Thursday, May 05, 2016

April catchup

Well I've been too busy to blog (or to sew much). The autumn is a busy time on a lifestyle block when you grow fruit and vegetables and raise cattle and chooks and try to live off of them. Most of the apples are harvested now and besides tons of applesauce and applejuice, I've tried to make cider. My first batch was just pureed Braeburn apples that had been frozen first and then thawed (presumably to break up the cell walls and release all the juices?). The mixture (with lemon peel and juice added) was left to ferment on its own for about 2 weeks and then bottled. It tasted lovely although I don't think it contains much alcohol. Certainly the bottles aren't looking like they want to explode!

My second batch of cider was supposed to be perfection - straight juice from 1/3 Cox-Orange and 2/3 Braeburn apples (no added water) and I put in cider yeast from Aqua Vitae, a brewing store in town. Well it still didn't bubble much even with the yeast added (maybe because I only had 7L and the pail is huge). After a week, I used a hygrometer to check the alcohol content - zero! I gave it all a stir, which got it bubbling for a day but now, another week later, it's not bubbling at all. So I'm going to have Ross taste it and see what he thinks (anything with alcohol in it doesn't ever taste the greatest to me so I'm a poor judge). If I get the thumbs up from Ross, I'll bottle it.

Although it's already May, I harvested all of these vegies this morning plus onions. The tomatoes plus some onions and peppers (sweet and hot) from the garden are now tomato puree. And the rest of the hot peppers are in the dehydrator. We're still harvesting parsnips, carrots, pumpkin/winter squash, silverbeet (chard) and I'm hoping the beetroot will get bigger soon. We've had a very warm autumn so far - up to 20-22C many times. But it's been very dry so we are getting desperate for rain. Soon we'll be feeding out hay to the cattle if the rain doesn't come.

Here's a photo I couldn't resist posting. Our dog Daphne found a possum up a gum tree recently and she couldn't resist trying to get to it. Unfortunately she wasn't too sure how to get back down! Ross did manage to save the damsel in distress.

The other fun thing taking me away from sewing this month was a tramping trip in the South Wairarapa on the Tora Coastal Walk. It was 3 days of walking carrying only our water and lunch. The postman delivered our bags to each destination! The food was all prepared for us in the evening and it was delicious. We went with friends plus several of their friends. We had good weather with great views of the sea and the rolling hills. Some native bush but not a lot. It was a private walk mostly through farmers' land.
At the top of The Trig

Doing dead ant exercises to get the lactate out after a lot of uphill walking

Ross managed to find a bulldozer at the top of a hill!

View of our destination at the end of Day 1

A fantail that was following us in the native bush on Day 3

 I have been slowly working on my daughter's quilt and only have 2 strips of the last border left to put on. Hoping to quilt it all before I see her in June, which may be wishful thinking, but fingers crossed I can do it. Here's a sneak preview of one of the 15 different block design/colour combos. More later.

 That's all for now.

1 comment:

RobiNZ said...

The walk looks great. Took me a while to get an rss feed app I liked on windows 10 then found your blog active when I did :)