More Wine I Whine

Well, well, it's been a busy week here on the homestead. Let's start with the grand unveiling of the home brew. For those of you who may not have followed right from the start, there was whack of grapes harvested on the homestead back in the fall. See post here. After three days of processing there was several 1 litre packages of grape nectar in the freezer waiting to be turned into something. Along comes a friend who has a family recipe that utilizes an old vinegar bottle and some of said grape nectar to create a rustic home made wine. I call it wine shine :) And that post is here. So the four week waiting period has passed and it was time to pull out the bottle and see what we got. I filtered it through some cheesecloth into another old vinegar bottle and gave it a taste.

Aaaaand the verdict...not bad! A little sweeter than I like but gotta bit of kick to it. It's a little cloudy still, so not ready for the vintner's awards yet...hahaha. But I think it will do just nicely just the same. Letting it sit for another four weeks to let the sediment settle again, and hopefully ferment it a little longer for a little less sweetness in the end. At that point I'll filter it again and see what we have. But looking good so far! Not bad for a little kitchen brewing!

I have to say, it's hard not to start drinking it right away though. The winter weather just keeps on coming. We had a major storm this week with wicked winds, freezing rain, ice pellets, snow, the whole nine yards. And as usual, there is never a dull moment around here. I braved the wild wind on Tuesday trying to get the driveway cleared for Todd to get in as they had sent everyone home early. You know it's bad when not only the RCMP are telling everyone to stay off the roads, the plows are pulled off the road as well. Thankfully he took the old 4 wheel drive Jeep to work so he made it home in one piece. I was so relieved. We had dinner and then prepared to sit down with tea and a movie to wait out the storm.

Taz, who finished her medication two weeks ago had other ideas as to how we would spend the evening. In and out of the litter box, howling and sitting hunched over with one hind leg straight in the air and a most miserable look on her face. We knew something was up and there it was. A repeat performance of the urinary tract infection...pacing around the house and leaving little drops of blood everywhere. Of course, this would come up now, after the vet office is closed for the day, and the news is forecasting the roads to be virtually impassible by morning. What to do? Called the after hours emergency line to the Vet office and hoped for some advice on what to do for her to make her comfortable till the weather permitted a trip to the office. Thankfully, the vet care here on the island is excellent (the human care not always quite so much). The vet was still at the office finishing up surgery and decided she needed to be back on the antibiotics. He left me a nice little packet of meds hidden away in a styrofoam container behind the clinic.

So off we went in the car, the roads so slick you could skate without blades. Thank goodness for studded tires! As we drove the highway trying to stay on the road it was like running an obstacle course weaving from one lane to another and riding in the middle to avoid the tunnel of birch branches that hung over the road. The weight of hours of freezing rain had tree branches hanging down like giant white arches from either side. Along the way we spotted the electrical lines sparking and flaming where branches were reaching down and touching the lines. We got there, found the stash and high tailed it back home as the dark descended making the sparking lines even more visible. We made it home with a sigh of relief not only for our safe arrival but for the fact that we still had power. So the tea and movie were still to be had.

Taz responded well to the meds and is back to feeling herself again. Fingers are crossed that this will do the trick by the time her additional two weeks of antibiotics are finished. If not, we'll have to line up an x-ray to see what's going on in her bladder.

But the fun didn't end here. There was more snow to follow and with all the crusty ice under layers of snow the snowblower had a tough go of it. By the time Todd got the driveway cleared the smoke went up and the smell of burning rubber started just before she went on strike. So as we wait for some replacement belts to come in to fix it up, I'm praying that it won't snow too much until it's fixed. I do NOT want to have to shovel all that by hand!

So coming full circle back to wine, I'm having to use a lot of restraint not to sit down with that vinegar bottle and start chugging. I've had just about enough. And so has everyone else on the island. Apparently this is the worst winter they have had in 42 years, and two days ago we had already reached a snowfall that was only 2" shy of the record. At this point Charlottetown Airport has reported a winter snow fall of 418.4 cm for this winter so far. Normal snowfall is 290.6 cm. This time last year I had just arrived on the island, trailer in tow. There was a little residual snow to be seen here and there but it was mild and sunny. Very spring like. What a difference a year makes. I don't even want to speculate how the journey would have gone had we had this weather pattern last year. Between the record mosquito population in the summer and a record winter, the island seems to be testing our resolve by throwing it's worst at us our first year here. I guess if we can make it past all this, it will seem like a cakewalk from here on in.
On the left: arriving on the island Mar 31st 2013. On the right: Apr. 1st 2014
But I'm seeing the geese a lot and hearing their calls so maybe that's a good sign. Even the skunk was out and about yesterday. Just as Todd was coming up the driveway I saw Pepe LePew making a beeline from the apple tree to my back door. I opened the door and said "Hey! Don't even think about it mister!" He stopped short and looked up at me completely shocked. I don't think he's used to confrontation and probably more accustomed to having everyone run away when he comes. We stared at each other. I maintained my confidence even though in the back of my mind I was trying to remember if I had any tomato juice in the house. So I got my growly voice out again and said, "Move along mister! Nothing for you here!" Imagine my surprise when he turned and ran, hopping along in the snow heading back into the woods just as Todd was coming around the corner ever so carefully. I showed him who's boss around here.


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