Archive for June, 2013

Mud River in the Bathtub

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

I can always tell when it has been a day of serious dirt when I look down in the shower, and see a stream of muddy water between my feet. Tonight’s shower was as such. We were prevented from planting the garden today by a final step, that of grubbing out the sod from the edge of the greenhouse garden where the tiller can’t reach.

I began properly by sharpening the grubhoe. The work is hard enough with sharp tools! Then I spit on my hands (figuratively) and started swinging the hoe. I lasted about 3 minutes. Now I’ve done this particular job numerous times. I know it isn’t pleasant, but I also know what I’m capable of. I walked out of the greenhouse, sat down, and rested for a while, stood, spit on my hands (again figuratively) and confidently walked into where I’d left off and grubbed me some sod. Three minutes later I was back outside sitting down again.

One of the luxuries of being retired is putting things off. This just wasn’t working, so I brushed off and headed inside, had some lunch and a nap, and woke up feeling confident.

It paid off. I grubbed all the rest of the 90′ of the greenhouse, then got in there and shook the dirt off of every one of my separated clods. Alice kindly put off making a rhubarb dessert to walk out and lend a hand. Once all the shaking was done, we gathered up the sod, wheeled it over to the compost drum, and started the process of making new dirt out of it.

After all that, I still had the energy to seed half of both gardens with buckwheat and rake it in. Tomorrow we’ll get it watered, and our first crop of green manure will be under weigh.

When I came in after all that, I took a shower, but you already know the rest of that story.

When Life Gives You Dandelions…

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

dandy1Here is an update from the post from a while ago called, Yellow Fingers, The hour or so I spent bent over in the yard that day went for naught. Other projects came to the forefront and the blossoms sat in the refrigerator until they seemed too dry to use, so we threw them out. {frowny face}

A couple of days ago, undaunted, we tried again. This time we used a slightly different technique. Alice and I each took bowls outside and chose the biggest nice looking dandelion blossoms we could find. Once we had a bunch, I came in and plucked blossoms, while Alice picked another batch. I’m a bit better at blossom picking than she is, and she is very good at finding the good flower heads. I sat at the kitchen table and plucked away while she fed me heads. After about 2 hours, we had our 7 cups of blossoms (and very little green.)

Shortly after we had them done, I continued the process and got a batch going in the primary fermenter. The recipe called for 1/2 pint of white grape juice concentrate. I assume they suggested white because the lovely yellow color of the finished wine wouldn’t be overpowered by the white. They had no plain white, but did have white grape and peach frozen concentrate, so I threw it in. The smell of the unfermented mixture was pretty good too.

The batch is in it’s second day of fermenting now, and is finally starting to get up a head of steam. As always, I watch the bubbler for that first little burp, and then jump up and down and say, “it’s working, it’s working!” After a couple of days, the bubbler is jumping around like a demon, and the kitchen smells like a brewery (in the pleasant sense of the word.)

In a few days, I’ll rack this batch into a glass bottle, and get the first look at the color of it. I hope to keep you posted.