Sunday, October 21, 2018

The 2018 Annual Norquist Family Cider Bee

A brief history: I grew up on a small farm in Oregon's Willamette Valley. We had a big family, seven kids, and we lived a simple, rural life. We didn't have much money but we had what we needed, largely because of our hard work and good health. 

As we kids grew older, we dispersed, and eventually four of the five of us who are surviving settled in Washington or Oregon, as have  most of our own children.  

As my generation began producing our flock of offspring, back on the farm Dad and Mom began the tradition of an annual October cider fest, and we gathered on the farm on an autumn weekend for working and playing and eating and visiting. Our kids, who were little then and are now in their 40's or more, remember those days. 

Those kids grew up, Mom and Dad moved off the farm, and the tradition faded away. Then in 1996 my brother Hank resettled in Chehalis, Washington, and renewed the tradition of the family cider bee, or apple squeeze, or cider fest. Our grand children were little, or not even born yet, and have also grown up with the tradition. The kids of long ago are now the grandparents, our kids are now the parents, and their kids are all growing taller that all the rest of us. The family cider bee is alive and well.

Hank purchases the apples from Central Washington.

Strong backs tote the buckets of apples to the crew. 
At the first station, the apples are rinsed and quartered.

The crew changes here, as various combinations rotate through. Conversation and silliness happen here. 

The quartered apples go to the cider press where they are crushed and squeezed. Mostly the big guys work here. 

Our temporary member of the family, a foreign exchange student from Kazakhstan, is enjoying new experiences. 

The juice goes to the bottling station. Our hosts, Hank and Cindy, are our quality control. 

The pulp gets hauled away and dumped. 

Many hands make light work, as the apples disappear. 
Some of us do more supervising than working.

Drinking coffee and eating donuts is also important. 
So is catching up on the how to of our family communication technology.
Or just visiting and bonding. 

These guys :-)

Then Arnold grilled.
And we all ate! And talked some more. 

My sister Ilene and my niece Katie have posted photos of our cider bee on Facebook. A few of these photos are borrowed from them. Between the three of us I think we got it all covered.

And now it is recorded for history. Another Norquist Family Cider Bee is in the books. Thanks to all, and especially to our hosts, Hank and Cindy. 


  1. Oh my, you are quite a bunch already. I think it's an awesome tradition and it looks like everyone had a great time. So glad the weather co-operated too.

  2. Looks like it was a lot of fun! :-)

  3. This is much more than a cider making event. Good times! Great family ties.

  4. how fun to see you enjoying this great family tradition and reunion...

  5. Family get-togethers are always so much fun! You look like a blessed family.

  6. Wow! What a great event. And many more to come-----

  7. What a wonderful family tradition to carry on. You are quite blessed.

  8. What a great tradition and from the smiles on the younger ones faces, pretty sure this will continue way into the future. What a great gift to give them.

  9. With family like your's, who needs to go to a state fair. Looks like everyone there was happy and having fun.

  10. It is a wonderful family tradition! Soon there should be some little kids there too!

  11. One of the many family traditions I look forward to seeing on your blog! Thanks for the back story as it makes this even more special. Glad y'all had a good time!

  12. What a great and meaningful experience for all ages! I love seeing youth learning how to do things like this and being part of a family tradition. I still remember pressing cider when we lived on a farm near Fall City. Fun times!


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