Climate change, plague, war, cultural conflict, economic uncertainty and personal challenges have been wearing us down. We feel cranky, critical, helpless, witchy.

We moan or chuckle, smirk or snort over how we’re becoming nattering nabobs of negativity.* Then, we find a way to ditch doldrums by pitching energies into a neighborhood project. The annual apple press juicing party hosted by Zippy and Carolyne Singer is a premium example.

Zippy says the hand-made press was given to the Singers by Steve and Wendy Littell in 1971. Since then, it has been used for every community apple harvest.

Please note: photos outlining the apple press work flow were taken over several years–they’re not in chronological order.

Early bird pickers gather apples on the ground.

photo by Marisa Candace Rheem Macklin

Frederick Macklin is the master ladder picker/shaker.

photo by Marisa Candace Rheem Macklin

Jasper Bayless, an intrepid tree climber, picks and tosses apples.

Marisa Macklin has the gumption to experiment with a pole can collector.

She discovers this tool is useless. It is not even good for bonking apples down.

Greg Gunheim, the giant tree shaker, takes harvest efficiency to a new level. (He playfully claims to be 5′ 18″ tall.)

I shoot hundreds of falling apples, am bonked on the head ten times, but end up with only one action pic of apples in mid-air.

Zippy-Ann Derock, Zippy Singer’s neighbor, drives the load to the apple press site.

photo by David McCullough

Apples are washed.

They’re loaded into the apple catcher bin where

Marisa mashes them into the grinder bin.

Apple crud flies out onto us and everywhere.

The grinder is driven by an antique General Electric washing machine engine, which has been chugging along for 51 years.

Greg, Marisa and Katy maneuver the barrel of crunched, ground apples beneath the press.

Jasper takes a turn at operating the crank.

The crank drives the screw and press.

Katy Bayless turns the crank with dancing fingers.

Ron Rasmussen catches the juice,

which sometimes trickles and other times gushes into the collecting pan.

Here’s a more beautiful photo of the juice. Champagne colored juice comes from the light apples, caramel colored juice comes from a conglomeration of red apples.

photo by Marisa Candace Rheem Macklin

David McCullough notices the grinding and pressing ninjaninja shshshnnnnshssh songs are interrupted by a slight slow down and whispered scritch. He lubricates the screw with sunflower oil.

The screw is G2G. BTW, we especially enjoy the rocket shirt worn by Quinn Bayless, a techno-savy youngster working with 20th century oldsters and real deal old timey equipment.

Juice resumes filling the collecting pan.

The barrel of left over apple crud is collected and transported by wheelbarrow into the meadow, where deer will enjoy munching it.

When the collecting pan is nearly full, the juice is poured into another pan for filtering.

Kathleen Rasmussen pours the juice through cheese cloth.

Filtered juice is funneled into containers that Carolyne has been saving all year.

Warren Doyle, Jim Butler and Zippy take a break.

photo by David McCullough

Traditionally, we bet on how many gallons are juiced. Calculations are made carefully with close supervision by contestants. The 2022 total is 57 gallons with Katy’s score coming in first place.

The next morning, Marisa spoke my mind when she drank vibrant, ever-most delicious apple juice from a wine glass on her deck and said, “This is a great day!”

We thank Carolyne and Zippy for organizing and hosting the apple party.

In addition to crew members captured in these photos, we thank Toni Gail, Naomi Granoff, Brian White, and Vic Wright–all excellent teammates who added to the camaraderie.

We are grateful to the trees. Some apple trees have produced fruit for 50 years or more– thanks to an ecosystem conducive to thriving gardens, orchards, meadows and forests.


Facebook fans will enjoy seeing Warren Doyle’s nifty video of the 2022 apple party.

*nattering nabobs of negativity is a phrase uttered by Vice President Spiro Agnew in 1970. I never would have remembered it if Hannah Clayborn had not mentioned it at a recent book group meeting. BTW, if you would like to receive notices of readings and meetings, contact Hank Birnbaum. Let me know if you want his contact info on my Contact Page.

If you would like to receive email notices for Wild Art blog stories, let me know on the Contact Page.

5 thoughts on “Juice

  1. Amazing! Inspiring!
    Looks like that “perfect day” everyone wishes for. LOVE the pics and the dialogue. Couldn’t find happier folks, does us “far awayers” good to witness in absentia.


  2. nice story!

    I had never heard of this apple pressing party, you are one lucky duck to be so invited. ❤️

    It’s a beautiful Fall at Chalk Hill we are here celebrating Tim’s 86 with friends and family



  3. Great story-telling, illustrated to boot!!! And I’m glad Jim was there, too. Thanks, Gretchen, for being there, for being my friend all these years, for all your de-LIGHT-ful contributions to so many lives beyond my own.

    Wishing you sweet dreams (and keep me posted, OK?), Margaret

    P.S. I think of Miriam and her family often and it always makes me chuckle. One of my favorite photos is the one of the three of us. I think Carol took it. It’s here….. somewhere. LOL.


  4. I loved your pictoral story about apple juice. It was wonderfully informative. Living in apple country all of these years, I’ve never really seen how juice is produced. Very cool.What a wonderful way to be with community grabbing and creating JOY. Thank you so much for sharing, Gretchen! Sending you and Jim my very best. diane

    “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.” —Ruth Bader Ginsburg



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