These amazing days of over 70 degrees make one forget the weather that is waiting around the corner. It’s been a real pleasure to pick apples. And you may have seen us in front of the barn, doing the pressing for cider — to drink it fresh-pressed as well as put up for hard cider. It’s a little bit of a dance to avoid getting stung by the bees that are delighted by the juicy crushed apples.

Help Fix ME!

I know, that sounds a little bit odd, but it refers to a great program to make spaying or neutering a pet affordable for everyone. You can contribute to the funding of the Companion Animal Sterilization Fund just by checking a box on your Maine State Tax Return. This fund helps income-eligible pet owners with the cost of spaying or neutering their dog or cat. And hopefully through this program there will be fewer surprise litters, feral cats, and overwhelmed pet shelters. FMI on benefiting from the fund call: 1-800-367-1317

Fallen firefighters honored

Lt. Harold (Ed) Moore of our Jackson Fire Department was honored, along with two other Maine firefighters, at the 40th annual National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend in Emmitsburg, Maryland. Their names are added to the memorial itself. It features a sculpted Maltese Cross, the traditional symbol of the fire service, and an engraved plaque on the monument bears a message from then-President Ronald Reagan, according to Tonya Hoover, acting U.S. fire administrator. “At the base of the monument is the eternal flame, symbolizing the spirit of all firefighters, past, present and future. Since 1981 it has served as a place of remembrance for the sacrifices and contributions of firefighters lost in the line of duty. The names on the memorial not only memorialize those men and women, but also represent the history of the American fire service.” (wabi.tv/2021/10/03/three-maine-firefighters-honored-during-national-event)

Town Office

Next Select Board meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m.

Maine history nugget

In the late 1800s, local farmers used a horse-powered mill to grind apples before they were dropped into the cider press. We use an outdoor sink with a stainless steel in-sink electric grinder. We have our buckets lined up in the kitchen for their initial fermentation. We’ll enjoy the sound of their bubbling airlocks, knowing the yeasts are doing their good work, for the next few weeks, before the cider is transferred into glass carboys.

Back in the 1800s, “apples were cultivated more for drinking than for eating purposes. Maine prohibition law was noticeably cloudy on the matter of cider. Although radical temperance factions advocated a bold strike at the roots of evil by eliminating apple trees, moderates evidently understood that depriving the farmer of his cider would doom the movement. As a result, the law permitted the manufacture of cider, but prohibited its sale in quantities under five gallons, or as a beverage, or for ‘tippling purposes.” (P. 150, A Day’s Work: A Sampler of Historic Maine Photographs 1860-1920, Part I by W.H. Bunting).

This begs the question of what was being done with a purchase of a barrel of cider of 5, or more, gallons! And, eliminating apple trees?! The horror! I consider apple trees to be one of the most iconic aspects of the traditional New England farm.