Apple Cider Press

Visiting my grandmother in the fall always meant picking apples from her backyard orchard and drinking apple cider. Now that she’s gone and my parents live in the house, we knew there would be several trees full of apples that needed to be cidered.

I spent a lovely day picking apples with my parents while Gordon built an apple grinder and press. He used these plans from Matthias Wandel for the grinder and designed a small press using a scissor or bottle jack. Continue reading

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Dutch Oven Stand

Dutch Oven Stand mock-upWe wanted an easy project to test out the DIY blacksmith forge Gordon built at the cabin last weekend, and this dutch oven stand seemed perfect. We had seen similar stands at several mountain man rendezvous and really liked the idea. This stand is easily portable and makes cooking with a dutch oven over an open fire easier. It also gives us more control over the heat under the oven because we can adjust the height.  Continue reading

Make a Smoker from a 55 Gallon Drum

Smoker with meatWe had been wanting a smoker for awhile, but were not willing to spend the equivalent of two months rent on a Traeger. Fortunately for us, Popular Mechanics came out with plans to build your own for between $50-$100 dollars. Much better!

The plans are straightforward and funny, which makes the process more fun. We highly recommend this smoker, as it has led to countless delicious hunks of smoked meat. Continue reading

Pizza Dough Press

Pizza PressWe bought an outdoor pizza oven for the back deck this summer in celebration of actually having a deck. After lots of pizza parties we realized the most time-consuming part of the whole process was rolling out the dough, since the pizzas themselves only take 2 minutes to cook. So we made a pizza dough press to do the dough shaping for us.

It’s basically an oversize tortilla press with some modifications.

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Handmade Mountain Dulcimer

Sometimes the power goes out and you can’t actually use any of your power tools. Sometimes you want to form an impromptu bluegrass band anDulcimer on porchd don’t have an instrument handy. Just in case both of those things happen at the same time, we made a dulcimer using only non-power tools and typed out all the directions.

If you’ve ever wanted to try making a stringed instrument, the dulcimer is really the place to start. It’s relatively easy to make and easy to play, and will make your Appalachian ancestors proud.

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