Monday, November 15, 2010

More Autumnal Chores

The cupboards and pantry are filling up with jars containing this year's harvest. One of the pints of yesterday's tomatillo salsa didn't seal, so it went into the refrigerator, joining the jar that wasn't quite full. There was room in a top corner cupboard for the rest.

That top cupboard shelf also holds my apple cider vinegar jar. It had been almost 2 months since I'd fed it, and as long as I had the step-stool right there, I figured I might as well take care of that too. The five gallons of this year's cider are still burbling away, in the fermentation bucket on the counter. It could be a couple more weeks before it's finished. So I went down to the cellar (skimmed the scum off the pickle crock while I was down there) to fetch a bottle of last year's hard cider.

There was a thin fresh layer of mother on top of the vinegar in the jar, plus quite a few layers of dead mother piling up in the bottom. So with well-washed hands, I pulled out the fresh mother plus one more thin one, putting them into a clean bowl, then reached in and pulled out the rest of the dead layers to throw out. I diluted the bottle of hard cider with half again as much water, poured that into the jar, and dropped in the thin pieces of fresh mother. Topped with its cheesecloth lid, the jar went back into the dark cupboard to continue its magical process of turning alcohol into tasty vinegar.

Aries went with me for the drive this morning, up to Tahoe to get the mole-removal stitches out of my arm. Doc said everything looks good and the lab reports say benign, so I'm good.

This afternoon, Aries was once again busy over at the compost bin. He'd cleaned out the chicken coop earlier this fall, and most afternoons has been out there raking leaves as they fall. He still had one last wheelbarrow load of finished compost for me, so this afternoon I dug that into part of next year's "early" bed, and raked it out smooth and level. I set out garlic and shallot cloves, from this summer's harvest, and winnowed, then sowed, spinach and arugula seeds from the dry plants I had hanging in the shed. Everything tamped down and laid over with wire to deter hungry birds, they now wait for winter's snows to water them in.

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