About Me

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I'm a mother of four grandmother of seven and great grandmother of one. I have many hobbies and interests but gardening and rug hooking are my main interest at the moment. I live with my husband in the house that we built with the help of my brothers and have been married for 49 years.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

MAKING A GREAT WINE THE EASY WAY

One of life little pleasures is sipping a nice glass of wine with my girls. I've been meaning go get some started but it's been one thing after another and I never seem to take the time to do it. I wanted to have some for Christmas since all my girls will be home.  So on April 13, I made a special effort to get to Wine Kitz up town and purchased two wine kits since I wanted a white and a red wine.
It just happened that both of the wines that I wanted were on sale for 20% off. I saved $50. plus a bit of tax. An unexpected nice surprise.

George looking at something as he walks to the store. I'm so glad that he could spare the time to help me.

I happen to love a full bodied Ultimate Estate Gewurztraminer and I'm not a wine connoisseur like my son in law is but it's a darn good wine. Although I love red wine, I'm always afraid to drink some as I get terrible stomach cramps and red face with big headaches. I will try one sip and wait to see if I react before consuming anymore. I explain this to the lady at the wine store and told her what I was looking for and she suggested Valpolicella  pronounces val-poly-chella.
I've tried it and it's a lovely wine and I have no adverse effect with it so I'm really happy. I know that the girls will love it. I'll try some other types later.

With two batches I knew that I would need some help to bottle and cap and seal and I asked my husband George if he could help me bottle. My appointment was at 3:00PM and I needed to be back at work for 4:00PM to feed the calves and check on the expectant heifer.



The kits come in big boxes and the grape juice is in thick plastic bags. There are a lot of carboys   full of wine waiting to be bottled. The big plastic containers each hold fermenting wine.I'm only showing one section of the long room.

 My wine was ready to bottle on the 17 of June but since they had a sale, they were bursting at the seam with customers wanting in on the deal. I could only get an appointment on the 26th of June for bottling.



Here is another room with full of carboys filled with wine and again, only a section is showing.

Together it only took us 30 minutes from start to finish to process both batches. Each batch is 22 litres. A large bottle of wine is 1 litre and a small bottle is 750 ml.  The girl told me that I would need 62 small bottles. Since I had 22 large one litre bottles and 31 smaller bottles I had just enough. I washed bottles at home until my legs got numb from standing. That was the only real hard work I had to do to get my wine ready.



On the other side of this wall there are a multitude of wine kits and on this wall supplies for those who make their own wine at home.

 The folks at Wine Kitz were so helpful, they help carry the boxes of bottles from the car and back again when we were done. We worked super fast as time is money for them. They are very busy all the time.


Some wine labels for a variety of wine.  Not showing,  a section for plastic toppers to add a nice finish to the wine bottle.

You can see the corking machine on the left side of the photo above. The bottle sits on that little platform and it goes down . The cork goes above that shiny thing on the top and the see through door is closed and the cork is pushed into the bottle in the blink of an eye.
I asked permission to take photos of course and explained that some of my blog followers had never heard of such a store.  She was all too happy to oblige.

Since we were in such a rush, the photos are just snap shots and not great quality.



This is my uncle's  brother in law, not my sister in law as previously stated, lol. What a surprise to see him working there.
While I was running around taking pictures and choosing labels he sterilized my bottles.  Against the wall are my bottles. He was finishing off someone else 's wine.  That machine is adjustable for different height bottles. Here he was finishing filling someone's bottles.


The system is flushed and cleaned for my batch. In the back, the lady is putting another batch of my smaller bottles through the sanitizer.
On the right of the photo is the corking chamber. Sorry. I forgot to take a decent photo of it. I would have needed another person to take photos.


This little red hot coil is the plastic cap shrinker. All I did was place a plastic cap on the bottle and place the top of the bottle in the coil for one second only and the plastic shrinks tight on the bottle top.   It's quick and very easy. You place the bottle in a compartment and place a cork on top and close the compartment door and the pressure pushes the cork in and you open the door and remove the bottle.



With every batch of wine there is a little extra left over and George was in a rush to try it.
See the plastic cap on top of the green bottle.


I hope that you enjoyed seeing how easy the process  of making your own wine without the fuss of caring for it at home if you are a busy person. There are several wine making stores in my city and probably in yours too. I hope that you give it a try if you drink wine. It's way cheaper than buying wine at the liquor store.

Thanks for stopping by for a visit and be sure to follow my blog by clicking the Bloglovin button on my side bar. Only a few days left before July 1st and Blogger will discontinue Blog Reader.
I'm looking forward to reading your comments. They are like personal visit and I love them.

JB

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

SOMETHING PINK, WINE, FLOWERS AND WEEDS

I finally remembered to get some pink yarn to knit a scarf this week. Every time I go up town, I'm running late and have to rush home in time to feed the calves. This week I made a special effort to get the yarn, I was late to feed the calves and they were happy when I finally arrived to feed them.



It's a knit one purl one repeated over and over. It's called the seed stitch. I only knit a little bit when I get a chance at night.



Tonight, I'm washing some wine bottles. This is an older picture that I had on file so I'm using it again.
I wish that I could just wiggle my nose and they would all be sparkling clean.

I'm getting ready for bottling some wine tomorrow. I do it the lazy way at WineKitz. I chose the wine kits  I want, I pay them and they get the batches fermenting. I make a date for bottling and
 and tomorrow I'll bring my own clean bottles and they will sterilize them.
This time I'm making a batch of my favorite white wine, Ultimate Estate full bodied Gewurztraminer  and a batch of red wine called Ultimate Valpolicella.



I have a  jungle in my own backyard. I'm pretty sure that I will encounter a lion or monkey in there. I can hear the birds on the wire laughing at me.
This is a flowerbed that runs all along the length of the backyard. It was so hot and sunny and the photo didn't turned out well.


It was a matted mess of weeds of every kinds. Where to begin? The front of the garden was in the sun so I started in the back where it was cooler but still muggy. I armed myself with Deep Wood and braved the lion size mosquitoes.

 I decided to weed a path from the front so that I could carry my bucket of weeds to the wheelbarrow back and forth and this was the spot I chose between two peonies that were in buds.



This is the beginning of the garden by  my son's black shed  that is still there since... way back when...
Notice my fiddleheads that I transplanted last spring. I just dug them up from our land by the edge of the river. They grow long stems under ground and out pops up another fiddlehead. They are rather decorative when you let them grow.



My progress, I now have a clearing in the back of the flowerbed framed by wild cedar  hedge at the back.


View of the front after some weeding. It's difficult to get the whole bed in the picture. The sun makes everything so pale.




You guessed it, I'm now tackling the other end by the white shed.  My colorado Blue spruce has some dying branches that I will cut off since my Azaleas are growing under.


This is the section of my flowerbed that is in front of my Colorado Blue Spruce.
I pulled the very tall weeds by hand so I could see where some perennials were before sticking my fork in.You can see a few paver bricks but most are completely covered with grass.


Here I have removed the grass from the paver bricks.
I still have a lot of work to do  It gives you an idea how much this flowerbed needed some rescue. I'm far from done. Got chased in by a big thunder shower  so that I could blog.

I know that I bore you to death with all my weeding but someone has to do it. Just be thankful that you don't have to do it, he,he.


This is why I do it. So I can enjoy the fruit of my labor. Maybe next year I won't have to work so hard. That would be nice but I'm only dreaming.

Have a good week and thanks so much for visiting me. I appreciate that you take the time to leave a comment.

JB





Friday, June 14, 2013

ALL RIGHT, LETS GET TO WORK

I'm a list person. I make long lists of thing that I would like to get done. Some are long range planning and may take several years to get to it and some are urgent and top priority, some are costly,  (I need a new roof badly). Most are just maintenance lists like weeding and household chores etc... some are acquiring something or some are even hobbies.

I make a list and I love to cross them out and it's amazing how much I can accomplish over time. My list changes with the seasons. For example, my spring cleaning lists will be listed by room and what needs to be done in each room so I don't get overwhelmed. As long as I can cross things off, I feel like I'm accomplishing somethings. I don't need to cross every things off. I'm pretty flexible. Also in the spring I have a long list of flowerbeds to weed, divide  or revamp, etc. On days when I'm not very chipper, I do the easy stuff or sometimes I don't do anything. I need to add ( rest ) to my lists.



I got an extra pair of hands to help me today.

 The weeds were particularly bad in this bed. Each paver brick were lifted and weeded in between.


Right now, I'm working on a list of flowerbeds that needs serious weeding and so far I've crossed 12  off  the list with more to go. It's hard work but it feels good after it's done.


This is my crabapple tree that George bought me some years ago.  It was a grafted tree and it send up lots of sucker branches that are growing all around the base. I cut them off every year and they keep coming back. There are millions of  winged seed from surrounding Maple trees all over the yard.

It's hard to believe that the weekend is already upon us and not only that, we are in mid June. 
Have a safe weekend everyone and don't forget to leave a comment. I do appreciate them.
JB

Sunday, June 9, 2013

I'M BACK AT HOOKING 10 MINUTES A DAY

Life seems to be filled with lots of things that needs attention. Weeds, the lawn and hay fields seems to screams the loudest right now. With all the rain, the grass is growing so fast.

It's haying time so the men are buzy and I have to hold the fort sometimes. I've been cleaning the small deck in the back of the house and my pressure washer  busted... I've managed to clean it off enough to paint the small back deck rail. I picked up a new pressure washer today. I personally own  all the  handyman toys to get the yard work done but it would be nice to have a professional handy man doing all the hard work.

I clipped  one side of the evergreen hedge with a small pair of pruners. I have the hedge trimmer but took my time and did a reasonably OK job. It just needs a bit of tweeking here and there with the hedge trimmer. This is the same neglected hedge that I clipped off the top last fall. Sorry, no pictures. I was chased in by the rain.

  I've picked up my hook again and I've tried to hook at least 10 minutes a day. I know that it's not much but it's a lot better than what I've been doing this winter. The rain has kept me inside so I managed to dye a bit of wool for the last vignette. I still have some grass to hook around the rocks.and water. I really find it hard to choose the right color.



I was stuck... Anyone who hooks rugs, knows what I'm talking about.  It something like writer's block. I was stuck on hooking water. Everything that I was trying didn't seem to work. I did some shuffling of the pig and the little fishing girl (that's me) and I'm not happy with the pig and the mud puddle is just not to my liking. It looks like the pig is on a brown rug. yuck...  I left it for now and the pig also needs a tail. I need to dye some wool for the mud puddle.

 I still have no idea what background to put in the upper right corner under my berries.  I'm sure that it will all come together once I'm done fiddling with the brook. I started to hook the hazelnut with leaves. I'm satisfied how they are turning out. They were actually fun to hook.


I've been using the green worms that I have already cut. There were so many marker drawings under the little brook that I had to totally ignore the lines and just hook as I saw fit, trying to make some ripples and curent.

I hope by posting an update it will force me to hook more often.

My daughter Christine is flying home with the boys in early August and Nicole my oldest daughter will fly from Scotland for Christmas. My oldest granddaughter is having a baby boy in September and that will make me a great grandmother.
Thanks for visiting and remember that I love to hear from you.

JB



Saturday, June 1, 2013

MORE FARM ADVENTURES I'M AFRAID

Sorry for being such a poor blogger. When I come in from a full day's work, I'm so tired that I just plop myself in front of my computer and instead of posting, I check my followers' blogs and leave comments on those who  normally leave comments on my blog. I'm a two fingers typist and that's pretty darn slow and it takes me so long to type that I'm falling asleep before I can post on my own blog. Forgive me my Blogger friends if I don't always leave comments on your blogs. I always feel that my visitors are owed a curtesy visit with comment. I always enjoy reading about your day.


For lack of a heifer calf photo I decided to use my azalea that is blooming right now for the blog photo.
                                                ************************************
The weather has been all over the place but I can't complain as our American friends are really going through some rough time with all the tornados, rain and flooding. I hope that the weather will soon settle down to a normal summer for all.

I've been raging war with weeds in between rain showers. Trying to get ahead of the chickweed before they go to seed  otherwise the chickweed wins.

My new farm adventure

I wanted to tell you about my new adventure at the barn yesterday morning. It all started with a leaky water bowl. I noticed that the long big pen where our older heifer calves are housed was getting wet in one section. We couldn't see where the water was coming from. The pen was  cleaned out with the skidsteer and new bedding was put in. They seemed happy for a few days and then again, I noticed the pen being soggy in the same section again.

Yesterday morning I reached inside the gate to see if I could see if the bowl was leaking and I noticed that the heifer calves had pushed the water bowl a half a turn. It was loose and I could see water trickling a tiny bit and then it stopped. They would have no water to drink so I called my husband to show him.

We decided that the bowl needed to be replaced so we would have  moved all the heifer calves to the cow pen across the alleyway, maybe 8 feet away. It should be a piece cake cow patty.

One the the heifer calf decided that she didn't want to go in through the gate opening and chose instead to jump into the big cow trough and proceeded to try to get in through the stanstions where the cow put their heads through an opening to eat. She got herself good and really stuck. The front went in as she pushed real hard but the girl's hips were just too large to go through.  I wish that I had my camera with me. It was the most stupid position that she got herself in.  Her feet didn't touched the ground and she couldn't be lifted easily as she is around 275 pounds or more.

My husband is a wiz at math but rescuing a stuck bovine is not his strong point.  I called my son Vaughan  with a tone of urgency. Within minutes he was there and hooked up the winch with strap and chain but he could see that he needed another plan to get her out. He used part of the cow lifter frame and turned it on it's side to make like a table frame and put two narrow sheets of plywood to make a platform for her feet to rest on and he lifted her up high until her hind feet touched the floor and then her front feet rested on the platform and pushed her out from where she came in. She fell on the floor and quickly got herself up. I hope that she has learned her lesson but I doubt that she's got enough brain in that big head of hers.
He then replaced the water bowl with a brand new one and put some fresh bedding in their pen.

One little kitten wanted to be just where the action was and knowing that he would surely  be crushed, I quickly grabbed the said kitten and the little beast bit me on my right hand.  I should have picked him by the scruff of the neck but was in a rush to get him out of danger. I swung him out of the way and ran to pour rubbing alcohol on the wound. I keep a bottle handy where I work.

I have to be vigilant to not get cuts on my right  hand because I have had most of my lymph nodes removed from my armpit and I could get lymphedema for life if it gets infected. Lymphedema is a lifelong condition with lymph fluid retention causing swelling and pain which needs expensive treatments. Not a route I want to take.

I was so tired this afternoon that I needed a little nap before going to weed some more. I weeded about half an hour and there was a sudden downpour and I ran in the house wet, then it was time for more barn work. I envy those who can get away for the weekend.


Here is the long flowerbed weeded. Yeah... I also put a small border at the end of the driveway. I dug out half a wheelbarrow of crushed rocks from that little flowerbed.It was really hard to weed. I put in a bag of potting soil to replace the crush rocks. It will surely be easier to weed. I used a coarse screen mesh to screen all the crush rocks from the end of that little flowerbed.


This is what it looked like last fall.  It was impossible to weed because of all the crush rocks in the soil. It was an absolute mess.


Tomorrow is another day and there will probably be nothing newsworthy to write about....

Thanks for visiting and stay safe. I appreciate you and your comments, however short just so I know you count me as one of your blogger friend. Happy June everyone, I hope it a good month for you.
JB