This left me in a bit of a pickle.
I scoured the internet high and low for a reasonable way to grind a large quantity of apples. It seems that others had also stumbled across this similar situation, as I found that everything had been tried from professional apple scratters (a scratter is the actual term for whatever you use to pulverize your apples), to meat grinders and rigged up garbage disposals, to pounding the apples in a bucket with sledge hammers.
As much fun as sledge hammering apples sounded, we decided to try a few other alternatives....
I double sacked the apples in black garbage bags, squeezed out as much air as possible, and tied off the bags.....then Dad set to work finding the best method to squish the apples into mush...
In the end, we dragged the sorry sack of apples to the cement area in front of our barn and Dad rolled over them again with the steel drum attached to the tractor mower. (Setting them on the cement helped since the apples couldn't mush into the ground)
The apples still managed to be a little chunky, but it was as good as we were going to get, so we carefully dumped our mash into the apple press, trying (and failing), not to get dead grass (that was now stuck to the garbage bag) into the press as well.
Our apple mashing techniques still left a little something to be desired.
In any case, I carefully layed the wooden pieces over the apples and Dad screwed the lever system on top, and we began to turn it and squeeze.
We did manage to get a minimal amount of juice, but there seemed to be a problem with the lever system. Somehow it was supposed to ratchet back and forth to apply more pressure to the apples, and we couldn't get it to work. Even my Dad, who by my standards is a mechanical genius, couldn't figure out what we were missing. All in all, it was a bit of a disappointing venture.
But don't cry for me Argentina! There are many more apples to pick and the Great Cider Adventure must go on.
In the famous words of Thomas Edison, "I haven't failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that don't work." Let the cider-ing adventure continue!
P.S. anyone want a fully restored apple cider press?