Archive | February, 2011

Wine and Specific Gravity

28 Feb

Specific gravity is a measure of how dense a liquid is.  In winemaking, specific gravity is used to help determine the alcohol content of a wine (starting specific gravity minus finished specific gravity).  It is also used to determine whether or not a wine has finished fermenting.  Below, is the hydrometer in a small sample of rhubarb wine.

This particular wine has a beginning specific gravity of 1.070.  If you turn the hydrometer, it will give you a potential alcohol content.  For the 1.070, the maximum alcohol content is 9%.  Of course, this can be changed if more sugar is added throughout the process.

We started three more wines that I told you about last week.  We began with a reading of 1.090 for the grape and the apple-raspberry wines.  That means the potential alcohol content is 12%.  As the wines fermented throughout the week, the specific gravity continued to drop.  Finally, when they got to 1.030, it was time to transfer them from the primary to the secondary vessels.  When the specific gravity falls below 1.000, it will indicate that the fermentation is complete.

This is the concord grape.  It is pretty, but the grapes are made for juice and jelly, not wine.  Even when finished, it will taste a lot like grape juice.

I’ve never done this combination of apple and red raspberries before, but I am excited to see how it turns out.

Finally, we did the strawberry rhubarb.  Because it was a specific recipe with exact amounts, I didn’t bother checking the specific gravity on it.

I will have to use the vinometer to determine the alcohol content of this one since I didn’t use the hydrometer.


ABC’s of Me and Stylish Blogger

27 Feb

Amanda at Lessons in Farming posted this cute ABC’s of me, and I thought I’d continue it.

A: Age: 43

B: Bed size: Full

C. Chore you hate: Dishes

D. Dogs: Mushu is a black lab/samoyed cross and Stella is a Great Pyrenees

E. Essential start to your day: Coffee and reading my blog comments; really, it’s the comments that get me kick-started and keep me going on those rough work days.  Thanks to all.

F. Favorite color: Purple, but green has become a close second

G. Gold or silver: Silver

H: Height: 5’

I: Instruments that you can play: Clarinet, flute and oboe, but it has been years.

J: Job title: special education behavior disorders teacher supports my real job of FARMER

K: Kids: one son who is 21

L: Live: Central Iowa

M: Mom’s name: Pauline

N: Nicknames: TC

O: Overnight hospital stays: Pregnancy complication, having the kid, and a weird virus that left me dehydrated

P: Pet peeve: people who don’t agree with me–just kidding.  Really, people who take the easy way out instead of investing the work and effort to do what is right really annoys me.

Q: Quote from a movie: “I feel like I’m riding a psychotic racehorse towards a burning stable.”  from Birdcage

R: Righty or lefty: Right

S: Sibling: one older sister

T: Time you wake up: 6:00

U: Underwear: yes

V: Vegetables you dislike: brussel sprouts, asparagus

W: What makes you run late: I despise being late and am chronically early.

X: X-rays: at one time or another most of the whole body.

Y: Yummy food you make: a whole bunch of baked goods

Z: Zoo favorite animal: Giraffes

Because it’s rare to see me on my blog, since I’m the one usually taking the pictures, I thought I’d share a portrait my mother painted of me when I was five years old.  It was done mostly from my kindergarten school picture, but I did have to have a couple of live sittings for the details.

For even more fun, I thought I’d add a poem I wrote for a different blog since it fits the same topic.

Why I’m Never Bored, an Alphabetical Journey through my Life

Animals of all kinds,

let’s just say it’s a zoo!

Blogging, truly addicted and I

might need to join a help group.

Candles are so much fun to make

and watch them burn.

Dairy: milking and making yummy stuff

like cheeses and fudge.

Explaining and teaching;

it’s my job after all.

Farming:  for real, I have a farm!

Hopefully it will be my job.

Gardening, indoors and outdoors,

veggies, flowers, herbs and plants.

Healing, mostly animals but

studied Reiki and Healing Touch.

Imagining and creating things–

crafts, stories, and hopefully a business!

Junior, that is my boy,

I’m relieved he’s grown.

Keeping things and collecting,

hopefully not hoarding!

Learning throughout my life,

always looking to grow.

Meditation: so much of what I

love becomes a meditation.

Nephews are wonderful,

and I have three great ones!

Organizing: lists and lists and lists

are fun to make and cross off.

Preserving and canning my

harvest and baking goods

Quiet time, so precious, and

I never seem to get much.

Religion of my choice, Wicca

is really a way of life.

Soap making, I did melt and pour:

now trying from scratch.

Taking pictures of my animals,

farm and life–beautiful.

Understanding human nature;

I am an empath.

Vintner-making wines from my fruits

and spending time with family.

Writing about my farm and poetry,

a way to heal the soul.

Xylem because I’m a tree-hugger;

really, I have hugged trees!

Yesteryear revealed through the

genealogy of my families.

Zipping around the farm

in the Ranger is fun!

To my great delight and surprise, I was also awarded The Stylish Blogger award from Granny Miller at Homestead Garden and Pantry.  She has some amazing posts on farm life and and I never fail to learn something when I visit.

The rules of the award are to 1) reveal 7 things about yourself (which I think I’ve already done in this post) and to pay it forward to fifteen other people.  Well, goodness, if you’re on my blogroll, you’re stylish so feel free to accept the award and pass it on.  If you aren’t on my blogroll, please don’t feel bad.  There’s even more great blogs out there and I’m horribly behind at getting it updated.

Goats Go to Pasture

26 Feb

This morning when I got up and looked out the window, I saw a beautiful sight.  The goats browsing through the snowy pasture.

I wasn’t really expecting that because the goats are not supposed to be out in the pasture.  There is no open gate, so it was a mystery how they got out there.

I bought the pasture so they could eat there, but this isn’t the best time.  If they are going out there, I probably need to get the electric fence around the orchard running again.  There’s also the west fence that is more of a suggestion than an actual fence.

Of course the kids are always up for playing out in the pasture.  Bambi and Fancy have quite the little battle going on.

Obviously, the llama isn’t looking happy about not getting over there too.

Annie obviously didn’t fit through wherever they went, probably because she is looking so heavy with baby(ies).  She was really not happy either.  She just stared out there the entire time.

The geese spend a lot of time over there.  I know where the geese go through the fence.  I purposely left it so they could get over there.

Well, here’s where the geese come and go under the fence.  Look else who fits under there!

I’m not surprised that the little ones can fit under the fence, but look who’s waiting for her turn.

Litha looks awfully squished.  Think she’ll make it?

Four-and-a-half months pregnant, and she made it through!  Was there ever a question of her fitting?

Scarlet never did make it under the fence, and she’s only a couple months pregnant.

I finally had to let Scarlet and a couple of other girls through the cattle panel that was blocking the cattle lane.  Evidentially, it’s a lot easier to go through that space downhill as opposed to uphill.

Be sure to visit Jan at Murrieta 365 for more pictures SOOC.