Brook Cider

by kfrego

Our family rented a house in Louisville, NY. It was a good central location for Dad to get to work during the construction of the St Lawrence Seaway. We lived close to the Grass River. There was plenty of good hunting, fishing, and trapping within walking distance. Older children attended school in Massena, NY. Due to the large number of construction families in the area my sister Sharon and myself attended half day classes. This was a young teenagers dream. We caught our bus at 11:30 AM  for the afternoon session. This gave us from daybreak until almost mid day to pursue all kinds of activities.

Several of us teenagers in Louisville renovated an old building in the woods about a mile out of Louisville. It was our camp/clubhouse. People gave us old lumber, furniture, utensils , etc. for the camp. Nothing fancy, but the roof didn’t leak and the floor was solid. We had a small wood stove and used lanterns for light. In the fall we would have our own hard cider.

Apples dropped off trees or not good enough to sell for eating would be used by local people with apple trees or orchards to make cider. The apple season and cider making started after several good frosts in the fall. We would buy the cider at roadside stands or in local stores. It was reasonably priced. We had a great place in a cold brook for cider. The water was about four inches deep and fast moving. The sun hit the water in this location most of the day and the surrounding area got a good frost every night. We would set our gallon jugs in the water, loosen the cap, and leave it for several days. Good old mother nature, cold nights, sunny days, and cold water allowed the cider to ferment into hard cider. This wasn’t whiskey type, sour, hard cider that half poisoned you. This was slightly tart, barely sweet, hard cider suitable to drink. Nothing scientific, just give it the right conditions and let mother nature do her thing.We shared many meals of fresh cooked fish, fresh wild game, in season vegetables, and hard cider in that old building.

Most kids today wouldn’t consider a camp where you had to walk a mile……….and there Mom’s would never tolerate half day schools.