πŸ–€rainπŸ–€

We’re getting that rain we wanted.
We actually have puddles.
And ducks in the puddles.
They are very happy ducks.
I am happy that I got a bunch of seeds planted in the garden before the rains came.
I am also happy I didn’t fall for Mother Nature’s trap and plant my tomatoes and peppers…since it’s a chilly 2*c right now.
But, we have the moisture we so desperately needed.
The trees are popping.
My lilacs might actually bloom…if we can keep a certain large blonde from nibbling on them. πŸ˜‰
Apple trees are starting to blossom.
And the grass!
*swoons*
With a round of heat and a few more quick showers, I’ll be cutting hay in just a few weeks time.
Thank goodness!
And the mares are officially off hay.
They got their last portion last night, and it’s all still sitting in the feeder this morning.
Unless some weird weather event happens, we’re done feeding hay for the year. (please, no weird weather events occur!)
So with today’s rain, I’ll be doing some wine maintenance (got a few batches ready to bottle and another one to transfer out of the pail, plus a beer kit to start and a sugar shine to get going) and enjoying coffee while trying to beat off a migraine.
In short, I’m staying inside today.
Have a great weekend friends!
❀

Happy Tuesday

Today I am happy.
Tired, but happy.

You see, since March 28th, I have not been able to upload a single picture to the blog.
I’ve been having to link to Instagram to show y’all pictures.
Today, for some reason unknown to me, I decided to try to upload a few images.

KABAM!!

It worked!

So, now I’m going through any pictures I’ve taken the last month and trying to do a mass uploading, just incase WP decides that I shouldn’t be able to again…

Today you get Cricket, the happy muscovy duck:

Why is he happy?
He doesn’t know.
He’s a duck.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Ducks and images aside, gardening is getting underway.
This past weekend, I rejigged the small raised beds in the front yard.
There are 9 ~ 3’x3′ beds.
Well, were.
Now there are 3 ~ 3’x3′ bed that are much deeper.
I took out 6 of them, stacked them on the other 3 and made them more usable.
A good heavy layer of rotted horse manure in the bottom, some straw over top of that and then topsoil.
And lots and lots and lots of watering in between.
Then yesterday, I planted rhubarb in one and asparagus in another.
I have room in the asparagus box for more crowns, so next time MCFHubby is at Canadian Tire, he’ll grab another pouch of them for me…and Thursday, he’s going to a friend’s to help split an established rhubarb for us.
So I’ll have 2 rhubarb plants.

And anyone who knows me is doing the quizzical doggy head tilt, because I don’t like rhubarb.
But, I like the *medicinal properties* of rhubarb…

Plus there’s wine, sooooo, yeah.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Next up, prepping the spots for peas, and getting those planted.
then we’re onto parsley, carrots and beets.
While hathing more chicks…because we like eating chicken.
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I set another 80 eggs on the 1st.
And I don’t know what the ducks are doing, but I’m hoping to see some duckling action happening soon.
We have so many girls going broody, but no one is sitting nests yet.
Our Ripple abandoned hers after we moved it…we knew that would be a possibility, but we couldn’t leave her getting beat up by the turkeys.

Speaking of turkeys, my 5 left from the hatching are doing great!
Same with the 10 whites in with them.
Eggs every day for breakfast and tons of gamebird feed in their feeder 24/7.
Finally, they’re all growing gangbusters!
Thank goodness!

Now I just need my full grown turkey hens to get on with the laying.
They all have the tell tail sign that Oscar and Dingus are wooing them, but we haven’t seen any eggs yet.
They might be like the ducks though…the ducks did nothing for laying/broodiness until their 2nd year.
Eh, we shall see, right?
In the meantime, there’s no shortage of chickens to eat here.
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Sharing with Sandee at Comedy Plus for Happy Tuesday

It Has Begun…

Seed starting space is still at a premium.
So I work with what I have…for now.
Peppers are started.

Only 6 varieties…

I wanted to plant so many more.
But these 6 will do for this year.
Spicys with the poblanos, Anaheims, big Jims, and jalapenos.
Sweets with the shepherds and red bells.
The shepherds are a first for me…last summer our local mega-mart (Superstore) had cases of them on sale.
They do every year.
Last year was the first year Hubby managed to get them before they sold out.
They’re a long, sweet red pepper that tastes like candy when roasted.
Oh. My. Dog.
I did jars and jars of pressure canned roasted red peppers.
So damn good!!
And then I thought “huh, wonder if these are open pollinated?”
Off I went to ask the google…because the peppers themselves come from a farm in Ontario (one province east of me) I figured they grow fairly decently in our climate.
I worried briefly about them being greenhouse grown, ’til the farm itself posted images of rows upon rows upon rows of pepper plants….so I took a chance and emailed them to find out where they sourced their seeds.
Stokes!!
And they’re o/p.
So guess who saved a whole lot of shepherd pepper seeds?
That’s right.
This woman did.
πŸ™‚

peppers!

So 2 trays of those, 2 poblanos, and one each of the rest. b
That’s my peppers started.
And my new grow light will arrive when Hubby gets home today.
Squeeeee!
Ima little happy about extra lights. πŸ˜‰

And then, because I have so much time on my hands
πŸ€¦β€β™€οΈπŸ™„
πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
I decided to do one more thing with seeds this weekend…

With a recycled bag to act like a wee greenhouse, recycled peat pots, and a recycled mushroom tray, I figured I’d stick a few chokecherry seeds in to see if they sprout.
I saved them from the mash that made the chokecherry wine, and popped them into the freezer to mimic our crazy cold winter.
Now, we’ll see what happens.
I have nothing to lose if it doesn’t work, and everything to gain if it does.
In my opinion, that makes it worth trying.
πŸ™‚

Apple Wine

A few weeks ago, I put out the call looking for locals who had apple trees with apples that they weren’t going to use.
Said we’d happily come out and pick the trees, take away the apples and return with a few bottles of apple wine.
Got a few nibbles, but mostly it was people who wanted me to make them an entire 5 gallon batch, plus pick their tree…one woman told me I could have all the half rotten ones on the ground if I picked the good apples for her.
πŸ™„

And then, I got a message from a friend of friends, a local horse woman, who had an apple tree, and hankerin’ for a few bottle of wine.
Well, with a little back and forth, we set a date, met up and I came away with a bag of roughly 50lbs of apples.
Gorgeous, sweet, crunchy eating apples…perfect for a batch of wine.
After I ate a couple. πŸ˜‰

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Way back when we were in the city, our tree there was producing 250-300lbs of apples a year.
We could only eat so many, so I started making and canning juice.
But I got tired of the old cook it on the stove top, strain it through cheesecloth method of making juice, and went to my parents and stole (with permission) my Dad’s juicer.
Now?
I make juice by running the apples through the juicer.

Big bowl of sliced apples, ready to be run through the juicer.

Once the juicing is done, the mush that comes out the other side is put into a mesh bag.
That goes into the primary fermenting pail, with the juice itself.
I want aaaaaaalllllllll the apple-y goodness going into my wine. πŸ˜‰

Cores get cooked down and strained for juice…nothing gets wasted here!

Once the cores have given up everything they had, those get tossed to the pigs.
Pigs ❀ love ❀ apples!
The juice is then added with the other juice and the mush to the primary fermenter.

From there I add sugar, pectic enzyme (if I have it on hand…with the cooked juice, the wine finishes with a creamy mouth feel with out the pectic enzyme. Some people don’t care for it, but I don’t mind it, so I don’t get frantic if I don’t have the pectic enzyme to add), k-meta and water to 6 gallons.
I let it sit for 24ish hours, then pitch the yeast and add some yeast nutrient.

That’s all there is to it.
Over the next week, I stir the pail a few times a day, and squeeze the bag of mush.
After a week or so, I pull out the bag of mush…that goes to the pigs…and depending on the specific gravity reading, I’ll either give it a few more days in the pail or rack it off to a carboy.
Once it’s on the carboy, sealed with an air lock, I let time do it’s work.
Anywhere from 2-5 months.
Honestly, I put it in a corner and forget about it.

After a while, I’ll come back to it, rack it off the stuff at the bottom (the lees), stabilize it and usually I’ll sweeten it.
Typically with some raspberry syrup…because apple raspberry wine is fan-effing-tastic!
And then, into bottles for a few more months.

All told, it’ll take anywhere from 4-12 months before it’s in the bottle and ready to drink.
Trust me though, it’s worth the wait!

Linking up with September Days at The Hearth and Soul link party hosted by April J Harris.

Like this post?
Feel free to buy me a coffee.
πŸ™‚