Snow storms have been coming through off and on for the last few days. Aries works, so I'm the one out shoveling paths to the chickens, woodpile, cellar, and mailbox. It's supposed to clear up, finally, tonight, but that means it's gonna get COLD! Eleven at night and it's 18F - it could go below zero before morning.
But inside, we're nice and cozy. Between the wood stove and the oven, this house is warm enough for a t-shirt right now. By morning, it will probably drop to the high 50's inside, but that just makes for a nice sleeping temperature. The only possible problem when it gets this cold outside is sometimes the bathtub drain freezes. Bothersome, but not unbearable. But also not something I want to happen with weekend company arriving tomorrow. So Aries poured a quarter-cup of windshield wiper fluid into that drain tonight. It's mostly alcohol, and such a little bit, and done so rarely - messing up the septic system or the chance of anything harmful getting into the leach field is something we do have to keep in mind.
Speaking of alcohol (like that segue-way?), Aries bottled the hard cider this evening while I was out doing some last minute Thanksgiving grocery shopping. Playing with the hydrometer says this batch, made with apples only, no added sugar, is about 7% alcohol (most beers are 4-6, wines around 12). Since it's not as strong as the last stuff we made, he bottled it in pint bottles. When we go to drink it, that should be a nice size for the two of us to split a bottle. The cider yeast didn't settle out like the champagne yeast did previously. That earlier batch is now a very dry, clear bubbly (almost like champagne - duh). This batch looks like mud. It tastes pretty good though, even now. Letting the apples set for a few weeks, to soften and sweeten before grinding, worked well.
As before, Aries mixed in a bit of corn sugar before bottling. I asked why it has to be corn sugar, and he said because it's an inert form of sugar - more easily broken down by fermentation, and the one least likely to affect the taste. Ok. I already knew that this priming sugar, as it ferments in the bottle, forms carbon dioxide; makes bubbles in the cider. So now, the bottles are in our bedroom for a week or two, so the sugar can do its thing in a warmer temperature. Then, we'll move them down into the cellar to mellow (and maybe settle out a bit).