Sunday, April 26, 2009

Cleared and bottled Raspberry Wine

Well, here is the finished wine, cleared and bottled. Red Raspberry on the left and Wild Grape on the right. They are really, really good now...just wait for the magic number birthday (1 year) and I MIGHT have a bottle left to try. Dearest hubby told me to hide what I didn't want gone. He keeps giving it away...without the understanding it needs the entire year to age. Oh, well...
I also bottled Apple Raspberry, which isn't shown. I was impressed that you can see the trees through these, and was so darn excited about it all that I ordered a Blackberry Cabernet KIT. I haven't made any from a kit yet, but it sounded intriguing. Supposed to be everything I need but the water and containers. It was. It is now in the secondary fermentor.
I have blueberry started (5 gallons) as well, and a smaller batch of blueberry pomegranite (3 gallons). Tomorrow I will start jalepena pepper wine (1 gallon batch), and Pineapple (also, 1 gallon), and maybe pineapple orange (1 gallon).
I gotta remember to keep my stuff on schedule, so I have empty fermentors and carboys when the rhubarb and dandelions come. I also asked the Milk Man's wife, Heidi, to save some barley at harvest in the fall, for a little barley wine. It sounds like I am getting carried away, but some of it doesn't work out, and some of it does. The raspberry wine was for someone else, and I only took a little for the supplies I used. The blueberries were from my late parents...10 lbs of them...and who can eat that much pie. We would all be obese. And how about the dandelions? There are so many of them just waiting to be plucked.
About that makes great pie, crisp, bars, custard, jelly, gets as bad as zuchinni. You know, you have to lock your house and cars in the fall around here, because if you don't the neighbors leave you zuchinni! Well, it's the same with rhubarb. Not that I mind, but a person needs to be inventive about ways to use all that bounty. (Incidentally, I have found a recipe for zuchinni wine, which I REFUSE to try. That seems to go a bit far.)
Well, the fam is in for supper, and of course it was a chore to do chores. Maybe a smidgen of raspberry wine and some good hot food will tame the savage beasts. Or not. Night all.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Jade, the Caique (Ky-eek)

Introducing Jade, my friends' Caique, who has come to live with us for a while. Jade's owner's husband is in the service and they are now stationing the family in either Germany or Italy. Both owners are already missing him, I am sure.
Here he is reaching for a peanut offered by my daughter, although it looks like he is waving hello, instead. He is really beautiful, and we feel pretty special that he came to live with us.

His new home is in my sewing shop, since that's where the action usually is. No sense in putting him in the house 'cause no one is usually in the house!! He already loves the sound of the sewing machines...I imagine it will be one sound he will learn to mimic. Here is one of his best front shots. He's really neat to look at and listen to.

So far he really only squaks and whistles and squeels. He is a bit upset at moving. Today, we moved his cage into the sunny window. I let him out and he went straight to the window and started whistling to the outside birds. Today, we made him very happy!

Here, he is turning his back on us. I am sure he is ignoring us, but it was such a pretty picture of his back and tail, I just had to include it!

Jade came with lots of toys including this great big wheel made of rope that he gets to climb on and swing from. At first, it freaked out my zebra finches, because I hung it between their cage and Jade's, but now they only freak out if Jade actually hovers above them. I would imagine he could hurt them in the wild, but this guy is really layed back and not very aggressive. He did pinch our fingers a bit 'cause he's somewhat upset...but not hard. He was testing the waters, like 6-yr-olds usually do. I guess they live for about 50 years, which is a great age! So, mid-life crisis should occur around 25, right??!!
Well, lots of love to Jade's owners. We will see you in three years!!! Now, that's a lot of bird sitting. I'll leave you with this silly thing I learned a long time ago, and Please don't be offended if you are from Long Island...It is supposed to be said in their accent...
The Poiple Boid
Dere was a poiple boid sittin' on a coib, choipin' and boipin' an' sayin' doity woids.
Along came Moitle and Hoiman, who woiked at da vinager woiks at toity toid and toid street.
Day seen dat poiple boid sittin' on da coib, choipin' and boipin an' sayin' doity woids,
and boy was day distoibed.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


It began as a glow in the sky to the west of our farm (We were on our way home from our daughter's spring concert, and it was about 9 pm). We wondered just exactly what was burning, so we drove over about 5 miles and came upon a huge grass fire...headed for the woods.

We turned off the jeep and could hear the crackle of the fire clear as day, and the flames started getting higher...

We were only there for about a half an hour, and the fire got MUCH bigger, and LENGTHENED out over more acres.

Below are before and taken a half an hour apart. Sorry about the double image, but my daughter was pretty excited.

Here are a final shot as we left. There were people out there, all over like ants, trying to fight this fire. This picture was taken about a half a mile away. The thing had at least tripled in size in the short time we were there. My husband and brother in law went back to see if they could help...Will try to supply after pics in the morning. Although there are no homes in the direct path of this fire, if it crosses the gravel road there will be. Pray hard for those fighting it and near it. The wind is picking up here...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Righteous road rash

Before: Upright and confident 16-yr-old on his newly acquired yz250...Note helmet. Mom said this was required at all times. Although I cannot mend broken necks, lumps bumps and head injury will be drastically reduced.
Notice the pace dog, behind rather than in front!

After: He's goin' down, down, down...He tried to pop a wheelie, and, well, you know...


Left leg has severe abrasions and turning purple...Both brain cells still intact (mom thinks additional information was gathered).
Is there a moral to this story??? If so, please comment...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Milk Dud

Here is that little Milk Dud all cuddled up and fast asleep after an exciting day of Easter celebration. Thanks for having Easter at your house, Milk Man!!
I hope you enjoyed all the yummy leftovers, too.

And here is Itty-Bitty's kitties, now a couple weeks old. Their eyes are just opening.
Our cousin picked the middle one to take home when the time is right. The other two will likely turn siamese in color.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Baby kittens

New life at the farm means lots of trips to the barn to provide for the mamma and kids. Our Kitty, Itty-Bitty, finally popped. She ran out of the box to eat lasagna leftovers as she was in the process of having one kitten. Then, as soon as she was full of meat and cheese, went in the box and had 3 more. Notice her violet eyes. They are way prettier than dark blue. Lovely violet.

The kids checked up on her yesterday and found one kitten deceased, and the others Itty-Bitty had moved to a hole in the straw bales in the hay mow. Still reachable. We have an order for one baby kitten (from our cousin). We will try to keep them socialized so they are easier to give away when the time comes. Maybe she will take two!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

The sugar bush

This might not be real interesting, but it is informative. I had my daughter take some pics at the sugar bush tonight when they went to unload sap...
Lots of neighbors take their sap to this sugar bush. Here we are backed up to the stainless tanks that will allow us to measure our sap. As it is unloaded, we also take a sample of the sap, which will be sent through a little machine that reads the sugar content.

The white PVC transfers the sap to the tank. At the end of the PVC is a sock that filters crud out of the sap as it gets dumped.

Here is the little reader that tells us the sugar content of the sap. This tells the sweetness. Much of the sap this year reads a 30:1 sugar content, so for every 30 gallons of sap, you will get 1 gallon of syrup.

This is Merlin's evaporator. First, he runs the sap through a reverse osmosis machine and removes a good share of the water, then he cooks it down and stores it in barrels. It's a sticky job.

This is where the sap comes out of the evaporator. It's really hot!! This is set up to automatically draw off the sap as it reaches the right time.

That is Merlin. He looses a lot of sleep this time of year. But sticky, sweet, and loosing sleep, it's a great job!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sugar Snow

This is what we woke up to this morning, after a great muddy week here in Northwest Wisconsin.

This is called a sugar snow, and it gets its name from the timeliness of the event. We are Wisconsin Sap suckers, those of us who tap maple trees for their bounty of sap for Maple Syrup...This dusting of snow will boost the sap and actually tell the trees to give us more! It's a great event, even though we are tired of this white stuff. Kids got up and said, "oohhaww" which, roughly translated means they are equally sick of the snow.

I, personally, don't like mud, which is prevelant in the spring. The milk truck comes up our driveway and sinks, and makes ruts up to 18" deep. I am SO glad we don't have to deal with dirt roads to much. I tore the exhaust off my poor jeep last week! It is not fun. My sewing customers have had to walk up the driveway for a while now. Doesn't seem to phase them, however. Spring is indeed in the air.

Here are a few more pics, then it's off to Northern MN for the day. My brother lives in Milaca and he says there is no snow there. They are grilling out today. MMMMMM. Obviously I am NOT grilling out today...Or riding bike...I could make a snowman.