Quick Pics
0 comment Wednesday, August 27, 2014 |
Just posting up a bit of what's been on for the day:
I managed to get out and about to do some elderflower gathering very early in the morning (child went to his father's house, but I am so set to his schedule I can't sleep in even if I try!). It's still a bit early and they're not fully open but there are loads of elders about. I was able to range into new areas today. I found some rather sweetish blooms and managed to bring these home to start some home-made cordial. This is one of sproggo's favourite drinks and since it's not that hard to make, I try to stock up and bottle up some of the cordial in sterilised containers as well as freezing some for later on in the year. It tends to last till the elderberries start to ripen, and those combined with rosehips make a syrup my son loves to have during the fall and winter. So, sorted here methinks!
I just had a look at the Gnarly Wine and it has nearly cleared. I need to take a reading however because I used a half-sugar/half-honey combination, and these are very different sugars. I wasn't making table-wine with this, however, so I'm not all that fussed if it knocks one's brains right out of one's skull; with this wine it's sort of the point (general-witchy-stuff-should-be-insinuated-here). The colour is really impressive - I was hoping the rich colour of the dandelions would stay and maybe the addition of honey has helped with that. Hope so, anyway! The half-and-half combination is quite interesting to work with and I have been thinking of working with more honey - I keep promising myself I'll have a go at making mead someday but I never get round to it. Hopefully this year!
The strawberry cider is going as well - once again I used a different sugar than usual after doing a bit of online research and consultation; I used unrefined sugar rather than the sugar I usually use; I'd heard that it adds a richer flavour to a brew - not ideal for a lager, but rather welcome in ciders and bitters. I thought I'd give it a go. Yes, another bit of an experiment. The colour is certainly much darker than last year's batch! I'll have to take the hydrometer out, sterilise it and use it to give a read on the Gnarly Wine as it may be ready to bottle, but for now it is doing reading-duty on the cider. Still, I've got a week before I really need to be bothered about it, just doing the usual old-yeast scraping twice a day for the moment.
While all this is in various stages of maturing, I've started harvesting rose petals from my various rosebushes. I have a rule that I never take the first or last blooms from any of the plants in my garden, but these are already opening and doing their thing, slowly but surely. I'm gathering large, about-to-open buds and freezing them for another attempt at rose-petal wine this year. Managed it one year and it was gorgeous, but there hasn't been a chance to do any more for a while. This year, most of my roses are in good health and I feel like they can handle the loss of several punnets of blooms with no harm done. The petals get picked as and when, and I store them in the freezer until I have enough. I try not to freeze them for longer than a few days so they don't get freezer-burn, but I've already got a large punnet's worth. I should be able to fill a second one and then get the rose-petal "tea" started to put into the demijohn. I've got to hunt down the second airlock for that, however - not sure where it's got to; anyway, pics of that stuff when I do it - probably will have enough petals by Tuesday.
And of course there's general garden tending and keeping everything tidy(ish). I've had to move a few of the sacks of potatoes due to the fact the patio was actually getting a bit crowded with greenery! The toms and peppers are looking better for being parked into dirt and watered well, and while I pottered about digging out some of the compost from the bin (after disturbing a family of mice) I found one of the comfrey I had planted and forgotten last year is now coming up. Hurrah! I'll be adding some of that to a "tea" I'll put into a bucket to start fertilising my fruit and veg, along with some powdered seaweed and the fish-blood-bonemeal I already use.
I'm really pleased with the look of the garden this year. Last's years trials and tribs have really paid off and while everything is growing in and doing its thing, it looks quite impressive out there. A perfect chill out spot to just sit in the sun and have a doze, which is what I may find myself doing in a bit before son returns.
So far, a good day.

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