Thursday, May 20, 2010

Lilac Wine, part 2

Its been about 24 hours, so its time for the easy part.

I had my buckets scrubbed clean and sanitized in the dishwasher, so i just have to pour.

The (what i guess you would call) must has a golden color to it. The flowers still get hints of purple/blue when they are clumped together.

The recognizable scent of lilac has gone, but there is a pleasant floral aroma with a little tang of southern sweet tea in there.

The pot is too heavy to pour direct, so a big measuring cup will work.  Sanitized of course.

This is the yeast i decided to use. I was going to try a montrachet, but for a few reasons i went with this.
This yeast should (if i know what i'm doing) be vigorous, it should not get 'stuck' as easily as some might- i had read that stuck fermentation could occur with lilac wines- ,  this yeast should ferment the wine to a very dry level and its going to be a light colored wine and this yeast is normally used for lights. It also should not foam... (in beer brewing its called 'blowing off' and it will spew foam all over if it does this)

Pitch the yeast...  (do they call it 'pitching' in winemaking?)

Close the lid and pop on the airlock...
Fill the airlock with sterile water...or water with some idophor in it.

Wait for 7 days, strain and squeeze the flowers, rack to secondary and every 30 days, siphon off sediment until clear.  Then bottle and age for about 6 months.

More planting out?

Some of the melons have sprouted and weather is actually looking very good. Overnight lows for this weekend are expected to be in the 50's.
So, i may plant some of the sprouted melons today or within the next day or so.
I wanted the melons to be under hoops, but the row i want them in is one that i didn't get hooped.  I did cut a piece of row cover for it and it has been on the row,  hopefully holding in warmth. I need the melons protected from bugs right away until they get big enough to survive some bug damage.

So, even though the row cover is supposed to be light enough to put right on the plants... i don't really want to because melons are put on hills, we get wind that might pull and drag the covering enough to snap off little seedling stalks.

This means i need to come up with something to prop the cover up that won't tear or snag it.
I thought about using a few milk jugs with the bottoms cut off, but i don't have any saved and they block too much light. Soda bottles with the bottoms cut off might work, but not for as long as i want.
I got a pack of 24 2' bamboo stakes at "The Tree" the other day.
Hubby had to use an old bike inner tube to patch a leak a while ago.
I remember Mr Wizzbang using slices of innertube as elastics for his carved giant clothespin style hoop clips...  and i think if i maybe cut some bands from the inner tube and wrap 3 stakes together, i can spread them over the seedlings like mini tipi.

Like this:

And then put a cup on top so the sticks won't snag the cover.

It should last just long enough for the melons to get a good head start.


Well, its about 12:30 now. I went out to try and do some work.  I managed to section off that final wide row. I decided i needed a foot path to be able to get in there on both sides of the row. Its still about 5' wide, but now i can get in to hopefully train the squash vines to head in the direction of the Jerusalem Artichokes and the fence instead of the next planted row.

I got that done and i planted 20 odd Mary Washington Asparagus seedlings. The two Horseradish roots went in too. But that is it.  I am still so sore from the other day! I really hate this.
I despise being in pain and i hate not being able to do things. Its not like i'm going out and doing something indulgent. Yes, i think gardening is fun, but i guess i wish it wasn't so painful. Its too small of a garden for me to not get things done in.
I tried to make the hills for the melons.
Its beautiful and sunny and warm. Nice breeze.  Perfect day for being out there digging in the dirt.
ok...pity party over.


I do have the new set of sprouts getting acclimated to the sun.
I have to be careful, i haven't had good luck doing this in the past!

I wanted to plant out the onion seedlings and the shallot seedlings... maybe tomorrow :oD

Its so  nice out i am tempted to plant the tomatoes that survived the frost, the hubbs bought me a few more tomato cages.  I wanted to put together some sturdier braces for tomatoes, since some are indeterminate,  but we don't seem to have anything suitable for it right now.  I have always used cages with acceptable results.  I'll look into trying something different for next year.

Oh, my berry seed order came in. The one from eBay with the fern spores in it. Things look great.  Small quantities though, but prices averaged a $1.10 for each item and she combined shipping which was only $2. 
I hope i get to report impressive germination rates. I love adding people to my Favorite Sources list.


I need to get the 5 gallon brewing bucket cleaned ans sanitized so i can get the wine must in there.  I hope my dishwasher can get them clean all the way to the bottom.  I intend to use the glass carboy as a secondary, but it will be easiest to use the bucket for the first stage while the flowers are in it.  The flowers  are to  stay in for a week, then they have to be strained out and squeezed well.
I'll have to siphon the liquid  off its sediment, from carboy to carboy to clarify it in stages, then when it is clear enough i can age it in bottles.
I'm envisioning a color like herbal tea- chamomile or mint leaf.  Would be nice to see purple, but there are no pigments for it.  I noticed the flowers turn a gray blue when they hit the boiling sugar water.

I also need to clean out some cell packs for starting my berry seeds....