Saturday, December 31, 2016

New Cider Follies

Well, hey, the last batch turned out so very well that we're doing some more experimenting with our hard Ciders.
New batch, Cranberry Cider
So the new batch consists of apple juice, 24 oz of fresh cranberries (stewed for a bit until they pop), brown sugar, some raisins, and yeast.  We'll rack it off the lees in about a week and add more sugar, then bottle a week after that and age......yeah, right, we'll drink it.

This is fun.


Friday, December 23, 2016

Notes on the New Year: your opinions wanted

Notes on the Road Ahead
2017 is going to bring a lot of changes--and a lot of work--to us here aboard "The Floating Empire".  Our plan is to build a new vessel, one based on our nearly four years of experience living here on the water.  The new boat, currently dubbed "Tesla's Revenge," will be an electrically driven barge houseboat, somewhat smaller than "Empire" but more seaworthy, and designed specifically so that anyone can build it out of common materials and with just a simple set of hand tools.

We plan on beginning the new construction in early spring, hopefully with a splash before or in early summer, and to spend most of the summer exploring the Erie canal system and the Great Lakes.

This leaves us with a number of decisions to make, vis a vis The Floating Empire.  We'd love you guys to give us your ideas on this.  What shall we do?  Do we disassemble the Empire and use the components to build the new boat?  Do we gift The Floating Empire to someone who wants her, someone who will continue her story of life on the water?  Do we do something else entirely?  Would you like to live here on the water?

What do you think? We'd really love to know.

The weather is lovely here right now, surprisingly warm this week, and without the stiff winds that have been plaguing us.  We're planning on cooking out tomorrow, doing a roast and Yorkshire pudding in the fire pit above, and then visiting good friends on Christmas day.  We wish all of you a great Yuletide season, and a happy and safe new year.


Monday, December 19, 2016

A minor gas update

The ubiquitous #20 Propane bottle.
Just as a quick update to our propane installation:  We've been using the propane only for cooking, and as you know if you've been following our blogs, we cook. We enjoy it, seldom eating out and almost NEVER using prepared foods of any kind.   Morning coffee and tea, breakfast, lunch, dinner. . . we roast our own coffee, we bake occasionally.  We use the galley constantly.  We also use the propane to heat water to do dishes, and for hot water bottles to warm up chilly feet on chilly evenings.  That's pretty continuous use of the stove.

We were curious how long one of the #20 bottles would last us.  Now we know.  This first round lasted us a trifle over six weeks.  Not bad, and certainly more economic than using non-refillable bottles.

Just cause some of you asked.  You may notice I didn't mention the wood stove and haven't mentioned the Kerosene Butterfly Stove in a bit.  Yes, we've stopped using them and, no, we're not particularly happy about it.  The Butterfly Kerosene stove worked well and faithfully, but Gail began to have a problem with the Kero fumes (ditto for our kerosene heater).  We were more than happy with out little TMZ Woodstove, but the Marina decided they didn't want any solid fuel stoves in the marina.  So, if we wanted to stay here, we're stuck with an electric heater and no woodstove.  Sigh.

More later


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Update to the Cider Update Update

So we did the second rack off and bottling last night, the secondary fermentation having stopped.  Of course, we had to have a glass.
This REALLY turned out well.
Even as young as it is, the scrumpy is delicious.  Final ABV is about 7%, and it's surprisingly smooth.  Fun project that we'll continue.


Thursday, December 8, 2016

Update to the Cider Update

. . . . .or, give it a little time, dammit.

So I put together the must for the pumpkin cider, pitched the yeast, and waited.  A day passed. . . .two. . . .nada.  No signs of fermentation (WHY would I think there would be?), so I freaked out and stirred it again, even did another yeast pitch.  Maybe, I thought, the must was still too hot when I did the original pitch (it wasn't).  Maybe there was too much chlorine in the water.  Maybe the moon was out of phase.


Only to feel like an idiot when the thing started cooking in earnest the next day, and has been ever since.
Yep, bubbling away.
Okay, so I get impatient.  This, like a lot of natural processes, takes time, and takes it's OWN time to happen.  Kinda like life.

So in a week or so, when the fermentation slows down, I'll rack it off the lees and to a second ferment, adding a bit of brown sugar and spices (it is a Pumpkin cider, after all), and, if I can keep my freaking hands off it, all shall be well.

Patience, Mungo, Patience.