In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine


Brewing up something good (I hope)

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Last night I got home from work and fully intended on laying on the couch for the rest of the evening.  My cold has finally taken over and I've been dragging a bit the past couple days.  But I had delusions of grandeur that I would make some bread to go with some soup for dinner, so I quickly whipped up the dough and set it in the living room to rise (its much warmer in the living room compared to our poorly-insulated kitchen).  As I was finishing up I noticed Kyle moving the brew pail that has been hanging on to almost six gallons of cider into the kitchen.

We'd been concerned about our first attempt at brewing hard cider.  There was spotty action in the airlock, where with beer we're used to a decent amount of bubbling, we saw hardly any with the cider since we started it back in the beginning of December.  Apparently Kyle was sick of waiting so we pulled out the hydrometer and set it in the cider.  When we measured it at the start we had a potential alcohol content of 13%, by the time the hydrometer sinks all the way to 0-1 the cider is done converting the sugars into alcohol.  Last night we watched as it bobbed a few times before settling in, and sure enough it was telling us that it was done.  I couldn't believe it.

We syphoned off the cider into a glass carboy, where it will continue to clear and become (hopefully) even more delicious.  We did take a quick taste of what we had so far and it wouldn't win any awards but it wasn't vinegar so I was pretty happy.  The stuff we let ferment in a wine bottle (letting it do its thing with its own, wild yeast) was actually even tastier I thought, a little less dry, but it might not be finished converting the sugars yet- we couldn't put the hydrometer in the wine bottle for fear of never getting it back out.

After a thorough cleaning we moved the next batch into the 'ale pail' to get it going.  Kyle is thinking of adding some sugar to this batch, so we'll see what we'll end up with after that.

I didn't manage to make any bread, instead I just let it rise before sticking the dough in the fridge for later.  I did, however, manage to make a soup for dinner while Kyle was dealing with our brewing projects.  Pork meatballs with onions, potatos, celery, and carrots in some rich, chicken stock.  I thought it sounded like good 'feel better' soup.  I guess thats what we super-homesteader-women do, right?  We just keep plugging along even when we'd rather be curled up in bed with a cup of tea, a box of tissues, and a bag of herbal throat lozenges.

On another note: its snowing again.  I guess we're not out of the woods yet.