Concord bottled; dandelion moisturizer started

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There were so many dandelions all over this weekend that I was taken by the urge to do something else with them.  (I very nearly started another gallon of wine, but I barely have enough Champagne bottles for what I’ve started, so unless I can find a good source, 2 gallons will have to be okay for now.)  Fortunately, last year, Beckie & Igor sent me a link for solid moisturizer bars, so I did a quick search for it again, and then gathered enough flowers to make 2 jars of infused oil. 20150405_113009  The darker one is just one of those blue “heritage” canning jars, not anything weird or funky.  I’ll be interested to see if that makes any sort of difference.  Anyway, I filled the jars with dandelion blossoms and then covered the flowers with organic canola oil.  The jars are now sitting in a sunny window, where they will steep for about a month.

Then, since it was a nice weekend and Kim and I spent Saturday having fun, I felt kind of accomplish-y on Sunday, and bottled the last gallon of Concord wine. 20150405_113118  It was maybe a tiny bit early, or perhaps I should have racked first, because the last bottle was fairly cloudy.  I also realized I hadn’t printed the mead labels, so here’s that picture I intended to get to last time.

I also added Sparkalloid to the last 3 gallons from last year: 2 apples and the melomel.  They’re already looking nice and clear today, but the instructions say to wait for a week to bottle, so I will do that.  However, I think that will about clean me out of bottles!  I should start asking when I’m at restaurants, since they probably just toss the empties into the recycle bin.

That’s it for this week!  More bottling next week, I think.  The melomel is a really pretty color, so I’m looking forward to getting that into some nice clear bottles.

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Bottled cider and Concord wine

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I decided that, though I’m still feeling quite blue about Rex, I should buck up and bottle some wine.  And I do have to confess that it sort of cheered me up to accomplish even something small like this.

20150214_103417That’s the cider (it’s still– I was going to sparkle it, but then you get that whole complicated thing about appropriate bottles, and it just seemed hard) and the first batch of Concord.  The Concord is with Montrachet yeast, which I noted with an “M” in the corner of the label. There’s also a batch with Bourgovin and one with Montpelier, which I’ll note as “B” and “P,” respectively. I wonder if we’ll favor one type of yeast.  If so, that’s what I’ll use in the future, though for all I know, it won’t make much difference.

For Valentine’s Day, Jolyon & I went out for Ethiopian food, and I sampled the tej, or mead.  (Actually, it’s traditionally flavored with a hops-like herb called gesho, which I guess technically makes it a metheglin.)  It’s quite nice, though with a decidedly funky smell to it.  It was on the menu as “Ethiopian honey wine,” but with the funk and all, we asked our server and she told us that it is, indeed, homemade.  I love that they sell a homemade wine, and I hope they make it in the traditional berele flasks, just because they’re kind of wonderful: 220px-Tej.  I almost asked for a lesson, but chickened out in the end.  It seemed awfully forward or something, especially on a busy night.TejThe tej is quite cloudy, as you can see here, and has a pleasant sunny color.  It’s also quite sweet, which I wouldn’t normally care for, but it did go quite well with the food– I’ve always found that regular wine doesn’t really go well, what with all those sort of sour and spicy tastes.  And according to Wikipedia, the sweetness masks a high alcohol content.  I couldn’t really tell, since I only had the one and we feasted quite royally: vegetable sambusas, followed by the huge veg combo platter.  We were stuffed by the end, and went home to watch “How to Marry a Millionaire.”

Going to see if there’s any way I can swing a trip to San Francisco for Rex’s memorial today.  Busy time at work, plus I’m poor, so it’ll be tough, but I really want to try to make it.

January 23, 2015

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20150123_090115 A day off feels like a good day for wine tasks!  I have an acupuncture appointment later (my first– I’m kind of nervous!) but otherwise have no obligations, so after walking Lily this morning, I started on some overdue tasks.  I clarified the big carboys of peach and apple wine, plus the gallon of apple that appears to have stopped fermenting, and the apple cider.  I also racked all three gallons of Concord, the mead, and the melomel (both of which seem to have returned to their previous funky tastes).

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Not sure why those two have gone funny again– they seemed to have lost that sort of strange mustiness last time.  Maybe I tasted them differently before.  I did just take a swig off the lees this time, which may be an unfair measure.

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Everything else tastes nice, though I didn’t sample the ones I just clarified.  Of the Concords, the Montrachet is the darkest, and also it has the best flavor, though it’s also the oldest, so the taste might be a function of the aging rather than the yeast.  20150123_110450 The Bourgovin batch has the strongest Concord taste, but it’s also still fairly young, so some of that might fade.  As one might expect, these taste more like regular ol’ wine than the non-grape kinds.

Later: So acupuncture is lovely!  I should have started going years ago.  A couple of spots ached while the needles were in, and my right  hand feels a little like an overworked muscle, but I feel relaxed and mellow, and kind of glad I did the wine stuff earlier.  Now I’m chilling out with the dogs, and I think I’ll go make myself a nice cup of tea.