Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Discussions of fruits/ veggies and grains other then just mashing

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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Wed Mar 20, 2019 1:20 pm

Today I was out working on my yard and cooking some pulled pork and found myself over by my KD starts. Looking down I noticed this
KD START 20 MAR 19 #2 - C.jpg


If you Look real close you will see it has sprouted leaves :D
KD START 20 MAR 19 #3 - C.jpg


I think that officially makes this tree a sapling rather than a start :ebiggrin:

In other news my other plum tree has started to bloom
MULTI PLLUM 20 MAR 19 - C.jpg
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Wed Mar 27, 2019 5:00 pm

I'm excited now. I have 4 apple tree starts that have begun to show signs of waking up for spring and at least another 9 that are green and look alive and ready to start waking up any day now. Some people might not think that 13 successes out of 300 attempts is very good but I am extremely happy with them given that I had to take the cuttings in July rather than when everybody says they should be taken.

Here are some pix of some of the baby trees today
KD START 27 MAR 19 #1 - C.jpg

KD START 27 MAR 19 #2 - C.jpg

KD START 27 MAR 19 #3 - C.jpg


In other news the plum trees are in full bloom
PLUM TREES 27 MAR 19 - C.jpg


and my seckel pear tree is just beginning to bloom
SECKEL PEAR 27 MAR 19 - C.jpg



It's beginning to show promises that this year might just be a good fruit year :D
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby Yebdog3239 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 11:52 am

Congratulations on your Green thumb Cranky!
Spring is still a few weeks away here in Michigan this year. Brr
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Tue Apr 02, 2019 4:58 pm

Yebdog3239 wrote:Congratulations on your Green thumb Cranky!
Spring is still a few weeks away here in Michigan this year. Brr

Thank you, I'm just thrilled with them.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Tue Apr 02, 2019 5:08 pm

My little trees are really starting to go now :D This afternoon I checked on everything and 9 trees have begun showing leaves with another 7 looking like they made it through the winter for a total of 15 trees that should make it. I'm about to head down to the store to get some good dirt so I can move them to larger buckets so they have room to grow for a couple years while I look for some land somewhere to give them a permanent home.

Here are a few pix.
KD 02 APR 19 #3 - C.jpg

KD 02 APR 19 #4 - C.jpg

KD 02 APR 19 #5 - C.jpg


and the star of the show right now
KD 02 APR 19 #2 - C.jpg
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Wed Apr 03, 2019 4:40 pm

I'm just getting over being sick and haven't felt like doing much lately, but today I was feeling a little more motivated and decided to get around to the last of the apple from last year. I figured I would start by running some plain old water through the still and steam cleaning it a bit, then do the 20 gallons or so of apple that needs run and try to get to the spirit runs.

So I filled the boiler with water, flipped the switch and set about cleaning the garage so I can put the Mercedes inside. About 20 minutes later I began smelling the smell of electrical smoke :esurprised: The gauge was still indicating normally and the controller seemed to be working but I turned it off and sat down on a bucket and began opening the box to see if something was shorting. Then I looked down and saw the problem. The way I have my connections set up is a cord comes from the controller and meets a cord from the boiler which couple together with a waterproof twist lock connection. It was that connection that had somehow failed and was melting. So I drained the water out of the boiler, took apart the plugs and ordered some new ones. I guess I will have to wait until next week to try again :(

It's a shame because I was really wanting to empty out the barrel and get the new batch of apple into it and possibly get some rum and neutral wash going and maybe even try to get a proper whiskey started.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby nerdybrewer » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:44 pm

cranky wrote:I'm just getting over being sick and haven't felt like doing much lately, but today I was feeling a little more motivated and decided to get around to the last of the apple from last year. I figured I would start by running some plain old water through the still and steam cleaning it a bit, then do the 20 gallons or so of apple that needs run and try to get to the spirit runs.

So I filled the boiler with water, flipped the switch and set about cleaning the garage so I can put the Mercedes inside. About 20 minutes later I began smelling the smell of electrical smoke :esurprised: The gauge was still indicating normally and the controller seemed to be working but I turned it off and sat down on a bucket and began opening the box to see if something was shorting. Then I looked down and saw the problem. The way I have my connections set up is a cord comes from the controller and meets a cord from the boiler which couple together with a waterproof twist lock connection. It was that connection that had somehow failed and was melting. So I drained the water out of the boiler, took apart the plugs and ordered some new ones. I guess I will have to wait until next week to try again :(

It's a shame because I was really wanting to empty out the barrel and get the new batch of apple into it and possibly get some rum and neutral wash going and maybe even try to get a proper whiskey started.


I feel ya friend, I've been dealing with spinal issues, now kidney issues, snow smashed my shed, too much, and I just want to make some rum and whisky.
Guess it's just a matter of working through it all one step at a time.
Cranky's spoonfeeding:
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=52975

Time and Oak will sort it out.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Wed Apr 03, 2019 6:38 pm

nerdybrewer wrote:I feel ya friend, I've been dealing with spinal issues, now kidney issues, snow smashed my shed, too much, and I just want to make some rum and whisky.
Guess it's just a matter of working through it all one step at a time.

Sorry to hear about your back and kidneys. I heard about your shed, made me glad I'm down by the sound. We got enough snow to make the fruit trees happy but not enough to do any damage. Time is always my biggest enemy but I do what I can and hopefully I can get my summer stock in order before next winter :lolno:
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:26 pm

Spring and my little trees are moving right along :D 15 of them either have leaves or are showing signs of sprouting
KD 09 APR 19 #1 - C.jpg

KD 02 APR 19 #3 - C.jpg

KD 09 APR 19 #8 - C.jpg


Everything is also waking up for the year. The blueberries have just started to bloom
BLUEBERRIES 09 APR 19 #1 - C.jpg


and the cherries and seckel pear are now in full bloom
CHERRY 09 APR 19 #1 - C.jpg

SECKEL PEAR 09 APR 19 - C.jpg

The apples are just beginning to flower and I'm looking forward to another year of fruit.

In preparation I've been cleaning my still. I got the new plugs last Friday and got it wired and back together but didn't have time to do anything until today. The other day when I filled the boiler I thought I smelled mold, so I filled it with water and ran it 3 times to seam it good and make sure there was nothing nasty in there and now it's all ready for the final runs from last years cider.

I need to get 10 gallons of the cider bottled, I actually ran out of cider which I like to use for cider batter (like beer batter only with cider). I like making cider battered vegetables in the summer so I need cider for that. Last night I made a batch of onion rings and used Angry Orchard cider. I'm actually kind of offended by Angry Orchard because they spew so much BS on their commercials and it has a fake taste to it so I really need to get some bottled.

Yesterday I pulled the bung out of the barrel of brandy and gave it a sniff, it seems to be taking on a bit more oak smell. As soon as I get last years apple run, which should be soon.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby Bushman » Tue Apr 09, 2019 4:34 pm

I think you are a week or two ahead of us up north with the growing season Cranky.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Tue Apr 09, 2019 7:51 pm

Bushman wrote:I think you are a week or two ahead of us up north with the growing season Cranky.

We tend to run a bit earlier than you guys up north. I just looked back through some posts and it looks like we might be running a week or so earlier than last year. I really need to figure out how to finally keep the birds away from my cherries.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby NZChris » Wed Apr 10, 2019 12:23 am

You might enjoy this Oz And James Drink To Britain doco Cranky, especially the cider segment at the start. The brewers say they have "sleepin' cider" and "fightin' cider" and I'm not sure if I would want either of them in my own cellar, but apparently the locals like it. James May describes it as 'expensive vinegar'.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WEDuLeJrxQ
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:24 pm

NZChris wrote:You might enjoy this Oz And James Drink To Britain doco Cranky, especially the cider segment at the start. The brewers say they have "sleepin' cider" and "fightin' cider" and I'm not sure if I would want either of them in my own cellar, but apparently the locals like it. James May describes it as 'expensive vinegar'.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WEDuLeJrxQ


Thank you Chris, I enjoyed that :D I like Oz and James's shows and hadn't seen season 3, now I'll need to watch the whole season.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Wed Apr 10, 2019 5:33 pm

I got around to doing some runs today. did one more stripping run then added it back into the boiler, added in the 5 gallons of pear and am now doing a slow careful run at a collection rate of 1/4 pint every 5 minutes. I usually run a bit faster than that but am purposely running this one slower because it's all the pear I have. Om on jar #40 now, expecting around 60 total (I think). It smells amazing I love that apple-pear smell and flavor. I hope I manage to get the blend right because it is real promising right now.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:35 pm

Did the blending on yesterdays run, I got around a gallon at 56-56% after cuts which isn't really great but with apples you get what you get. I even got a bit sloppy with the cuts in anticipation of extended aging. I still have another 2 spirit runs to go which should be larger than yesterdays run so we sill see just how much I wind up with when all is said and done. I'm still hoping to get a full five gallons but we will just have to see.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby hellbilly007 » Thu Apr 11, 2019 6:47 pm

Cranky, would mind sharing what you did different this time, with your tree starters? I am planting fruit trees this year and figure this would be a good future reference. Thanks in advance
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Fri Apr 12, 2019 7:32 pm

hellbilly007 wrote:Cranky, would mind sharing what you did different this time, with your tree starters? I am planting fruit trees this year and figure this would be a good future reference. Thanks in advance


I'm not exactly sure what you are asking for but I'll try to tell you what I do, although in all fairness I tend to do everything wrong according to experts.

If you look back to last July I took cuttings of my favorite apple tree which had been doomed by a constriction project. This was totally the wrong time of year to try anything like this but at that point the parent only had about another week to live. The ones that succeeded the bark was scraped, they were dipped in rooting compound I got at Lowe's (CloneX did not work) and placed in a planter full of potting soil, which was then placed in a white trash bag, the top was tied shut and it was left outside in a shaded area for several weeks, checking on them once a week to make sure they didn't need more water and let some fresh air in. Once I thought they had been in there long enough to start rooting (I think this was something like 2 months but I'd have to go back and see for sure), I took them out and placed them in individual pots with potting soil and kept them in the shade under a big tree. I kept them covered with plastic through the coldest part of winter and kept an eye on them as spring showed up. The ones that were still green or showing signs of growth were then moved to a sunny area. I have an area behind my house that anything placed there grows like crazy. I then kept an eye on them to make sure they didn't dry out.

As time permits I am working on transplanting them to 5 gallon buckets with holes drilled in the bottom and large planters filled with a combination of Sta-Green and Miracle Grow garden soil. This is a method I have used on all my trees. I keep trees in planters because I have never intended the house I currently live in to be my forever house so I want my trees to be transportable. Most of my trees are in 55 gallon barrels that have been cut in half, filled with garden soil, straight from the bag, (Not potting soil and not mixed with regular dirt) and allowed to grow like that. Every year, after the first year, I give them a couple of fruit tree fertilizer spikes and keep an eye on them to make sure they don't dry out. Potted trees can dry out even in wet weather.

Growing in pots is not the best way to go, but It's what I need to do til I find that perfect piece of forever land. I figure a 5 gallon bucket is good for 3 years, maybe 4 then they will have to go into a bigger bucket. I have some trees that have grown as much as 8 feet tall in a year or two this way and I have others that have only grown 3 feet tall in 6 years. I expect the KDs to go pretty tall in the next couple years because the parent tree would have been very tall had it not fallen over 30 years or so ago before it grew another 20 feet.

Ultimately I'm hoping to send at least some of these to a few people to find out how they do in other regions but I need to get then to at least a few feet tall before I can think about that.

I hope that answered your questions, if not feel free to ask any more you may have. :D
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby hellbilly007 » Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:36 am

Thank you Cranky for that. I'm planning on planting quite a few fruit trees this year. Also wanting to get cuttings from some of my dad's trees.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Sat Apr 27, 2019 12:40 pm

I've been so busy lately I haven't had time to do much more than think about fruit :( but today I managed to get all of the baby trees into 5 gallon buckets or planters. They should be happy there for at least a couple years. I'm having problems with bugs eating their leaves, it actually looks like it's being done by ants, which hopefully I can do something about. I also talked Mrs. Cranky into letting me buy some tomato plants which I'm making a new raised bed for. We got 7 really nice San Marsanos and a black krim, which I've wanted to grow for a while. I wanted to buy a a branywine but my wife put her food down because she doesn't like them but I really like them for burgers because they are huge, but she doesn't like how seedy they are.

One of the main reasons I have been busy is the Apple Reaper just got a new Fitech fuel injection system :D I figure the truck saves me about $6,000 a year in car payments so I could spend $1,000 on something that will make it run better, last longer, get better gas mileage, be more environmentally friendly and best of all the system is comparable with alcohol :ebiggrin: Now one of my big goals in life is to some day run it on 100% apple juice. I did the math and figure it will take right at 6,000 pounds of apples to make enough neutral to fill the 20 gallon tank one time but it is possible :mrgreen:
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby kiwi Bruce » Sat Apr 27, 2019 3:04 pm

cranky wrote: I'm having problems with bugs eating their leaves, it actually looks like it's being done by ants, which hopefully I can do something about.

The problem could be aphid if your seeing ants...The ants "farm" aphid, they protect them from predators, move them to new parts of a plant if there is over crowding and in return the ants get to "milk" the aphid for a sugar rich juice they produce. Inspect the plant stems an the leaves...you'll see the little bastards if that's what you've got.
I found cigar stubs make a very good organic tincture when I soak three or four in a 1/2 gallon of water and use it in a hand sprayer...but then I smoke cigars of an evening, but any tobacco product will work.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Sat Apr 27, 2019 7:13 pm

kiwi Bruce wrote:
cranky wrote: I'm having problems with bugs eating their leaves, it actually looks like it's being done by ants, which hopefully I can do something about.

The problem could be aphid if your seeing ants...The ants "farm" aphid, they protect them from predators, move them to new parts of a plant if there is over crowding and in return the ants get to "milk" the aphid for a sugar rich juice they produce. Inspect the plant stems an the leaves...you'll see the little bastards if that's what you've got.
I found cigar stubs make a very good organic tincture when I soak three or four in a 1/2 gallon of water and use it in a hand sprayer...but then I smoke cigars of an evening, but any tobacco product will work.

Thank you Bruce, I hadn't thought of aphids, I'll have a close look at them. I was debating just what to do, my wife suggested spraying with soapy water but I'm thinking the Tobacco idea might be better. Neither one of us smoke but I can go buy a cigar if it protects my trees.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby Expat » Sun Apr 28, 2019 5:42 am

cranky wrote:
kiwi Bruce wrote:
cranky wrote: I'm having problems with bugs eating their leaves, it actually looks like it's being done by ants, which hopefully I can do something about.

The problem could be aphid if your seeing ants...The ants "farm" aphid, they protect them from predators, move them to new parts of a plant if there is over crowding and in return the ants get to "milk" the aphid for a sugar rich juice they produce. Inspect the plant stems an the leaves...you'll see the little bastards if that's what you've got.
I found cigar stubs make a very good organic tincture when I soak three or four in a 1/2 gallon of water and use it in a hand sprayer...but then I smoke cigars of an evening, but any tobacco product will work.

Thank you Bruce, I hadn't thought of aphids, I'll have a close look at them. I was debating just what to do, my wife suggested spraying with soapy water but I'm thinking the Tobacco idea might be better. Neither one of us smoke but I can go buy a cigar if it protects my trees.


Soap and water worked well when the aphids were eating my magnolia.

If it is them, tablespoon of liquid soap in a gallon of water and spray when its cool out so the little bastards have maximum time to soak. Works a treat.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:20 pm

I checked the baby trees and found no ads today, I didn't find any ants either but they are greatly improving since being moved into the buckets. I think I lost one, maybe two but the rest are still working on putting out leaves. I got them organized and away from weeds and morning glories and on top of a tarp which should keep the weeds and morning glories at bay. I also started on the raised bed for the tomatoes, which I hope to have planted tomorrow. I may even sneak out and buy some squash seeds to plant at the base of the tomatoes.

We also got some strawberry jam and some blackberry jelly put up today :D so we are set for jelly for a while.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby Ross056 » Wed May 15, 2019 2:49 am

Cranky I probably know the answer to this but did you ever do anything with those strawberry tree fruit you mentioned a couple of years ago. Reason I ask is that I have found a whole heap of trees in parks that are loaded at the moment and I am undecided whether it is worth picking and fermenting them.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Wed May 15, 2019 6:01 am

Ross056 wrote:Cranky I probably know the answer to this but did you ever do anything with those strawberry tree fruit you mentioned a couple of years ago. Reason I ask is that I have found a whole heap of trees in parks that are loaded at the moment and I am undecided whether it is worth picking and fermenting them.

A couple things got in the way of me doing that. Time got the better of me and I never wound up with enough to do anything with and I think you would need a steam rig to do anything with them. They are very difficult to get juice out of so I think you would have to ferment on the pulp and steam them to make it work. I do think they could be a very worthwhile project if I ever get the time to make a steam rig but not sure when I will ever get the time to do that.
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Re: Lets get carried away with fruity goodness

Postby cranky » Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:48 pm

Fruit season is fast approaching and as usual I'm not ready. I'm not really sure I am even going to do anything with apples this year.

You all know that isn't true because you know once apples start producing I can't help myself but I haven't even run off all of last years apples or bottled the cider that I plan on keeping as cider.

The fruit is going crazy this year. My plum trees are producing like never before
BANANA PLUMS 06 JUN 19 #4 - C.jpg


The blueberries and Asian pear too but the pictures didn't come out. Pretty much everything, except the Seckel pear, that one has been real problematic.

Even the grafted KD is producing well
JD GRAFT 06 JUN 18 #4 - C.jpg

JD GRAFT 06 JUN 18 #5 - C.jpg

JD GRAFT 06 JUN 18 #6 - C.jpg


It looks like it might be a record year for fruit here.

Unfortunately the news isn't all good :(

Most of the KD starts appear to have failed :cry: It currently appears that only 3 are doing well and one more is still in there fighting but struggling.
KD STARTS 06 JUN 19 #5 - C.jpg

KD STARTS 06 JUN 19 #4 - C.jpg


But I'm very happy to have those 4 where they are now.
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