dalthauser: (Dorie Roo)
A few weeks ago I (with some help from Marcel and my niece Jerrica) harvested Loquats from a tree my friend has in her backyard and the tree of her neighbor down the street.  This is a first for me.  While I see these trees all the time in our area, I've never tasted the fruit.  The fruit also are not for sale at the supermarket for some reason.  It seems like, while lots of people have these trees, nobody is very keen on harvesting and eating the fruit.

Loquats have the texture of a firm grape and the taste is a combination of grape/lemon/apple.  They are the size of a jumbo grape with a firm skin (kind of th like the skin on a passionfruit.  They have large seeds inside - usually two...sometimes one or three.  They skin tannins will stain your fingers kind of like the husks of pecans will do if you aren't careful.

I processed the fruit by peeling and seeding it.  What a HUGE PAIN IN THE BUTT.

The first thing I made was a few pints of preserves.  Then I was going to make juice from the rest, but I finally decided I would make a batch of Mead with the juice (I think Mead made with honey and fruit is a Melomel - or something like that).

Here is how I did it (this is my own recipe adapted from a basic Mead recipe)

Batch Size 2.5 gallons

Ingredients

1 gallon and 16 ounces of juice from Loquats
5 pounds (80 ounces) Honey
80 ounces water
1 Campton Tablet
1/2 tsp Yeast Nutrient (I will be adding more nutrients as the fermentation continues)

To juice the Loquats I ran them through a food processer and then strained through a jelly bag.  I thought about just fermenting the pulb puree, but I didn't want to have to keep a super close eye on it while it ferments - the juice won't require constant monitoring.

I added the campton tablet to the juice as I was making it

I heated the honey just enough to make it very fluid then I added the juice.  I let it all cool down to room temp.

While waiting for it to come to room temp I dissolved the yeast in a little water to get it ready to add to the must.

After adding the must to the fermenter I rocked it to add oxygen.

I pitched the yeast and added 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient.

I am going to put it in the Fermentation Chamber at 68F for now.  I will be doing a Koelsch beer in the next few days and when I put that in the chamber I'll lower the temp to 66F.
dalthauser: (Default)
 We harvested the solo Pluot today and ate it.  It was mighty tasty!





dalthauser: (Default)
*  Baby chicken still growing.  Still don't know for sure what the sex is.  He/she is alone a lot, but it doesn't seem to mind much.  Mama chicken is sitting on another egg as we speak.................(stay tuned)



Fig tree is filled with figs, but they seem to be ripening slow.  I put the watering can in front to show actual size.

Closeup of figs forming


Cucumbers are still doing great. 


This is butternut squash that volunteered in the compost bin.  I was going to pull it up, but Marcel asked me to leave it alone.  Glad I did because there are a lot of squash there.


The Pomegranates have some fruit on them - I didn't expect that since they got hit so hard with frost in the late spring.


The lone Pluot is starting to mature.  Looking forward to enjoying it with a friend soon. :-)

dalthauser: (Default)
* One of my Pluot trees all of a sudden looks like it died.  Very weird - one day fine - next day this:

I've been keeping it watered, and the other Pluot is fine.  Very strange.  I'm going to continue to water it and see what happens.  My Fig tree resurrected itself - maybe this one will too.

*  The big looming tree next to my house that I had removed early this year is trying to come back in the form of  several "bushes".  If I don't keep it cut back it will end up taking over.


* Since that tree was cut down there is a lot of sun on that side of the house.  This little weed/bush never bloomed before - this year it's beautiful.  I think I will prune it and see if I can get it to look nicer for next year.




dalthauser: (Default)
My dearest fig tree - the first thing I ever planted on my property - blessed me with with an actual crop this year.  The first year I owned it I almost killed it.  It died to the ground, and I almost dug it up and gave it a decent burial.  I procrastinated though - and the next spring it began to grow again.  I vowed to treat it right from then on.  This year it really took off growing.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I bury random dead animals I come across underneath it (so far two squirrels, a raccoon, and a few birds).

Fig tree started as a little 2 ft high baby tree in a gallon bucket.  Now it's well over 8 feet.




Fig tree is big enough now that I have to use a ladder to get to the top.


Fig tree is producing enough this year for the birds AND me.
dalthauser: (Default)
 I just signed up for a bunch of overtime.  I even signed up for 4 hours on one of my days off.  I'm not keen to be at work any longer than I have to, but I need to start seriously contributing to my emergency fund.  I'm very nervous over the economy and my being a victim of it.

Tomorrow is the Chicken Show at the Comal County Fairgrounds.  I'm bringing my camera....
(oops - that's NEXT Saturday)

I heard Dave Cook had an album out prior to American Idol titled "Analog Heart".  I went to Amazon.com to buy it - but, while it's listed, they aren't offering it.  Hrmph!

My blackberries have no more berries on them.  It was great while it lasted!  This weekend I'm going to prune it all back and get the new canes going good for next year.  I'm also going to transplant the two in the buckets into the main area (there's room on one end - but it's kind of shady)

 
dalthauser: (Peace)
* My Pecan Trees grew leaves on them overnight.  One day bare - the next time I noticed - full of leaves.  Maybe I'm just not observant.  Blackberries do ripen in hours - this I know because today I harvested them about four times.  I ended up with about a half gallon of berries today.  

* I helped out my friend Wanda today.  We picked up a used sleeper sofa and brought it to her house.  $35 - it was a deal.  Luckily it wasn't huge, so we were able to handle it.  Her husband was at adult day care - it was his birthday.  I thought it a little strange, but it's an upbeat place - so I guess she figured he'd enjoy being there. She stopped at the grocery store and got him a cake on the way.  He's 84 years old.

*  My neighbor was good enough to give me one of the many monitors he has on his lanai since mine was so bad it made me dizzy to be in front of it too long.  This will do until the time comes to buy a new computer.  I did splurge on a speaker system (if you want to call $24 a splurge).  I love internet radio - and it comes though great with my connection.  With the speakers and sub woofer - it really sounds nice.  I justified the speakers since I avoided having to pay for a new monitor. :-)

* Jason Castro pretty much blew it tonight on American Idol.  The only way he'll make it through is if Howard Stern decides to tell all his listeners to vote for him.  Too bad - he's got talent.  Just a bad night for him. 

* I made a profile on an online dating site!  I can't believe I actually went through with it.  I'll probably delete it tomorrow.  It's at www.plentyoffish.com which is a free site. I was honest in the profile and didn't jazz anyting up, so I'm sure I will get zero notice.  It's all good though.  It was a big step for me to do that (and with a pic!) Whoa! 


So, yeah.


 
dalthauser: (DORIE)

My Pluot trees are blooming!!
OMG - it's really very awesome and uplifting (or I have a low threshhold for excitement.....) :-)

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dalthauser

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