Friday, 28 October 2011

The moving of the hens

Of course... how could I forget ...the moving of the hens...

Yes the trailer was too no sorry I should say the hen house was too big. The hen house was too big despite the fact that I built it myself and measured it knowing that one day it would have to go in that small trailer..... I wasnt too pleased...why did I just measure straight across the trailer ignoring the fact that there are solid  metal strips running around the edge...????

Anyway the hens survived, the best moment was when the automatic opener started to open with them in the trailer!!! (the dark plastic bag wasnt covering the light sensor enough!!!)....

The hens are happy now and have lots more space and we have now extended their origional area into the area where the fruit trees are, so they are munching lots of slugs and pest and keeping things down around the fruit trees which is a bonus.  * Garlic and cider vineger once each month in their water seems to be keeping them well.

* did I mention the red mites??? Prob best to forget all that , they are fine now :)

First home brew here

Our first brewing up here: Damson wine x 10 litres / White wine x 30 bottles and ale x 30 bottles.
 I'm drinking the Ale as I write and its pretty good, especially considering it would be better to have left it for a few more weeks to improve. Heres the recipe for this easy to make ale:

Ale For All

900g Malt extract / 50g Golding hops / 350g Sugar / 8 litres water / Beer yeast / 50g Castor sugar (for priming)

Place all but a handfull of the hops in a large pan, add 1.2 litres of water and squeeze the hops in your hand until they are thoroughly wet. Place a cover on the pan and boil vigorously for 15 mins.

Meanwhile pour 575ml of warm water into a brewing bin and stir into it the malt extract and sugar. A trace of malt may be left in the jar and disolved in a cup of tepid water. The yeast should then be added t this thin malt solution to become activated. Cover and leave it until required.

strain the hop water into the brewing bin,. add another 1.2 litres of water to the hops and boil them for a further 15 minutes. Again, strain the liquid into the bin, add another 1.2 litres of water to the hops and boil again for a final 15 minues. Strain the liquid into the brewing bin and discard the hops.

Top up the bin with cold water to the 9 litre mark and when the temperature of the wort has fallen to 21 c pitch the activated yeast. Cover the bin for 24 hours then skim off the dirty froth. Stir the wort well, cover and leave for another 24 hours. Skim off the newfroth and add the handfull of hops saved from the outset. Wet them thoroughly in the wort, replace the cover and leave for three days, pressing the hops below the surface twice each day.

Siphen the clearing beer into a jar, fit an airlock and leave in a cool place for three days while the beer clears and throws a fairly heavy sediment.  Rack the now just hazy beer into a clean jar , stir in the castor sugar  and as soon as it is dissolved siphon the beer into sterilised bottles. Fill each one leaving a gap off 2" from the top and tightly crimp on new sterilised crown caps. Leave the bottles in a warm place for one week and then move them to a cooler place for a further two weeks. The beer is ready to drink. Serve cool and take care not to disturb sediment when pouring.

* I kept the hops and threw them onto one of our raised beds, its meant to be good as an improver
* Theres more recipes on my website: (Self sufficiency page)

Well thats that then, I'm off to enjoy some more off this ale :)

P.s. only had a pic of wine, need to add one of the boiling hops really

Too busy to blog

Too busy doing the things the blog is about to actually blog. Have been at new place for three months and it's been hectic every day. Getting ready for Winter, spring and next Winter all in one go really!

Lots of firewood to get sorted, getting used to been off grid and trying to import enough muck and leaves and pretty much anything to make sure we have some soil to grow in next year.

Had a good crop off Damson tree, a fair few apples and other bits of fruit. The key this year to growing good Tomatoes and sweet corn seems to have been "neglect them lots". Hardly watered crops in Polytunnel or did anything to pamper them and had 15k+ of red toms plus about 15k of green! Sweet corn was good, a dozen or so very large cobs.