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Amparo Bertram

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07:47 pm: An apple juice a day may keep everyone away
It was chilly and cold most of the week, so I didn't have much opportunity to work outside in the yard. The plants all seemed to appreciate the rain. The first blossoms on my sakura tree have opened, though the rest are all still buds.

My winemaking equipment arrived this week. Rather than use up all my tediously plucked dandelion petals on my very first batch, I thought I should try something simple to start. I decided to make apple wine as my beginning experiment. For one thing, apple juice is notoriously easy to ferment. For another, using apple juice purchased in glass jars means the empty jars can be used as fermentation jugs, saving having to order more.

I found that my local Williams-Sonoma store was giving a demonstration on techniques for making quiche and tarts. Since quiche is one of my main go-to items for meals, I figured it would be nice to see what they had to say. It was an interesting demonstration, mostly useful for the advice on preparing a flaky crust from scratch, which is something I never do (but would like to). It was also fun to watch the demonstration of how to make lemon curd in a Vita-Mix for a tart filling.

After that, I went to the nearby Whole Foods to pick up some apple juice. I was holding one jar in each hand, and I must have brought my hands too close together, because the jars clinked...and one shattered, spilling juice all over me and the floor. Not only was it embarrassing to make a mess, I then had to walk out into the biting wind with soaked jeans, not to mention take the bus home smelling like juice. Fun times.

At least I did manage to make it home without further incident. Though it was windy, the rain was mostly holding off, so I went out back to the garden and planted eight potatoes. I'm planning to grow eight more as a fall crop, plus several in pots. I also planted eight of my leek seedlings. I spent the remainder of the afternoon trimming weeds.

In the evening, I got the apple wine started in the primary fermenter (a plastic bucket). Since I added a Campden tablet (potassium metabisulfite) to prevent any wild organisms from growing in the juice, I had to wait another day to add the wine yeast, so that it wouldn't be affected.

This morning, after washing quite a lot of dishes, I worked on trimming more weeds. Some of the taller grassy weeds are starting to go to seed, so I'm trying to get rid of as much of that as possible. In the afternoon, I transplanted a number of strawberry plants into bigger and better pots. If all goes well, I should have an almost obscenely bountiful crop of strawberries this year.


[User Picture]
Date:March 21st, 2012 01:39 pm (UTC)
Yay for the blooming sakura! The sakura are so beautiful! We happen to be in DC and got to see the sakura at their peak yesterday. This is the 100th anniversary of the Japanese gift of 3000 cherry trees to Washington, DC. They are doing a five week festival that began Monday, and almost every event has a Japanese theme. If you have time could you please check out this website and tell me which events you would find interesting or fun? nationalcherryblossomfestival.org

We have plenty of discretionary time, but we can't decide because there is so much to choose from. Thanks for any help.

We're sorry about the apple juice spilling. It's going to make that wine so memorable.

The strawberries are such a wonder daily gift. How super!
[User Picture]
Date:March 22nd, 2012 01:30 pm (UTC)
That festival looks amazing! What a great time to be in DC.

Meet the Expert: Repotting Orchids Demonstration

I totally need to go to this. I got an orchid for my mom last year, and now it has beautiful, lush leaves, but we can't get it to bloom again. So sad!
[User Picture]
Date:March 21st, 2012 11:12 pm (UTC)
This is the 100th anniversary of the Japanese gift of 3000 cherry trees to Washington, DC.

That sounds simply amazing. What a fortuitous time to be in D.C.!
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