Monday, June 24, 2013

Strawberry Wine

 We have a friend who has given us homemade wine since I've lived here. It's the only wine that I can drink without having any side effects whatsoever. When I drink it, I savor the fruits (or flower petals) that it was made from. I know the extent that my friend has gone through to make his wines because now I've been working on my own (with great assistance and guidance from him -- thank you, Ron!)

This morning when we stopped by to pick up some racking equipment from him, he walked out the front door with two plates of egg sandwiches and a bean and squash mixture that made me think I'd died and gone to heaven. We sat out on his front porch and ate to our hearts' content.
Here he is on his front porch on Father's Day. I was not handy with a camera this morning because I was too busy eating.
But first, before we had breakfast on his front porch, we picked strawberries. In Central New York there are strawberry fields all over the place to pick and pick and pick. So, we do.

And then after the picking, is the stemming and the washing, as I'm doing in the background of this picture. Dan's the photog extraordinaire and I'm the stemmer at the helm. In our household we can't just do something without documenting it, so here are some more pictures of the strawberries freshly washed and ready to be smashed and loaded into the ale pail.
But, before we go to the mixing in the ale pail you must view the strawberries as they were all lined up waiting for their transformation...
Sixteen and a half pounds of strawberry goodness ready for the next phase.

See all those little bubbles in there? It's the yeast going crazy. It popped the lid off the pail twice! So, now it's time to put it in a carboy and let it sit for six weeks. My babysitting days are over then. Well, at least until the blackberries come in...

Friday, June 21, 2013

I Heart CNY

It's official. I heart it here. And, here being Central New York which encompasses so much more than the town in which I live. Right now the sun's shining, the breeze is blowing lightly. The strawberries are ready for picking. Birds are singing, and bees are humming. It truly is my most favorite time in this area. It helps me to forget the brutal months of staying indoors I just endured.

We have a deck on the back of the house where I love to sit outside and enjoy my morning coffee. This morning I actually took a book outside thinking I'd read and sip, but how could I when a squirrel came over to try and bite into Dan's brick bread? You know, the kind where the yeast is dead. The squirrel grabbed the chunk with both his paws. I saw him struggle to sink his teeth into it, but he gave up and ran to the garden for a strawberry instead. Much softer.
This garden is the first one I've planted since 2005. I inspect my little plantation while sitting on the deck with my coffee and watch the robins scavenge for worms, and yes of course, the squirrels picking the strawberries. It's the best "TV" watching ever. In the evenings I come home from wherever it is that Dan and I have scampered off too, and I hand water the garden because it's comforting. I can feel my heartbeat lower, and my breathing go deeper. Whatever cares I had before entering my little patch of earthly heaven are absolutely gone while I watch over my squash unfurl its leaves, and my sweet peas climb up their little fence.

You can see the corn shooting from the ground. I just planted Mammoth Sunflower seeds in a row to the north of the corn. There's also coriander, turnips, broccoli, beans, cilantro, carrots, and small basil near the crop of beans. On the far side of the garden near the "squirrel ski jump" I planted lettuce, turnips, radishes, chives, and onions.
We've already made several salads with the likes of them. There is nothing like going out to my garden, picking salad fixings with the seeds I planted weeks ago, and serving them up on the table outside. Ah...