How Busy Can One Man Be? (Pictures)

Hey Everyone!

Back again on a dreary, Monday. It is colder than it was all weekend and still rainy. That being said there were a lot of things being done this weekend. I’ll quickly go through them, since I have a few more pictures than I normally do.

First up I got what I could out of my frozen cider! It was a little more than 2 liters. This is what I expected from 2 gallons of cider. I wish it was a bit clearer, but its not bad. I had some and it is definitely alcoholic haha.

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Saturday we were up nice and early and going to get some work done on the cabin. We put the rest of the roof up and they did a few more floor boards without me and a wall frame.

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(Below) You have my little brother, trying his best to attache the roof, without sliding off of it. You can wee how wet it is.

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(Below) My dad and older brother are probably in a discussion about that piece on the right going up a certain way. It was nice that my older brother could come up. he works second shift and his sleep is all messed up.

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Later after I left I went home and took my wife to Olive Garden for dinner, then strolled the mall.

On our way back, we passed a dinner that I always want to make time for and never do. I asked her if she would want to go the next morning (Sunday) for breakfast, and she said yes. We got up and got there about 8:30-9:00am. It is a small place but with great food.

You can see the walls were decked out with old pop cans and signs.

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The tables are are covered with a glass sheet, but have cards, records and ads from old magazines under it.

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Here is just a shot of how small it really is. That is the kitchen there in the middle.

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They also had some memorabilia, that boarded on the creepy haha. It was displayed liek this in a few spots. with old toys and dolls.

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Here is the store front, and you could guess that it sits right on Rt. 62! Go figure.

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To put it in perspective, here is what is directly across the street.

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It was a good decision to stop there for breakfast. Later that day my wife’s grandparents made the trip and came over to see us. We went and looked at teh local dam, which is a huge tourist attraction. Later we headed to Applebees for a less than satisfying lunch.

After they left, I followed a thought I had had for a while and bought two Roku Express thingys, for my TVs.

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They were super easy to set up and after restarting my router I connected just fine. Everything is fast and responsive. We now have three network enabled TVs in our home. My office is becoming complete haha. I also have a futon mattress being delivered Thursday! I’m very excited.

I hope you all had a great weekend, and hopefully better weather! I’ll see you all again tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

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Thank You & Apple Jack Progress

Hey Everyone!

I want to thank you for the support and feed back about the new layout. Now that I have a bit more time to elaborate on it, I will! ๐Ÿ˜€ I came to the realization that there are a lot of people in this community that browse via tablet or mobile phone. I looked at my previous layout and saw that it had too many layers. It wouldn’t draw people in and to get to my posts it would take a few “clicks.” I wanted to change all of that. I know I work in IT and all but changing my layout scared me and I didn’t want to jack it all up haha. Once I figured out what I wanted I went after it. I think it turned out quite well. I want to work on a few things from here on out. I want to make sure that I have featured images so the “Recent Posts” page looks a bit flashier. This is mostly because the scheme is a bit dull, by design. I also want to work on titles, not sure how much that will happen. Lastly I want to start including content that isn’t just about my daily life. I won’t stop the daily life part but rather add this part to it. I just want to engage people with current events or topics that are close to me. That being said it won’t happen in this post haha.

On to our regular content!

Yesterday I did indeed get my to go baby bag packed. It took me a month to do it but it is done. It makes everything so much more real. I also started the process of freeze distillation with my Apple Jack! the time has come. Tonight I will see the finished product. I’ll be tight for time tonight but I’ll get what I can.

Here I have a shot of the transfer from the glass carboy to the jug that it got frozen in.

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Using this method you have to make sure that gravity is working for you! To create the pressure all you have to do is blow through a straw at the top and it all comes out.Just like if you have ever blew into a Capri sun and let the science do the rest haha.

After it is transferred you have this gross mixture left over. It is all of the dead and discarded items left over from fermentation. This is part of the reason you wait so long, all of this stuff has to settle on the bottom before you should do anything. Check the next two pictures.

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Its thick and soupy all at the same time and smells of mostly yeast. It generally comes right out with a rinse, but you definitely don’t want this in your drink!

What was transferred out at this point, before distillation, is just hard cider. I went a head and tried some. I also had to rep my college fraternity in the process! ๐Ÿ˜€

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You can see that it is still a bit cloudy. I was hoping that it would have been clearer at this point, but I know it will be better once I distill it. I currently have the four jugs freezing at my parents house. I will grab them after work and bring them home. The process from there is to tip them upside down and capture the liquid. It will be strictly alcohol since it freezes at a much lower temperature than anything based in water. Once it melts a bit it will be time to stop the collection process. I will be left with a much smaller amount than the original 2 gallons, but should get a yield of about 2-3 quarts of 30-50 proof Apple Jack.

Part of my, getting things done mood, was getting the ever growing collection of water jugs refilled at the local spring. I had to fill about 10 jugs. I know have, I think, 33 gallons of water as well as a very delicious bottle of homemade wine in my basement. This is all just for natural disasters or outages of any kind. Better to be safe than sorry. It is said that each adult needs one gallon of water per day just for consumption. Every child needs one half gallon, as well as pets. So with an incoming baby and two pets we have enough for like a week or two. I want to grow it a little more and get some food down there too. I really want to finish that section of the basement but who knows!

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That is where I will leave you beautiful people today! I hope to bring you some good topics and discussion in later posts. Again thank you for the feedback! I’ll see you Monday, have a great weekend! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

Almost Forgot!

Hey Everyone!

I thought I would get some stuff done around the house and clean up a bit, but that didn’t happen.

I had some reminders set, for good reason, for the masonic practice yesterday. I knew at the end of the day that I wouldn’t get much of what I wanted to done. I heated up some leftovers for dinner and checked my mail and what not. I hung out and watched some Netflix with my wife and that was that. At least for the practices you don’t have to dress up, I’m not a huge fan of wearing a shirt with the top button buttoned haha.

My dad came over and picked me up to go to practice. When we got there we thought we wouldn’t have much of a turnout, as we were the only people there. Within minutes more people showed up. We went over how to do the ballad box for voting and part of the 3rd degree. It was a fairly quick practice.

After practice, and on the ride home we discussed the cabin and how we need doors and windows. That lead to a conversation on cars, and other stuff. If I can’t find a vehicle when the baby is here, we will share vehicles until I can. Only living a block away is good for that. When I got home I loaded some boxes up and a pair of stained glass windows, to take to his house. We are going to use them on the ends of the cabin.

Today, after work I am going to pack my to go baby bag because I haven’t yet. I am also going to put the Apple Jack back into the original bottles, and freeze them at my parent’s house because I don’t have any freezer room. We are looking into getting a chest freezer, but ya know, that costs money that we don’t have haha. I also found out last night that we have another softball scrimmage tomorrow, so that will be fun.

That is all for today, sorry not a ton of content but it was a bit lax yesterday.

I hope to see you all again tomorrow! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

Gearing Up For The Baby!

Hey Everyone!

It is nice to report I had a fairly relaxing night last night.

I got home from work and it was raining. I wasn’t able to do anything outside so I was pretty limited. I was able to re-rack my, what is no hard cider, into other carboys. This allows the cider to settle and clear up, as well as get the dead yeasty stuff out. Sometimes it can mess with the taste if it is left in there too long. The next time I rack it it should be pretty clear, and I’ll take pictures. I’ll be putting it back in the bottles that the juice came in and freezing it. I hope it all works out because I really want it to work and taste good. It was really easy and it would be nice to make that my ‘signature’ drink in a way. I would like to perfect it a bit, if I like it, and have enough to share with friends.

When my wife got home I went with her to get ice cream, and that was the highlight of my night haha. We ran to Dairy Queen and she got a Peanut Buster Parfait. After that we just watched a few episodes of Shameless and went to bed.

My wife and I are gearing up for the baby, who is still nameless haha. We need to get her a bag ready for when the day comes. Well for that matter I need one too. We are looking to go about an hour and a half away to a better hospital, so we have to be really ready. One of the other things we are in need of is a babysitter/daycare facility, that is affordable. I know most everyone has trouble finding that. I grew up and went to a church daycare, and it was really nice and like a real company. No in this same city there aren’t any except for the over priced YMCA. We have compiled a list of people who baby sit or run a small service out of their home. We have to call them and talk rates and availability, then go see their houses. My brother and his fiance are using one lady about 10 minutes from home who is only charging $20 per day, which is the best I’ve seen. They seem to really like her, so maybe we will too. That is, if she has any openings. With only person watching kids they can only have six at a time by law so that really limits people. So we do have some work to do but it is coming along. Our weekends through May are almost all booked up. We have holidays, masonic stuff, showers, parties, and weddings all coming up these two months.Heck I have to find some time to write up a best man speech. That scares the crap out of me! I hate public speaking, especially when it is in a wedding setting. I was the best man in my good friends wedding a couple years ago and I was shaking, and flushed. It was quick but, I didn’t ever want to do it again haha. Depending on when my wife goes into labor I may be able to drink a little before it, which might help the nerves! If she hasn’t had the baby yet then I can’t in case she goes into labor that night.

If you have any advice about child care options let me know!

How are you at public speaking? Like it, hate it?

I’ll see you all back tomorrow. I hope you are having a good week so far! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

Weekend Round Up & Police!

Hey Everyone!

This weekend was pretty interesting. To be honest I can’t really remember what was going on Friday. As for Saturday we just hung out, and relaxed. But Sunday, Sunday was a whole other story! The majority of it was good and productive, the rest was blood boiling. I woke up and did the breakfast thing, and was sick of looking at our unorganized panty. So, I fixed it right up! ๐Ÿ˜€

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I noticed Saturday that we had a bunch of old stale bread and muffins. Once my wife and I were up and about we went to one of the local parks and fed the ducks as you can see here:

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We avoided the geese at all costs because they can be mean haha. The rest of the day was spent getting all of the old plants out of the garden, and staining my two projects. I ran through and got a few wheelbarrows full of dead plants. I started a small fire to burn the scraps and that is when stuff headed south for no reason. I kept seeing my neighbor look over our fence from their deck. Not more than five minutes later her husband, showed up in our driveway and peered over the fence. He told us that we couldn’t burn that stuff and it had to be 25′ from any structure, if it was an open fire. I thanked him for being neighborly and told him that I would go get a portable fireplace from my parents house and that I wouldn’t burn that stuff again. I took the remaining garden stuff to my parents and grabbed the fireplace. I looked up the city laws and saw that I was allowed to have that 15′ from every structure. So I thought everything was well and good. We will be back soon! I started staining the projects that turned out great. Here take a look:

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Mid way through staining the cubbies, the cops showed up at my house. They were called by my damn neighbors about the fire I had. I just had the stuff that was on fire from before smoldering in there because it was already on fire at the point of our conversation. I don’t know why they would have called the police after having a conversation with me about the rules, and having me agree to get the portable fireplace, and not burn that stuff again. WTF! I thought they were being good neighbors and giving me a heads up, yet they still called the damn cops. Anyway I showed the cops that I was only burning scraps and they told me that in the future I could only burn wood in the portable fireplace. They gave me a paper with the city laws on it, which I had looked up before they got there, and left. I hope these neighbors know they burned a pretty good bridge with me and my family. I am not going to lash out or seek revenge. I will just follow the laws and be good. I won’t stoop to their level. I will not however, help them with anything they need at any time.

We put the remaining smoldering scraps out and filled the fireplace with ashes and tiles from the old spot that was too close to the garage. I took it to my parents house and dumped it. Once I got home I finished the cubbies. So with that being said we got a lot done, but had to deal with some pretty stupid shit! Internally I am angry and still annoyed but hopefully writing and sharing it with you all will help me let it go.

I’m here at work again, and had a few things going on this morning but all in all it has been a good start to the week. I think when I get home I am going to rack my Apple Jack and try to get it to clear up before freezing it.

That is all from me today! I hope you had a good weekend. Feel free to share what you did this weekend in the comments below! I’ll see you all again tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

Bohemian Rhapsody On The Ukulele?!?

Hey Everyone!

It was super rainy and cold yesterday. It could have been a nice evening to relax with some coffee, but I had some things to do. Right when I got home to gathered the things I needed to return to Lowes, and picked up a thin sheet of paneling for the back of the cubby storage. I was able to sand most of the edges to my liking, so they would be ready for staining whenever I have the time. Here is a quick picture of the back being weighted down to allow the glue to dry in the right spots, as well as the firewood rack.

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Then my hands got super cold, kind of like they are right now! I’m nor sure why but my office is freezing. Anyway I was able to get in side and clean up. I slipped into some comfy clothes. I received my motherboard in the mail yesterday, or the day before, and needed to get it back in my case. Here is a shot of the motherboard being secured to the standoffs.

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There was good and bad news about the whole thing though. As you can see in this picture I was able to get it up and running with Windows 7 Ultimate.

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On the other hand it had no drivers and I didn’t have my factory CD with drivers on it. I tried loading them on to my flash drive and popping it in the USB ports….buuuuut I don’t have those drivers either haha. The only way I can get them installed is via the optical drive (CD drive). I had to come to work to do it because I don’t have anymore of them at home. I can tell you that I think I have them all, I just need to take them home and install them. The awful part will be installing all of the crap back on my drive. I had multiple games and programs. That is the way it goes though so I can’t be too annoyed. ๐Ÿ˜€

My night will be full trying to get everything back up and running well. If I do find any time I might think about re racking my Apple Jack, or playing my Ukulele. I have been trying to learn how to play Bohemian Rhapsody, by Queen. It sounds weird but it is super fun. Here take a look at, who I think is the best Uke player around, playing that exact song!! Awesome!

That will be what I leave you with today, I hope you take the time to watch that video. I’ll be back again Monday with an update from the weekend! C-ya then. ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

So Many Updates! (Pictures)

Hey Everyone!

Back again from a busy week night! I set out to get a few things done last night and with the help of my dad and brother we got them all done.

Somewhat simultaneously, we worked on all of these projects. The first one pictured is the big one. I really wanted to get to work on the cubby storage for the baby’s room. We had to make it on the floor so we had access to all sides at any given time. I used the drawings from yesterday as reference.ย  And , well, here it is:

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I assembled the whole thing with the two long pieces of lumber that I bought. I fashioned them together with wood glue and my nail gun with 2″ brad nails.

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You can see that I have weight on the tops, and for good reason. The bottoms ofย  three of the vertical sections are glued only. There was no other way to attach them, and I didn’t feel comfortable trying to toe nail it in the side.I have talked to a few people about it, and they have suggested if it becomes a problem that they make small brackets that could help hold it all together. I may look into that. The other thing that I think I’m going to do is return the lumber from the other project and get a panel that will fit the back of this to keep it sturdy. You can see the table saw right beside it, that is keeping it up perfectly.

One of the other things we accomplished was getting our ‘wedding tree’ planted. For our wedding we had a tree that we both put soil and water in. It was in place of a candle or sand. Well we lived at my parents house for two years after and it didn’t do well at all. I don’t think it’s dead but it isn’t looking good haha. We wanted it planted at our first home and now it is. We hope that it will grow and recover, but who knows. Ifย  you are curious, it is a Japanese Maple.

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Another big one was, getting our mail issues sorted out. Again you know I didn’t want to be rushed to get my steps fixed. So we went ahead and put in a new mailbox! It was the one that we used for cards at our wedding. My dad had a treated post, and we dug the hole with a post hole digger. We have it close to the house so it will never be a big hassle to get the mail. We didn’t want it by the sidewalk, because we didn’t want kids messing with it. (not that they would)

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I am going to stain the post and the little boards up under the box and throw on some nice stick on numbers for the mailman. I called the post office at 8:15am to get them bright and early. I had them take the hold off of my mail and have them delivering any mail they had and the new mail. This will allow me to take my time fixing the stairs and getting them in the best condition again. I am going to also put outdoor carpet on them for added protection.

Another thing that my brother did for me was fix my fence gate. I don’t have a picture of that but he put in a make shift shim by the post and then moved the mechanism down a bit. The gate door now opens and closes super easy. It really was a big help.

I received my motherboard in the mail yesterday too! I will be putting my PC back together tonight, as well as get some sanding done on the other two projects. It will be a busy night again but worth it. I have been getting quite a bit done lately. While we are still here I can update you on the Apple Jack. It is currently fermenting in my pantry. It has been one full week as of today. Once it slows up a bit I’ll re rack it into other carboys, and add some potassium bicarbonate to the mix, to stop the fermenting process. I will let it sit a bit longer after that and let it clear up. After that the only thing left to do is the freeze distillation.

Here we are, the end. I’m glad you stopped by. I hope you have enjoyed my projects and hectic life! I’ll see you again tomorrow ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

Car Accident & Apple Jack (Pictures)

Hey Everyone!

Yesterday was packed full unexpectedly.

I got a call from my wife at about 2:15pm that she was involved in a car accident. Doctors would suggest against getting in those, as a pregnant woman. It was in no way her fault, as she was stopped at an intersection.

The red car in the middle of the road turned out and hit the other red car, which then hit my wife. Check it:

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My wife was stopped about where she was in the silver car, the whole time.Here is a more close up shot:

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Both of the red cars jacked up their front ends pretty bad. The woman that ended up sliding into my wife was probably going about 50mph when she got hit..probably less when she hit my wife. But still. My wife’s car is not drive able and had to be towed to a local collision company. Her insurance and the others insurances will duke it out and cover everything, including repairs, and rental vehicles. I left work early to go pick her up. She needed to get to the hospital for an ‘extended stress test’ to check her vitals and the babies. We were there for about two hours but everything looked good and we were able to go home. Here is a quick shot I made her take haha:

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Once we left the hospital we picked up dinner and her friend that came into town. She was staying with my parents until we got home. I stuck to my guns and got some of the healthy Chinese options and only found myself eating less than half of it before I was full. Go willpower!

Per my post yesterday, I did start the process to make Apple Jack. I modified my process, due to the lack of time. I ran to the store and got everything I needed, but instead of getting apples and cutting them up, then boiling them I got 100% apple juice not from concentrate. Here you can see that I heated up one gallon at a time, adding sugar, and cinnamon slowly.

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As all that was heating up and dissolving, I started a batch of yeart going to speed up the process. It requires a bit of warm water, some sugar and a 1/4 or so of yeast. Like in this picture it starts to foam up and bubble.

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Since I’m doing this on the cheap, like always, I just grabbed the bread yeast from Walmart. They say it will change the taste, and it might if you left it in there too long, but I won’t. It is important not to get the quick acting yeast if you do it this way.

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Here is just a quick peek at the rest. I poured the hot apple juice into this bowl with a spout, then poured it from the bowl into the funnel. Once the carboy in the sink was full to about the rounding of the top, I cut it off.

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From there I added the rest of the yeast, capped it and gave it a good shake to get the yeast mixed in. I then poured a little bit of water in the airlock and corked it. There she be:

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I ran through that process twice and made two gallons. Form here, once the fermenting is done I’ll technically have hard cider. From there I will do the freeze distillation, for a higher concentration of alcohol. Out of these two gallons I plan on getting a yield of about 2-3 liters of Apple Jack.

I hope you have enjoyed my very random, scary, scientific, and exciting day yesterday! I’ll see you all again Monday for an update on our baby shower and more! I hope to see you then. ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€

Apple Jack!!

Hey Everyone!

It is clearly Thursday and I am alone at work today. The two main people I work with are gone, and I’m going at it alone today. I am fine with this, it actually feels good to be here alone.

Today is the day that my wife’s friend comes in, and we are getting Chinese food for dinner. I have been on a successful diet recently and did some investigating, as far as food choices go. I have decided to stay as healthy as possible, while still ordering food off the menu. I will get some Egg Drop Soup as a starter and Beef and Broccoli for the main course. I know my wife will be getting General Tso’s chicken like she always does.

On a very different note, I think I will start the process to make Apple Jack. I saw a video on it and how easy it was to make and I thought I’d give it a try. It involves ‘Freeze Distilling’ and is pretty simple. Here is are the steps I’m going to follow:

Make Apple Jack
Ingredients:
-5 Gala Apples
-5 McIntosh Apples
-3/4 Cup White Sugar
-1 Tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
Directions:
-Quarter the apples, and place them in a large pot
-Add enough water to cover by at least 2 inches
-Stir in the sugar and cinnamon
-Bring to a boil, and boil uncovered for 1 hour
-Cover the pot, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 more hours
-Strain mixture, and discard solids
-Refrigerate until cold
** You Now Have Cider**

**Quick edit: I will need to ferment the cider**

-Pour cider into suitable food grade bottles
-Freeze overnight, uncovered
-Invert the bottle, into a measuring cup
*As the runoff passes the neck of the bottle it will cause an air lock*
-Lift the bottle every few minutes to allow the runoff to escape
-When the frozen part in the bottle is very pale you will be done
**The Runoff Is Now Apple Jack**
Optional-
-Age the Apple Jack, by storing it in a mason jar for about a week
-For added flavor add Oak chips

I have had an interest in brewing in the past and I am still looking for that drink of choice to get me hooked. My wife’s grandfather makes wine of all kinds and it is delicious. I may have to get his recipe soon. I have tried my hand at making Meade, which is a honey based wine, and here are a few pictures of my two batches from a while ago:

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I made first a very traditional Meade with no real flavor, kinda gross. You can see that is the lighter of the two. The other one I made a few days later was with back berries and you can see that it came out a little darker.I did it on the cheap all for around $20. You can tell by the use of plastic water jugs and balloons, instead of carboys and air locks haha. I did buy a corker, corks, and bottles to make it look good.

For this Apple Jack, I will use mason jars that I already have and try to wing it the rest of the way haha. It basically concentrates the alcohol content of the juice when you freeze it, because the watery part freezes and the rest doesn’t. I’ll try to document what I can, and let you know how it turns out.

That’s all from me today. I think I’ll leave work early since I’m getting kinda bored. Maybe I’ll go buy apples!

C-Ya tomorrow! ๐Ÿ˜€ ๐Ÿ˜€