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Scooter68

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Well I am starting to harvest apples from the trees this year. Birds are forcing me to pick and let the apples finish ripening in a cool room now. Hate that because as soon as the apples get a significaant amount of red (On top of course where it's hard to see from ground) that's when the birds start ripping into the apples. I can cut off what they have destroyed but often that's 1/2 of the apple. ARRGH

But why no Apple Wine??? Well I just popped a bottle of my 2019 Apple Cider last week. And it was so fantastic (made with no added sugar) and a LOT less effort to do, that I've decided I'll just for the natural Apple Cider (Hard) last years batch is already gone I was short of apples. Now I know why - Birds and squirrels will literally strip my trees if I let them (They must pay for this.....).
Foil - iridescent foil strips don't see to work and they are a pain to take down. So I put up some where I could reach them and I pick the apples as soon as I can see red on top. (Still the birds have hit about 30-40 percent of those. Cant shoot the birds cause I rarely see them and where I live my place is surrounded by other homes and inside city limits. Squirrels however - well there are fewer now than last year. Pellet rifle and patience and I can find them in the right spot where I can safely take them out....

So the good news is that the Apple Cider was definitely the hands down winner and that's the way I'll go with apples from now on.

This is the first 1/2 gallon of AppleCiderRaw from the trees this year. Had to lay the bottle on it's side to fit in the fridge.separation is interesting and the foam refuses to go away. So far I have 1 1/2 gallons plus I had a pint left over - that became my treat for last night and today.
 

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BernardSmith

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I feel your pain. We have only one apple tree and the bloody squirrels have been stealing them. Here, they won't be ripe for another 6 weeks or more. We are trying to use a salve of cayenne on the trunk. But the real problem is that I had pruned the tree (it's a very young 'un) last year to keep all the fruiting branches at a height that we don't need to use a ladder to pick .. a perfect height for those field rats we call squirrels.
 

Scooter68

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Well if it helps... I took a paint roller handle and fashioned that into a rather nice hook to pop off apples that are out of reach and it screws onto an extension poleKIMG2097.JPGKIMG2096.JPG. Here we have deer who will break lower branches strip leaves etc. The only thing positive is that they will clean up the occasional leaf that comes off with the apple. Using a hook of course you can still get a feel for how hard you have to pull and avoid the un-ripe apples that aren't ready. Our trees branch out so low that as you said the squirrels can just jump from the ground. Add to that ... right next to the row of apple trees are my blueberry bushes currently under netting - so the squirrels can also just climb up the netting and jump to the trees. That's why last early in spring I took out about half a dozen squirrels before they had a chance at anything more than the birdseed I had out. (Trickey they came for birdseed and I was ready. Pellet gun does a nice job quietly.
 

hounddawg

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Well if it helps... I took a paint roller handle and fashioned that into a rather nice hook to pop off apples that are out of reach and it screws onto an extension poleView attachment 64488View attachment 64487. Here we have deer who will break lower branches strip leaves etc. The only thing positive is that they will clean up the occasional leaf that comes off with the apple. Using a hook of course you can still get a feel for how hard you have to pull and avoid the un-ripe apples that aren't ready. Our trees branch out so low that as you said the squirrels can just jump from the ground. Add to that ... right next to the row of apple trees are my blueberry bushes currently under netting - so the squirrels can also just climb up the netting and jump to the trees. That's why last early in spring I took out about half a dozen squirrels before they had a cg hance at anything more than the birdseed I had out. (Trickey they came for birdseed and I was rclimb up your trees, eady. Pellet gun does a nice job quietly.
if you don't mind i got a couple suggestions , plus a reply to something you told me awhile back, ,,
first, you know what a fruit picking basket is i reckon,,, i use one, i got a extendable paint pole 15 footer, i put the fruit picking basket on the end of the paint pole and use a hose clamp to hold it on my pole, if your trees are apart so squirrels can't jump across you can get some roofing 12 inch valley metal so if your trees are close to each other,,you can wrap loosely around the tree trunk up about 4 foot, the squirrels can't climb past, , and after you telling me about well fighting for my fruit, i got my dads hunting grade air rifle i bought my dad a few years back, it shoots a 22 caliber pellet, so i'm thinning the masses, thank you, also that valley metal needs to be at least 12 inches wide, wrap loosely and tack on, then about every three years you can pull your metal and redo with a longer piece of metal so it is not tight on the trunks, if you have any trees to close you can put valley metal on them as well, the lumber company sells valley metal,, ,,
Dawg
 

BernardSmith

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If the metal sheeting comes in 12 in high rolls how do you get it four feet high without providing the squirrels a toe hold at each join?
 

Scooter68

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Sadly these trees branch out before 4 feet in height and Yesterday I identified the real culprits this year - Crows. Bold and Brazen.
I have thinned the squirrel population with my Hunting grade air rifle and Crossman long-rifled barrel pellet pistol. 7 squirrels down so far this year.
I think I've got about one more week of this to deal with before either they will have destroyed all the apples left or I will have picked them - early but all with some red on them. I'm going to park my van by the trees - and periodically I'll unlock/lock it and get the horn to beep. That's about the best I can do.
As for the picking basket.... I need to look that up on Amazon - Sure it would be easier than letting them hit the ground or my head (Twice now) with the biggest apples on the tree OUCH !!! Today A I another 5 gallon bucket of apples to process - they all have some bad bruise, crow pecks or issue that makes me need to process them ASAP.

Thanks for the suggestions.
... and after you telling me about well fighting for my fruit, i got my dads hunting grade air rifle i bought my dad a few years back, it shoots a 22 caliber pellet, so i'm thinning the masses,... Dawg

You probably already know this but if you don't eat squirrel you probably have a hairy friend who would do that for you. I found out a while back that possums are carnivorous and will eat things like rats. (Found that out watch a video of someone 'ratting' on a farm - they just dumped the dead rats in a place for their possies to find and eat. So... ya don't have eat them yourselves and after learning more about possums... I guess they are pretty good ol friends eating ticks etc
 

hounddawg

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If the metal sheeting comes in 12 in high rolls how do you get it four feet high without providing the squirrels a toe hold at each join?
no you wrap one layer horizontally 4 foot up the squirrel climbs up about 4 feet but can't grip the horizontal band of metal, of which is really aluminum, just one band wrapped horizontally if you place it to low he can jump past it if you place it to close to the ground,,,, at 3 to 4 foot you ain't bending over to tack it into place,
Dawg
 

hounddawg

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Sadly these trees branch out before 4 feet in height and Yesterday I identified the real culprits this year - Crows. Bold and Brazen.
I have thinned the squirrel population with my Hunting grade air rifle and Crossman long-rifled barrel pellet pistol. 7 squirrels down so far this year.
I think I've got about one more week of this to deal with before either they will have destroyed all the apples left or I will have picked them - early but all with some red on them. I'm going to park my van by the trees - and periodically I'll unlock/lock it and get the horn to beep. That's about the best I can do.
As for the picking basket.... I need to look that up on Amazon - Sure it would be easier than letting them hit the ground or my head (Twice now) with the biggest apples on the tree OUCH !!! Today A I another 5 gallon bucket of apples to process - they all have some bad bruise, crow pecks or issue that makes me need to process them ASAP.

Thanks for the suggestions.



You probably already know this but if you don't eat squirrel you probably have a hairy friend who would do that for you. I found out a while back that possums are carnivorous and will eat things like rats. (Found that out watch a video of someone 'ratting' on a farm - they just dumped the dead rats in a place for their possies to find and eat. So... ya don't have eat them yourselves and after learning more about possums... I guess they are pretty good ol friends eating ticks etc
a possum will eat about anything but another possum.
Dawg
 

Scooter68

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Bought a picking basket - that saved a lot of the apples from bruises from hitting the ground and branches on the way down.

TODAY - I'm starting the first 3 gallon batch of Cider actually starting with 3.8 gallons of juice since there is so much pulp in the unfiltered juice.
Starting numbers SG 1.046* pH 3.19 (I'll leave the pH alone as long as fermentation starts. The juice doesn't taste all that acidic so... Just added yeast nutrient and got my yeast re-hydrated before pitching it.

Still have 3 bushels of apples to cut up plus apples from one smaller tree that will probably amount to about 1/2 bushel. This tree is very slow to ripen and the birds don't seem interested ..... yet.

* Potential ABV of 7.35%
 

hounddawg

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Bought a picking basket - that saved a lot of the apples from bruises from hitting the ground and branches on the way down.

TODAY - I'm starting the first 3 gallon batch of Cider actually starting with 3.8 gallons of juice since there is so much pulp in the unfiltered juice.
Starting numbers SG 1.046* pH 3.19 (I'll leave the pH alone as long as fermentation starts. The juice doesn't taste all that acidic so... Just added yeast nutrient and got my yeast re-hydrated before pitching it.

Still have 3 bushels of apples to cut up plus apples from one smaller tree that will probably amount to about 1/2 bushel. This tree is very slow to ripen and the birds don't seem interested ..... yet.

* Potential ABV of 7.35%
that fruit basket beats sliced bread huh?
Dawg
 

Scooter68

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24 hours into ferment of 3.8 gallons of Apple Cider. Really nice foam layer.KIMG2127.JPGKIMG2125.JPG

You can see one the two buckets of apple I still have cut, crush and run through my juicer . There's about 3 bushels more I having ripening. These two buckets have apples with bruises and spot I have to cut off then crush, press into juice. Work work work. I thought retirement was going to be easy. 😀
 

Scooter68

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24 hours into ferment of 3.8 gallons of Apple Cider. Really nice foam layer.View attachment 64780View attachment 64781

You can see one the two buckets of apple I still have cut, crush and run through my juicer . There's about 3 bushels more I having ripening. These two buckets have apples with bruises and spot I have to cut off then crush, press into juice. Work work work. I thought retirement was going to be easy. 😀
 

Scooter68

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ARRGGGH. I now have created 3 gallons of Apple cider VINEGAR. ITS got that distinct odor about it. Racking it tonight and taking the carboy far away from my other wines that are aging. Extra thorough cleaning on everything that's been in contact with this batch. Well my wife likes t9 use apple cider vinegar in her drinking water, and a wide variety of things.

Sigh!
 

hounddawg

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ARRGGGH. I now have created 3 gallons of Apple cider VINEGAR. ITS got that distinct odor about it. Racking it tonight and taking the carboy far away from my other wines that are aging. Extra thorough cleaning on everything that's been in contact with this batch. Well my wife likes t9 use apple cider vinegar in her drinking water, and a wide variety of things.

Sigh!
aw man no joking you have my deepest condolences.
Richard
 

Scooter68

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Well there is an upside to this. My wife drinks, baths with etc Apple Cider Vinegar. It's $4.35./gallon so I guess it will still be useful..... to her.

The plastic fermentation bucket has been washed out, hit with clorox, then dishwashing liquid, and next it will sit outside in the sun for a day. Then washed again and sanitized. I just bought 2 new buckets so I might just retire this one for a while.... just to be sure. Paranoid - Not if they are really out to get you - or your wine. :s
 

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