Thursday, August 29, 2013

It's for your own good you know

So if anyone feels like buying me a birthday gift (aw come on you know you want to) please consider this apron. I makes me larf like a little kid and I do need a new kitchen apron, so hey - everyone wins (Well except maybe you because you'd be spending $20...but come on - it's for me and you *love* me...don't you? *blink blink*).
Really - you'd make me smile. I'd even make you cookies of your chioce...and then mail them to you before I ate them all. Honest. *And* I'd think of you whenever I cooked with it. True, yes, I realize that making and mailing you baking is probably the same cost of me just buying the apron myself but I don't want to deprive you of the warm fuzzy feeling you'd get doing it (in addition to some damn tasty baked goods).

Monday, August 26, 2013

This is why I can't have nice things

This weekend, while racking my really small batch of apricot wine I somehow managed to get fermented fruit on the walls, my hair and in at least 3 cupboard drawers.
And on the cat.
He tastes delicious...

At this rate I will be lucky to have enough left to get a few bottles out of it once it's *ready* to bottle in a few months and rackings. 1 gallon test batch. Pff.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Do we know how to party or what

Well the beer is on the berries. Tonight I'll rack the apricot wine.
That and have a nap.

Yup - swinging friday night :)

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

leaks. I haz dem.

Last night we met with the contractors to finalize the re-shingling and resurfacing of our roof, capping off the chimney and installing new eavestrough. I am satisfied we will get the best quality materials and the company seems decent enough and doesn't appear to be gouging us...I just wish it didn't come to $10K with tax, but what can ya do? The roof is rather important on a house and ours is in pretty terrible's also low sloping so it's prone to leaks and needs particular kinds of roofing materials. Meh. Just crossing my fingers everything will go well and we'll be set for another 20 years or so. I kinda had to arrange it mostly on my own, so I worry that I somehow screwed up, but you do what you need to do and then move on. With amounts that large floating around I get all nervous...a friend of a friend works for a roofing contractor so we could pick his brain about things and he thinks things seem reasonable so I'm not going to worry...much...

On the upside - gonna put my strawberries in my beer tonight. With all this hootch I'm a-brewing we should be able to drink away our winter woes in our dry new roofed house


Thursday, August 15, 2013

White Minstrel brewery at your service

Well...I'm really going crazy with the brewing. Just started up some beer tonight. Will rack it onto 6 Lb of pasteurized strawberries in 5 days or so once the krausen falls...and the cider is starting to clear, the apricot wine has started fermenting nicely and the blueberry wine is looking nice in the carbuoy.

Beer should be ready by my birthday.
For the rest?

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

wine update

I racked the blueberry wine into the carbuoy last night. Not really sure of the alcohol content since there was too much berry goo to take measurements, but we'll see. It's been ~ 2 weeks so I figure primary fermentation shoudl be nearly doneby now, if not done already. Next racking in a month or so I'll have a look at the SG and make sure it's fermented out. I managed to not get blueberry goo everywhere and tried to keep everything clean and sanitized as I did my best to squeeze some of the juice out of the floating blueberries and not get get too many in the carbuoy. Used a strainer and a cheesecloth. Hoping I didn't muss with it too much to contaminate it. We shall see. Messy business this winemaking...

Also started some apricot wine. Apricots were cheap at the market on the weekend so I set up a 1 gallon batch with the following recipe:
2 Lb apricots (20 decent sized apricots, washed and cored and diced up)
1/2 Lb chopped golden raisins (1 1/2 c)
3 Lb sugar
juice of 2 lemons
1 t pectic enzyme
7 pints (14 cups) water
1 campden tablet
1/4 t tannin (didn't have so didn't add...may add a bit of tea when I rack it)
EC-1118 yeast
I combined the raisins sugar and hot water (I boiled it first) and stirred to dissolve the sugar. Then I chopped and added the apricots and lemon juice and other items except the yeast and stirred and let it cool covered overnight. Tomorrow I'll pitch the yeast. We shall see what happens...

Plan on starting up some strawberry beer on the weekend. The cider seems to be slowing on it's fermenting and is starting to clear. Man, I feel like a distillery here...I'm going to need some help with all this hootch!!

Tuesday, August 06, 2013


Ever been to a junkyard? I hadn't until this weekend. It's a crazy place...acres and acres of abandoned, slightly stripped vehicles. Sad and intriguing, and very dusty.

You see, about 3 weeks ago I ran an errand and left the car unlocked overnight. Someone took advantage of that and looted our car. Thankfully it had nothing in it but parking change and an old stereo so all they snatched was the spare change...and the ashtray. Yes. My ashtray. A new ashtray for my car is $40, so to try and get a cheaper one I headed out to the auto wrecker junkyard 10 minutes outside of the city to get a used one for $5. J had to work so I set out on my own adventure and it was one interesting day let me tell you.

I got there on a nice sunny day and after waiting in line with some other characters I talked to the corset lady and the snake arm tattoo guy and told them what I wanted and they grinned and said "well that should be easy - we'll get you fixed up". So they gave me a photo map of the junkyard telling me where the Mazdas were and I wandered off in to the wasteland and found a few Protege5 and luckily one of them had an unused matching ashtray I could take back and buy for $5. Yup - you needed a map for this place. It was HUGE. All was well and I put it in the car and left to go back to take a few pictures of the strangeness of it all and pet the 3 legged yard dog they had on the lot (you can't make this sh*t up...and he was a friendly little guy)...and realised shortly after I had locked my keys in the car.
Yes. Good one.
So the yard looked at it and after a bit of head scratching realized they couldn't help me because of a lack of proper tools ("generally when we unlock a car ma'am we don't try and keep it pretty") so I called CAA and hung out in the sunshine with the 3 legged dog, watching the scavengers and chatting with the local colour. Kind of absurd, but not a bad day for it. I had nowhere urgent to be and in about 40 minutes the tow truck came and freed me and I was sheepishly on my way, new ashtray installed. After a few errands I headed home and as an apology to the car washed it and cleaned it inside and out, touching up the trim and vacuuming the interior.
The rest of the weekend was much more mellow,  using a rainy day to start up some cider mini-batches and relaxing with J. My blueberry wine is bubbling along nicely and the cider (1gallon with white sugar, 1 with brown sugar, 1 with a star anise tossed in) was fizzing away this AM too, so the brewing is well underway. Still plan on rhubarb cider, a gallon of apricot wine and some strawberry beer by the end of the month...I have to juggle my brewing gear to stagger it all but we should be well n our way to a full wine cellar come Christmas. As it should be. :)

Hope your long weekend was equally exciting :)

Saturday, August 03, 2013

To market to market...

Just hit the farmer's market for:
-3 Lb saskatoon berries
-5 Lb strawberries
-tomatoes (cherry and green)
-yellow beans
-peppers and onions
-fresh scones
-smoked bacon
-homemade yogurt
-BC peaches and apricots (just few...not quite ripe yet)

Now I'm off to the brew supply store and some other errands...I love this time of year!

Friday, August 02, 2013


The spare room smelt mildly of pie yesterday. We have friends visiting overnight so hopefully they didn't mind sleeping in the "pie room". I pitched the yeast last night before I went to bed and hope it will be burbling shortly. With all the berries I don't really have a starting gravity bit I plan to let it ferment a few weeks and then move it over to the carbuoy for a few months before I bottle it. Think I'll be picking up another carbuoy and fermenter pail on the weekend to get some mead going. He hee.

It's a long weekend here and I really can't wait. Fringe Festival and Farmer's Market here I come. :)

Cunning Plans

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