Rich Local History Comes Alive to Help Us Make Pomegranate Juice!

The apple crusher was missing a leg and the wooden pulley was no longer usable. We had no idea if the motor still worked, if the old v-belt would hold together, or if I could rebuild the wooden pulley. But, for those of you who know me … this was a challenge I couldn’t resist.

If you remember our post last year about some equipment gifted to us by our neighbor (the antique apple crusher and cider press), this post will be especially fun for you.

I spent about five hours rebuilding the wooden pulley, oiling and greasing the device, and cleaning the crusher shredder.

It was built for apples … but we figured it could do pomegranates too.

Mind you, this thing hadn’t been used in at least forty years …

It sprung to life like a champ! And in less than 15 minutes, we had all those pomegranates we just picked shredded and ready for juicing!

Note: Once again, I waxed nostalgic for good old made-in-America . That motor is a 1/2 hp GE motor … I have no idea how old it is … but it’s a beast!

Okay, so before I go any further, want to guess how many gallons of juice came from this year’s pomegranate harvest? Hold that thought ….

Unfortunately, the giant cider press needs more work than we had time for … we had to get this year’s crop juiced … so that antique press will have to wait for another day to be resurrected. We used our tiny (by comparison) little press and it took 8 pressings (we had to fill it, press and empty eight times).

Okay, here’s this magic old device in action:

Antique apple crusher eats pomegranates

Okay, now that you’ve seen it in action, and saw how many pomegranates we picked before the flood, now’s time for the big reveal! Ready? How many gallons of juice?

One of three large containers of crushed pomegranates


Yes, thirteen gallons of fresh pomegranate juice. We are freezing some, drinking some, and fermenting some into hard ‘pomenade’. Of course we are. 😎

Prepping the for Flood

We haven’t posted anything recently because we’ve been busy preparing for flood … moving things out of the barn or up higher, barricading the greenhouse, removing the creek pump, cleaning gutters, checking aqueducts, etc.

After 8″ of rain in 48 hours, with 6″ of it in 24 hours, happy to report the barn and greenhouse still look like this:

Creekside barn and greenhouse prepped for flood

This was the first flooding rain we’ve had since the fire damaged the surrounding watershed. We were preparing and anticipating much worse, but so relieved we over-prepared! There’s still a long rainy season ahead — if it is going to be like this, we’ll probably remain prepped even though we have over-crowded garages and other outbuilding.

The animals were grumpy, and the rain made things very messy for them, but today sun shines and they are out munching on grass and drying out.

This is how our rebuilt aqueduct fared (not quite as well)

I’m Not Clairvoyant … BUT

I see a lot of pomegranate juice in our future!

  • a tractor with a box full of pomegranates on the back
  • a bunch of light-pink pomegranates on a tree
  • a box full of pomegranates
  • a tree of pomegranate fruit
  • a pink pomegrante on a tree with yellow and green leaves

The trees were a gift to us from Mom and Dad Lusk in 2004 or 2005. They chose several varieties for us from Mendon’s Nursery (The nursery was lost in the Camp Fire).

Last year, we carried buckets of water to the trees after the Bear Fire so we could keep them alive. There was a pool in the creek about 250′ from the trees and we dropped buckets into the pool from our wooden bridge like dipping into a well. Even though it was some work, it was kind of fun, too. These trees are normally watered from our aqueduct — the one that burned last year and we rebuilt this year.

Happy to report our emergency watering last year worked, the aqueduct consistently delivered water this year, and the trees were the more abundant this year than ever before. (A warm, dry spring also contributed to successful bloom and fruit set).

Now … the dilemma.

How do we get the juice out of all those?

We usually cut them in half and wack them on the back with a wooden spoon until all the seeds fall out. Then we juice the seeds in a conical hand juicer. That approach won’t work with so many. We have tried using our wine press on quartered pomegranates, but they really don’t press well with those hard, tough skins. I’m afraid that if we attempt to use the chipper we use for the apple cider apples, we’ll look like a Halloween scene … or maybe ‘Fargo’ without the snow.


Jack, Lions and Bears!

Jack Frost took a swipe at the garden this morning. Fatal for things like squash, cucumbers, melons. Damaging to peppers, tomatoes, basil, dahlias.

Our neighbor texted us yesterday and said a mountain lion was spotted heading our way … here’s the image her cam captured:

Mountain Lion about 5:00 a.m.

Same neighbor is being frequented by bears … a mom and cubs and this big guy:

Big Black Bear

We can deal with the frost. We sure hope the lions and bears stay away! Neighbor is less than 0.5 mile from us.

We have started to patrol the pasture with a dog and the goats again — hopefully to discourage the lion.

We are diligently picking and removing fallen fruit to make things less appealing to the bears — we hope.

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