Strawberry Wine

It’s strawberry season ’round here.
That means there’s ample u-pick places to go and get your fill of berries.
This year we’ve had enough rain that the berries are huge, juicy and amazingly tasty.
Or, maybe we’re all just happy af to have berries after last year’s drought.
Either way…
We made our way out to get some berries.
Which for me means eating a basket on the drive home and then freezing the rest for wine.
Well, and a batch of jam for Hubby, because he likes jam.

I use a simple wine recipe I found way back when I first wanted to make fruit (or country) wines.
Danger Dave’s Dragon Blood wine.
It’s an easy peasy, should be ready to drink in a month, wine.

Now, as always, I adjust the recipe…
The original calls for a mere 6lbs of fruit.
😂😂😂
Yeah so, I typically use 20lbs of fruit, sometimes more.
Like when I do a green tomato wine, minimum is 25lbs of green tomatoes.
I also often leave out the lemon juice, depending what fruits I’m using.
Actually, truth be told, lemon juice is kept on hand for canning tomatoes, so unless I’m making *lemon* wine (google “skeeter pee”…you won’t regret it 😉 ), I pretty much leave it out.
Same with the tannin…if I think of it, I add it, but most times, I don’t even think of it…

‘Kay so, my strawberry wine looks like this:

20lbs fruit…washed, sliced and frozen
3tsp pectic enzyme (helps the wine clear…but I often forget this too)
3 tsp. yeast nutrient (stir)
1 tsp. yeast energizer (stir)
With the nutrient and energizer…I only use nutrient, because I rarely have energizer on hand…if you have both, great, but not necessary…and I add this the next day with the packaged yeast.
Yeast package…I typically use EC-1118 yeast, but a while back I got a fantastic deal on a bunch of Super B wine yeast…all I could grab in a handful for $5…yay for having freakishly large hands for a woman!! 😂😂😂
This is another thing you’re going to want to get from a brew shop…yeah, you can use bread yeast, but honestly, it’s worth the money to buy the right yeast for the job.
Bread yeast gives a hot, yeasty finish…it’s not pleasant, IMO.
YMMV.

(Can you tell this is a very loosey goosey kinda recipe? there’s *lots* of wiggle room!)

Then sugar…normally I find around 5-6 kgs does the job…just plain old white sugar…I’m aiming for a starting gravity (s.g) of 1.070-1.080…
And good, clean water.
I tend to make 8 gallon batches…this recipe is about right for that…

So, of course this goes on the assumption you have some basic wine making equipment.
~ A big pail…my main primary (big pail) holds 10 gallons (it’s kinda small, I gotta find a bigger one *and* a place to put it!)
~ A mesh fruit bag…this is a cheap af luxury. You can do without it, but it makes your wine making life a bazillion times easier. Go ahead and spend the $5. It’s worth it!
~ A hydrometer. You can get one cheap (under $10) at any brew shop. This simple tool tells you your s.g and your f.g.(final gravity).
With those numbers you know a. when your wine is done fermenting, and 2. how much alcohol is in your wine…if you’re going to go on and distill any of your wine (where it’s legal or you just don’t care 😉 ), you’ll want to get a proof and trailles hydrometer as well…you use that with your distilled spirits to find your proof (proof is double your alcohol percentage…ie. 110 proof vodka is 55% alcohol). You need to know this in order to dilute or for using your distillate for tinctures….but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post. 😉
~ A racking cane…this helps you siphon your fermented juices off the gross crap (called lees) at the bottom of your pail.
~ A carboy with a bung and airlock.
Glass is best for a carboy. You can bulk age (typically) 6 gallons at one time.
You use the bung and airlock to keep oxygen from ruining the shit out of your wine…and wild random yeasties from turning your 6 gallons of wine into 6 gallons of vinegar.
Trust me. That fucking sucks when it happens.
~ Sanitizer. This is a must if you want your wines to turn out.
Not bleach. Just spend the money on proper sanitizer from the brew shop, ‘kay?
I use the pink stuff, but tons of folks swear by StarSan…and one day I may switch to it because you don’t have to rinse afterwards, so *that* would be bonus…but I buy the pink stuff by the 2kg bag and it lasts a long time.
And lastly, on the list of should have (though I view them as must haves) is:
~ Bottles and a corker.
Duh, right?
But seriously, the first kit I made, I didn’t have enough bottles when it came to bottling time. I used mason jars for what didn’t fit in the ones I had…drank that first though, because mason jars, unless processed like in canning, don’t keep air out.
Now, the corker *can* be optional, if you’re using screw tops…and TBH, when I *know* a wine isn’t gonna last me longer than a few months, I use 1 liter plastic bottles with screw tops.
Longer aging wines (like dandelion or my beet root…yes, you read that right…I make a beet root wine…) get corked glass bottles.

So there…if you have a basic kit of supplies (like *so basic* every brew shop has a “buy it as a kit” version where everything except maybe the brew bag and the proof and trailles hydrometer are in it), you can do just about any wine/shine (you’ll need a still for shine, but again, that’s a whole ‘nother post 😉 )…with stuff from the grocery store/local farms/your own garden or backyard.
Though, you can buy wine kits too…and those can be awesome too.
I too will buy a kit now and then…but I also love the fuck out of harvesting fruits (and some veggies) to create a wine.

I follow the process for the Dragon’s Blood fairly closely.
At least for the first bit while it’s in the primary pail (I cover my primary with saran wrap and a towel, I don’t worry about a lid), but once it’s in the carboy, I’m a negligent winemaker.
I’ve got a couple “bulk aging” right now (read:too lazy to bottle) that have been there for a year or more…in fact the chokecherry is coming up on 2 years in the carboy. I just keep topping up the water in the airlock to keep air from getting in and ruining it.
When I get around to bottling, it oughta be effing amazing.
😉

So, that’s how I do it.
Any questions, feel free to ask.
I will do my best to answer.
🙂


April 10th

It’s mud season.
It’s goose season.
As I write this, we have just about 2000 Canada geese on the big field.
And we can’t shoot a one of ’em, because shooting season for C.G.’s isn’t ’til November.
*sigh*
But we do get to listen (or ignore) the panicked cries about Avian Flu.
Again…*sigh*

Listen, I get that it’s an issue.
But with this many geese around, and with all the song birds, short of never letting my flock see the light of day, there’s really no stopping my birds from coming in contact with anything from wild birds.
*Especially* when Lake Midnight has returned.
😂😂😂
There is so much water on my field, and in my pasture, and so much sno to still melt…and because Ma Nature has it in for us this year, a predicted 30-60cms of snow coming by mid week.
😂😂😂
So….yeah.

But, if any of that water gets a chance to soak in, the pasture will grow gangbusters.
Until then, we get to watch the poor Merry Mares fumble about in the slop.
They have their high and dry spots, but they’re restless.
It’s spring, they want to run and buck and play…they want green grass and long naps in the sunshine…but they got weird weather shifts and mud and hay.

This stupid ass:

Ruby

Slipped while running around with her herdmates today….not a full on drop, but enough to tweak her fat back. *sigh*
And unlike my complete suck of a palomino granddaughter, Ruby is not a fan of back rubs and massages.
At least, not unless you make her think it’s her idea.
Which means sharing a beer with the bitch, while grooming and then sneaking over to a massage.
😂😂😂
I can’t even with this mare sometimes…
But, by the time I was done massaging her back, and drinking what she left me of the beer, she was moving better.
Hopefully that’ll be enough to keep her from getting too stiff and sore, but I suspect we’ll be doing the same thing tomorrow.

Aside from shitty forecasts and a ton of geese, we’re just plugging along.
On the 13th I start collecting turkey eggs for the incubator, the end of May is when the other hatchery birds arrive, and the seedlings are doing well.
So here’s hoping for a super extra awesome growing season, both garden and meat animals, because *whew*, I think things are going to get a lot worse yet, before we start seeing any sort of getting better…if we do…but I’ll keep my little dark thoughts to myself for now. 😉
All I can say is this…
Don’t put off putting up extras where and when you can.
‘Kay?
Just…
Don’t.

Monday

Busy weekend as usual.
We now have 3 brooders!
Hubby and The Kid have been on a building spree.
Thank goodness, because the meat chickens are going to need out of the coop in the Little Red Shed very, very soon!
Those nuggets grow fast. 😉

And then this happened too:

This time it was easier to link to the Instagram post…
That’s our 1st Hatchers, in their new little yard. 🙂

Just a couple of garden stakes pushed into the ground through some stucco wire and bam! Birbs can be outside.
Scary, scary, scary at first.
But we put their food out in the yard and that was enough to convince them to hop out and check out the great outdoors.
So their well on their way to becoming free rangin’ assholes.
Just the way we like our chickens…even if I do bitch about ’em.
😂😂😂

And now some outside world stuff…

Our province has gone batshit crazy.
Again.
Locked down again, and they just closed schools.
I guess they’re not done destroying the small businesses who’ve had to close, yet again.
And their not done destroying the mental health of kids yet.
And screw the folks who can’t afford to stop working to be home with their kids that are too young to be left alone, because we’re “not allowed” to have people in our homes or on our property.
Listen, I get that the virus is real, but saying that one life lost is too many while destroying thousands more is flat out ridiculous.
But, I have my suspicion that the school closure is an attempt to force the shot on those who might not want their kids to get it.
I really, truly hope that I am wrong on that…really, really, really hope so…however, the timing and the fact that the school closure was announced on Mother’s Day, 2 days *after* the businesses being shut down was announced…it’s too coincidental in my books.
Especially since the time frame where the kids should be heading back after this shut down just happens to coincide with the time frame where our province is opening up eligibility to everyone 12 and over.
So, I suspect the medical discrimination is just over that hill there…and I suspect like good little citizens, the bulk of my province will happily medically discriminate against anyone who doesn’t force it into their child, lack of studies be damned.
It’s funny as fuck to me that suddenly alllllll the people who’ve chanted the mantra “my body my choice” for years are now saying the shot should be mandatory.
Huh.
Pretty sure if I had no say in your medical decisions previous to the year the world lost it’s mind, you have no say in my medical decision now. Or ever.

And isn’t it interesting how that’s the big topic now, when you run into someone?
“Oh hey, get your shot yet”
The looks I get when I say “Nope.”
😂😂😂

And before anyone starts with the screeching about me being an “anti-vaxer”, just don’t…
2 things I live by:
1. my body my choice
2. informed consent
That’s how it’s supposed to be.
We own our medical decisions for our meat suits, plain and simple.
If that bothers anyone, well…🤷‍♀️

And…
Oh and this is a big one…
Do not even dare to try the whole “if you don’t get the shot, you shouldn’t have access to health care” bullshit.
Canadian health care is not supposed to discriminate against people for their life choices and who gets cared for.
So really, take that shit and fuck off. Way the fuck off.
Besides, Hubby and I have paid into that health care system for our entire working lives, and that health care has paid for other people’s choices that we may not have agreed with, and at no fucking time have we tried to have them stripped of access to care, just because we didn’t like their life choices.

So fucking remember that, when you say people who “don’t act right” should lose access to health care, ‘kay?
Everyone pays in here, everyone has access to care.
Whether you like “how they act” or not.
Simple as fuck.

And that’s enough of that.
Because I’m trying to keep that shit out of this blog, but sometimes, the frustrations ooze out…and damn if this ain’t my place, so I’ll write what I want.

But to finish it out, I’ll share a picture of Ruby from the weekend…

Being all pretty and crabby af because I woke her from her nap.
😂😂😂
I was *trying* to take pictures of her half buried in the straw pile, snoring her fool head off…but when she heard me open the gate she got up, hoping for treats.
Because that’s what a Fat Girl needs.
Treats.
😂😂😂
Have a great week folks, and don’t let the bastards grind ya down.

Rhubarb

Remember how I said I wanted to add a rhubarb plant to the Farm’s food forest?
Not because I like it (I don’t really) but because medicinally, it’s a good thing to have growing here.
There must be a reason every farm wife and baba had one or two plants growing…and I don’t think it was just for the baking! 😉

So Hubby had found one for sale at the local hardware store, and snapped it up for me.
Then, a friend in the city messaged me to say her neighbour had one to split and if I was interested, we could get some of it. Um, yes please!

So this past Thursday, Hubby went over to her place and split this massive rhubarb plant…
What he brought home was an incredible bounty of plantable roots/crowns!

So now, where I wanted 1 or 2 plants, I have…
11!!
Plus a gallon sized bag of rhubarb in the freezer, because I pulled all the stems that were on the crowns he brought home…I’ll save that for a small batch of wine. 😉

So I planted 2 big crowns straight into the main garden bed, put 4 smaller ones into one of the raised beds out front of the house, potted 4 for myself to add to the next garden expansion project, and potted 2 to give to another friend who was looking for some.
Plus, I still have a few smaller crowns that I plan on potting, so that if anyone else near me is looking for some, I’ll share those with them.

But I’m not complaining about having so many plants.
I’ll definitely find a use for them.
Even if it’s just making a rhubarb syrup to add to moonshine.
😉

And just for fun…if you look behind Ruby, way in the distance, there is a chicken…because here, chickens do whatever the hell they want. 😂😂😂 (I think there’s actually 2 chickens…but I’m not 100% certain…)

January

Huh.
Seems I’ve not posted yet this year.
Guess it’s time change that, right?
😉

Alright, so our Christmas was quiet.
Pretty much like our Christmas has been ever since we moved out here.
We don’t put up a tree (2 kittens who would climb/kill it and a dog who…well, let’s just say a tree won’t work with Daphne and leave it at that 😉 ) and we don’t really do much different.
Chores still have to be done, animals have to be fed, equine excrement still has to be scraped…so yeah, we cleaned up horse crap, and did all the usual daily stuff.
Then simply enjoyed family time.
And we had a good time using our ever growing shooting berm.
😀

New Year’s found us fighting to stay awake.
New year’s day we dealt with the upset tummy of a Palomino Princess.
Colic is no fun at anytime, but it was one of the colder days and that made it even worse.
Of course, the weather bouncing all over the place is what led to her colicking, so it wasn’t much of a surprise.
Thankfully, it wasn’t a case where she needed veterinarian intervention.
Whew!

Then the last day before Hubby had to go back to work came, and we had a massive wing BBQ.
Just because we could.
And then we ate wings for 3 days, because we cleaned out 2 years worth of wings from the freezers to cook up.
😂😂😂

Now we’re just going along, happily enjoying the beautifully unseasonably warm January weather.
I’m loving that the chickens can be outside all day long.
I’m loving that the horses aren’t stuck at the troughs eating, eating, eating to stay warm.
I’m loving that a bale of hay that normally goes 7 days in winter is going 10-12 days.
I’m loving that we have a nice covering of snow without being under 8 feet of it. 😂😂😂

The Princess, feeling much better after her upset tummy… ❤
Ruby and KingTrouble having a moment…
Poor Astrid, getting the cat’s ass in her face yet again! 😂😂😂

The Painted Unicorn

Ruby has her own Instagram account now:

https://www.instagram.com/thepaintedunicorn2018

It’s a special account, with Ruby herself providing commentary on the images shared.
She’s a real card, our Ruby is.
So if you need a laugh, and you’re on Insta, be sure to follow her.

“Haha Food Lady…you’re so funny!”

Blowing snots all over Astrid

She is the cutest thing when she’s down…sleeping or slightly drunk?
One never knows with Ruby… 😉

Sharing for Awww Mondays at Comedy Plus.