of “when life hands you a farm full of toxic walnut trees make walnut oil”.  But darned if I can get the timing of when to harvest them right – every nut I tried tasted so horrible.  I just really wanted to triumph over those stupid trees and all the damage they caused to the garden.  I don’t know if I mentioned it on the blog, it may have been more of a Facebook thing but our tomatoes and peppers and most of our cucs and blackberries would not grow due to a condition called “black walnut toxicity”  caused by a chemical called juglone that comes from BW trees.  Each tree taints the soil for a 50-80 foot perimeter and we have at least fifty trees in the property.  Just unbelievable.
As soon as I bring in all the carrots (a job I HATE doing) I will have all my food weight totals and I will be doing a post on our R.O.I. for our first year here at Half-Way Farm.  
In the meantime, I will be savoring my little mugs of hot, fresh apple cider… and scouring the internet for the easiest hard cider recipe I can find too!
I’ll be around as soon as I can.
Happy Harvesting-
Parisienne Farmgirl