Hester Winterbourne

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since Feb 12, 2014
Joined site because whilst browsing for permaculture ideas for my new allotment (it's too wet to garden) I couldn't resist the plant ID challenge...
West Midlands UK (zone 8b) Rainfall 26"
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Recent posts by Hester Winterbourne

Sas Gardener wrote:

PS:  I love Morris dancing although we don’t have it in Scotland....and I do dig that look!πŸ˜‰πŸ˜‚



Ha ha that made me laugh, thankyou!  There are a couple of Morris sides in Scotland.  Banchory-Ternan Morris Men dance Cotswold, and Border Reivers Morris are a Border side in Glasgow.  There may be more!  Of course it's not traditional to the country, but there are non-traditional dance display teams in England (some amazing belly dancers), so why not.  Maybe the anti-English sentiments are too strong?

Catherine Carney wrote:having one consistent person to come home to.....Beyond continuing to cultivate and nurture my circle of friends, anyone have any ideas for how to address the loneliness factor? Besides becoming a crazy cat lady?



This is it in a nutshell, isn't it.  Having one person who you would never feel guilty about demanding time from, because you are each other's priority.  I wish I had the answer.  I think the only way is to continue to cultivate the circle of friends.  It is possible to have a platonic best friend, and having more/better friends (and being a good one) has to be always a good thing, surely.

Daniel Arsenault wrote:I have some apple trees on my property and was walking around recently and found I have about ten nice saplings (scattered around) which look a lot like the little saplings right under one of my known apple trees. I'm wondering what is the best way to determine whether or not a sapling is a young apple tree? I don't much care "what kind" of apple it is. I just want to know if it is an apple sapling or not. Are there tell-tale signs? Are there good field guides for saplings? I wouldn't mind being able to ID saplings in general, but, for the moment I am most curious to find out if these saplings are apple trees in the making.



Or you could post pictures on here.
3 weeks ago

T Blankinship wrote:

Hester Winterbourne wrote:
The recipe called for 2.3kg of rhubarb, 1.4kg of sugar, and a couple of inches of ginger root.  We had to work out how much sugar there is in honey.  It was steeped for three days.  We added water until the specific gravity was 85.

So you make a good point about not disturbing the lees, I think we will prepare two demijohns when the time comes and siphon everything off rather than just filling one and then adding apple juice into the remaining liquid in the bucket.   It smells wonderful at the moment - no one flavour dominating.  The recipe also called for adding a mug of strong black tea at some point but having consulted with someone who makes very good mead, he said not to bother.



1.085 starting gravity? I have a program called Beer Smith and it has a lot of tools. One of the tools is attenuation and percent alcohol. If your mead has a final gravity of 1.000 it would be about 11% alcohol by volume. My father and I have made mead in the past. If we wanted to add tannins like those found in tea we added oak.  Chips or cubes is how I have used them.



Yes, my hydrometer tells me the potential alcohol as well as the starting gravity, and that was about what it said.  So the latest update is that the brew has finally started working strongly in the bucket.  Nail biting times since Monday wondering if it was ever going to take off or if it would be spoiled.  We added a second starter of yeast, we were so worried, by starting it in a some warm apple juice first.  But we now have a frothy bubbling scum on top.  Interstingly, I found the instruction sheet to the hydrometer which was talking about sweet wines and said something about adding sugar gradually or it would be too strong for the new yeast colony.  You couldn't do that with the recipe I was working on, and it would take some maths to work out who much sugar you needed to add overall instead of getting it just right to start with and then letting it get on with it.

Still smells lovely!
4 weeks ago

Jamie Chevalier wrote:

Hester Winterbourne wrote:Here is an odd thing - at the weekend I found a nettle with hardly any stings.  Yes it is definitely a nettle of the Urtica genus, by its smell and the fact that it does sting very slightly as I found out when I sniffed it.  Now, I am aware of the Fen Nettle which is noted for not stinging, but that has much narrower leaves than the usual species.  And this stingless nettle that I have found has broader leaves.  Also, the patch next to it which is a similar height is starting to flower, whereas this one is nowhere near.

Here it is.  I have taken some up to my allotment and am curious to see if the flavour is as good as the stinging ones.



There is an annual nettle that is somewhat less stingy, Urtica urens as opposed to Urtica dioica. Looking at the photo again, I think that is what you have. https://www.opencircleseeds.com/listing/733784205/organic-annual-nettle    The leaves are shorter, and more rounded at the base than perennial nettle, with very prominent serrations.

You could see if yours lives a second year. What a great adaptation to propagate if it is a perennial!



My understanding by reputation of Urtica urens is that it is more stingy, not less.  Also it is quite small and this is a large thing, but of course that wasn't clear in the photo.  It has a strong running rhizome and too big/ the wrong situation to have grown from seed this year.  The council have now strimmed the original patch so I'm glad I transplanted some!
4 weeks ago

T Blankinship wrote:

Hester Winterbourne wrote:
My problem is, there is going to be more than a gallon, but not as much as two.  I hate waste.  So when I have siphoned off a demijohn-full, what to do with the remaining portion?
 It will be neither wine nor mead nor cider, but would this be a feasible method to create something nice?



The lees (dead yeast) can be compacted or fluffy this can change what remains. Adding clarifying aids can help but time also helps too. Siphoning can be more of an art that an science, one key is to stop before the lees get up the siphon. I think that rhubarb, ginger and honey would go well together. Could you post the recipe you used? Also what was the starting gravity?



The recipe called for 2.3kg of rhubarb, 1.4kg of sugar, and a couple of inches of ginger root.  We had to work out how much sugar there is in honey.  It was steeped for three days.  We added water until the specific gravity was 85.

So you make a good point about not disturbing the lees, I think we will prepare two demijohns when the time comes and siphon everything off rather than just filling one and then adding apple juice into the remaining liquid in the bucket.   It smells wonderful at the moment - no one flavour dominating.  The recipe also called for adding a mug of strong black tea at some point but having consulted with someone who makes very good mead, he said not to bother.

 
1 month ago
I have started some brew.  I steeped rhubarb and root ginger in honey and a bit of white sugar for three days until a load of juice had been pulled out of the rhubarb.  I've strained it and added water to bring it down to the "start wine" level on the hydrometer, and added some yeast.  It's back in the bucket with the lid just cracked until it starts working.

My problem is, there is going to be more than a gallon, but not as much as two.  I hate waste.  So when I have siphoned off a demijohn-full, what to do with the remaining portion?

I have a vague idea of adding apple juice, getting it working again, and then setting up another demijohn with that.  It will be neither wine nor mead nor cider, but would this be a feasible method to create something nice?
1 month ago
Deer are very good at jumping.  Sadly I don't think they would be deterred by a row of rhubarb if they sensed there was something nice the other side of it.
Here is an odd thing - at the weekend I found a nettle with hardly any stings.  Yes it is definitely a nettle of the Urtica genus, by its smell and the fact that it does sting very slightly as I found out when I sniffed it.  Now, I am aware of the Fen Nettle which is noted for not stinging, but that has much narrower leaves than the usual species.  And this stingless nettle that I have found has broader leaves.  Also, the patch next to it which is a similar height is starting to flower, whereas this one is nowhere near.

Here it is.  I have taken some up to my allotment and am curious to see if the flavour is as good as the stinging ones.
1 month ago
If you have a local restaurant where you like to eat, you could mention how good the beef from this shop is.  That could get them another customer but also exponentially additional ones from the restaurant's customers.  
1 month ago