In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


Waiting isn't my favorite

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Friday, December 11, 2009

So Kyle was thrilled with his brewing kit that his lovely wife (yours truly) gave to him for his birthday a couple days ago.  Unfortunately we couldn't get started right away because all of that great cider that we made was all hibernating in the freezer.  So, first thing Wednesday morning, after Kyle opened his presents, we took out six gallons of frozen cider to start thawing in the sink.

I filled the sink a couple inches up the sides of the jars with cool water and we decided to go out to breakfast.  While I was getting ready, little did I know, someone got a little impatient and decided to put some HOT water into the sink as well- to help speed things along.  Upon our return from Jeffersonville we walked into the kitchen to see something rather distressing; one of the jars was cracked and leaking precious cider into the sink!  Crap- so we removed it from the sink and put it into a bowl so it could leak cider into something where we could save it.  We looked again- another was broken!  So we moved that one to a bowl as well.  Then we saw another!  Oh shoot, this is so not-good!

Word to the wise: jars act just like pipes, if they freeze do not try to thaw them too quickly or they can and will burst.  In Kyle's defense, he hadn't had any coffee yet that morning so I'm not sure the cobwebs had really been cleared out yet.

All in all I think four or five of the twelve jars broke- along with one of the two gallon jars that is still in the freezer (we're not entirely sure what happened with this one- it might have cracked during the freezing stage as it looks like it might have been a little overfilled- oops!).  But we moved all the cider into the sterilized fermenting bucket to finish thawing.  Yesterday afternoon, Kyle added some stuff that will kill off the wild yeast that could be lurking in the cider.  While we could try to use this to make our hard cider we just don't know if it will turn out delicious or completely unpalatable- its kind of a crap-shoot and I am not a gambler.  So we decided not to risk it for six gallons of cider.

So tonight we'll get started- thank goodness.  We'll check the potential alcohol content with the hydrometer and decide if we want to add sugar to up that reading.  Then we'll add some yeast and close the fermenter back up and away we go!  We've got yeast to make an apple wine so we can use up those wine bottles we've been saving all summer and fall- we'll need about 30 bottles to take care of the six gallons of cider.  It is going to take a while before we are ready to move it into the carboy for finishing...probably a really long time because our thermostat is almost always set for 50-55 degrees, unless we're having a chilly night and then we'll up it to 65 until we go to bed.  And when it comes to fermenting, heat is a good thing.

So thats the plan!  On another note: we collected a dozen eggs from the girls yesterday!  That makes 42 eggs currently in our fridge.  I think I'll make a couple quiche's tomorrow- one for lunch, and another to freeze for later.


  2. Live and learn, as they say. Water based liquids do expand A LOT as they freeze and frozen on the inside and very hot on the outside, "CRACK". Hope you filter that cider that you caught coming out of the cracked jars, in case there were glass slivers in it. Yikes! Get some gallon plastic containers for next year. Hind sight is always 20-20 :-)

    Really sorry you may lose some of that wonderful cider.

  3. Melissa Says:
  4. No kidding! We were really careful with the shards- luckily it appears that it all cracking into large pieces, but when we siphon it off into the carboy we'll probably leave some at the bottom of the fermenting bucket just to be safe.
    Next year we'll DEFINITELY leave alot more head room in our jars!
    :) I was pretty bummed about the 2 gallon jar cracking- its a pretty neat jar and it wasn't all that cheap. Just as you say- hindsight is 20 20. Live and learn is absolutely the motto we live by here!! :)