My husband is a cider maker and I think it is the perfect occupation for him. It is work that requires patience, science, a great palate, and incredible ingenuity. Being all of these things- plus brawny, handy, and curious- Jonny is hard at work restoring our hundred year old press and inventing things to improve it’s functionality. Yesterday I realized that I have been both deeply inspired creatively by him and actually trained, in a sense, to be a person who works with what I’ve got and strives to not only make do, but to make things better through thinking creatively. Now, he comes from a history of sciency inventor types, but he has applied it in such a practical way.
Take yesterday, for example. In our cider pressing operation, apples come out of a bin, roll down a chute, and then fall into a hopper where they get picked up by an elevator (like a conveyor belt sort of thing) to be dumped into the grinder above the press. Apples were getting stuck in the hopper and jamming the works. So he went to the store, bought an $8 paper towel thing with a cutting blade, took it apart, and installed it where the apples were sticking. Now they get sliced in half by this blade and are free to be picked up by the elevator. I’m sure something like this can be bought at orchard suppliers (or maybe not, since the things is so old) but it would undoubtedly be pricey and he would have to wait for it to come.
He does this pretty much on a daily basis. Sometimes I actually do want him to buy whatever it is he is trying to reinvent, and he spends a fair bit of time staring at things and then saying, “I have an idea” that can occasionally make me feel uneasy , but overall, he is my hero.