Tuesday, October 19, 2010

blessing of bacchus

When I started this site, of coarse I looked around for ideas. I was impressed by how many truly good writers have found a niche out there in the blogosphere... I was also surprised by how many orphans there are. These poor blogs, so lovingly conceived and tended, slowly slip into neglect until they are abandoned outright. Well, it's understandable, people move on to other interests, maybe other blogs. I, however, have no such excuse for the disregard of Urban Turtle.

As the leaves fall, other than the daily maintenance of keeping everyone fed, watered and adored it's been pretty quite. Tim mentioned, and I agree, that my last few posts have slipped into the personal and lost farm focus. I might make a place for all things *me* later on, but here it's to be straight farm news. All the ins, outs, triumphs and despairs of good old country livin' in the city. And to keep us coming back for more, this post is all about liquor and sex! Well, wine making and goat breeding, still..

WINE! In the interest of self sufficiency, we ordered a bunch of wine grapes from California. Okay, that might not sound quite right, but in addition to some beautiful fruit we get the mind of Fabian Radulescu. He has been making fine wine for a decade, even going so far as to rent a space for it in Oregon when he left. It just wasn't a good time of year to move his wine. He opened one of his first bottles for us the other day, I swear something was playing a pan flute as we drank.

The shipment came in on Friday afternoon. Everyone else was working, so Tim helped unload the eight tons of merlot, cabernet, and zin among others, prestigious and obscure. The next day we got up at sixish, sorted bewildered beasts and headed to Chapel Hill to crush grapes. Twenty minutes and a world away. Off of a golf coarse road, up a long drive stood an impressive, though a bit mc, mansion. The green lawn was long, the ponds were (dyed) blue and Will (organizer of the shipment and father bacchas of the annual event) was welcoming. Eventually a few dozen upper middle class, middle aged men would gather to pour their bounty into the crusher/destemmer. In a possible socialist act, we were moved up the line because of Tim's hard work the day before.

Four-plus hours later we left with our primary fermenter (big white trash can w/lid) full of juice. We also loaded a couple large garbage bags full of stems (rescued from the dump) thinking the ducks would like the stray fruit, who knew that grape stems are goat crack? As we turned out of Will's place, I couldn't help looking back and thinking his miraclegrow yard looked lonely. Perhaps a vegetable garden, some fruit trees and ducks for the pond would liven things up. It's bound to happen someday.

We have pitched the yeast, knocked it down (stirred), and watching the acidity. In a few days it will be ready to press then age in carboys through the winter before bottling. To something to look forward to in eight years, cheers! The book Vines to Wines by Jeff Cox has been a wonderful reference and a good read.

On to the sex... We are having trouble finding a stud for Gypsy and Juno. We had hoped to have them bred by the end of the month so they would kid in early spring. Baby goats, AAAHHH! But being on the small side for Nigerian Dwarfs, though a desirable feature, is proving difficult when looking for a billy to compliment them. So the search continues, I'll keep you updated on all the particulars. Softcore, I know.

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