Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dandelion Wine, Part 2

Today we worked on the next step of our dandelion wine making. We started out by straining the blossoms out of the water that they had been sitting in for a couple of days. While we drained all that liquid, we started grating the zest off and juicing 20 lemons and 20 oranges. This went surprisingly fast with 3 people. I thought it would have taken us a lot longer.
 This is what the dandelion water looked like after we strained out the blossoms.
 These are the spent blooms.
 Next, we added 20 pounds of sugar!!! to our 5 gallons of wine, along with the juice and zest of the 20 lemons and 20 oranges.

 We had a little taste test at this point and it was surprisingly delicious!
 Next the scientific part, using the hydrometer. I don't really understand this part too well, but we took an initial reading of the density of the liquid.
 We will test again after 2 weeks. Apparently, the lower it sinks, the higher level of alcohol is in the liquid. Our first reading had it barely sinking at all.
 Next, we floated stale pieces of bread sprinkled with yeast in our wine buckets.
 We will stir these several times a day for 2 weeks-ish, until fermentation ceases.
And that is it for now! How exciting. This is probably the sort of thing you only do once, just to try it out. But we'll see what it tastes like next year. We may just love it so much that we make it again!!

Monday, May 28, 2012

May Flowers

Just a few pictures to leave you with:
 The apple tree is blossoming.

 I know of a great place to pick some wild strawberries in June.
 And wild raspberries!

 Little Brother the lamb and his guardian came out to greet me on my walk. They are too cute for words, so I will post pictures instead.




Sunday, May 27, 2012

Dandelion Wine Time

 Today we started the first stage of dandelion wine making. I forgot my camera (oops), so I took some pictures later to give you something to look at.

So this afternoon I headed out to my friends' farm and we got to work (after touring the gardens) picking 5 gallons of dandelion blossoms. It sounds like a lot, and it is, but the work is surprisingly fast in a town like Fort St. James with its abundance of dandelions. It is also not too hard work for a 8+ month pregnant person. I just sat my butt down and scooted along the field, picking around me. The bugs stayed away for the most part and it was nice to be able to chat along the way. Charlotte joked that she was glad we were picking on one of their back fields so no other farmers could see us. Haha. You don't want to lose your reputation!

My big straw hat kept me cool and the sun off my face. What a great hat it has been for gardening!

Our hands came out looking pretty yellow and caked with pollen. This is after several washings. You should have seen it right after!
 So once that was done, we set 5 gallons of water on to boil and visited the gangly turkey poults and the wee chicks. We came back and poured the boiling water over the blossoms and they will sit like that for a day or two, until the next stage. Stay tuned for what happens next!


In other news, I found some forget-me-knots growing on our walk yesterday, the first wildflowers other than dandelions I have seen.
And the days are even longer now. This picture was taken around 10:15pm. Just wait until it is the longest day (right around my due date!).

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Morning Ramble

Or should I say a Morning Waddle? How refreshing to saunter down the path at the beach, listen to the birds, sit on the rocks in the sun and watch the little freshwater shrimp dart about. The dandelions are nearly at their peak and the new waxy leaves of the trees are growing larger every day. 




Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Just Waiting Around...

So with my due date in a month, I have finished work, and now I am waiting around for this baby! Do you ever feel like this?:

 I do some of the time, but mostly I am consumed by the urge to nest and be busy doing something. I wish the nesting urge was focused on cleaning the house though, instead of gardening and cooking. Or at least shared evenly between the 3.


Victoria Day at the park was splendid and the free breakfast did not disappoint! it was nice to see more people out in costume this year! I wish we had stuck around a little longer, but it started pouring rain and I forgot my umbrella!
 When Spring comes to the Fort, it comes in fast! The plants grow in double time to make up for having a short summer. I expect the wildflowers to be out shortly.

 And in very sad news, the brand new recycling centre that the volunteers of GUF (Greening Up the Fort) worked so hard to build and bring to our community burnt down to the ground Sunday night. How devastating! They just had their grand opening a few weeks ago.
 My condolences to the members of GUF. They work hard to make our community a better place and it is so frustrating and upsetting when the actions of another person destroys all that hard work in an instant. But the community supports you and we will help you get back what you lost!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Hummingbirds

This little visitor was at our feeder on Saturday.

May Long Weekend

video


What a glorious weekend it has been so far! And what wonderful weather! On Saturday, I spent the day working in the garden and got some sun on my skin. Today I made a little film about our yard (I love puttering in our yard). This evening we had a potluck at a friend's house, where I enjoyed my first two dips of the year in the lake, we played the viking game, and we relaxed around the campfire. I can smell the smoke on my clothes and can feel the sand in between my toes as I sit here typing this. I love living here!
Tomorrow is the Queen Victoria Day celebration at the Historic Site. It is supposed to rain, but that won't stop us from having a good time! I'll try to take some pictures for you.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Garden in May

On Monday after work, my husband and I went to the secret location to dig a few fiddlehead fern crowns to plant in our garden. It was muddy and fun.
 Our garden is doing really well. The onions I planted last Fall are doing splendidly!
 The rhubarb is thriving. Have I already told you how much I love rhubarb? Mmmmmm, good! I can hardly wait for stewed rhubarb, rhubarb cake, rhubarb pie, rhubarb jam, rhubarb crisp.....
 The leaves on our apple trees have popped out and the blossoms should be following any day now.
 The cherry tree made it through the winter and is loaded with buds...

The tomatoes have been planted in their snug greenhouse frame against the house. It is a whole different climate zone in there. Cool thing about this greenhouse is that it really didn't cost much to build. The only thing I bought was the lumber to build the frame. The clear plastic was left in the shed by the previous owners, and I got the corrugated plastic sides from a neighbour who was tearing down a dilapidated greenhouse in his yard. I am always on the lookout for usable junk!

Here they are, thriving away. Last year, we got about 25 or so ripe tomatoes by having them planted against the house. We are hoping to extend the season and get a lot more tomatoes by having a greenhouse. The sides will come off for ventilation once it gets hot, and will go back on when the temperature starts cooling down again.

 The fiddleheads have now been planted in the shady front yard. I hope they will grow lovely ferns. I don't really plan on harvesting the fiddleheads from these plants, as you should really only pick three from each crown, or you could kill the whole plant. That would mean you would have to plant a whole lota crowns to get a decent harvest. It is much easier to pick them in the wild.
We also planted some irises that another neighbour gifted us. Gardening is such fun!
I also spent some time this week chatting with my back alley neighbours and meeting their little lamb that they are bottle feeding. "Little Brother" is the lamb's name and he is a cutie pie! These neighbours also have geese and chickens in their backyard and it sure does my heart good to see that!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fiddleheads

The flowers of Spring! I think Spring has got to be my favourite time of year! Some much excitement and anticipation with all the new growing things.

 We went fiddlehead picking in our secret spot yesterday. We bring new people to the spot by blindfold to protect the secret location. Just kidding. Kinda. They are sworn to secrecy about the location though.


 After picking, we went to my good friends house to cook them up and make supper. She lives on the lake and it is the most gorgeous spot. You can hear the waves lapping up on the beach and see the sun sparkling on the ice-free water.
 Here's a funny thing. We forgot to cook the fiddleheads for dinner and ended up eating other things. Haha, oh well!
Today I went to the opening of the Farmer's Market and it was a beautifully hot day! It is shaping up to be a wonderful Summer!
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