||[Jul. 19th, 2008|01:47 pm]
I'm making booze. |
LOL, I know that makes me sound like a wino! But it's not for my own personal consumption.
The economic situation here in the UK is getting kinda dire. Petrol prices / Gas prices are £1.25 per litre... which converts to £6.25 per gallon.... which is $12.48 per gallon. Basically, we're fucked.
Food prices have soared. A bag of easy cook rice three weeks ago cost 80p less than it did this week. For this reason, I am no longer buying easy cook rice!! I went to the wholesalers and bought a sack of rice. lb for lb it's far cheaper to buy in bulk.
Anyhoo, I got my faithful "Country Crafts" book out, which I've had since I moved into my first ever flat when I was 16. It tells you how to make your own preserves, conserves, flower arrangements, fruit jars etc. I was intrigued by the wine and mead making section, as it's something I've never really done before. My Dad has always made homebrew, or wine, or some alcoholic concotion made from whatever fruit was going cheap at the wholesale markets in town. But I didn't realise just how easy it was.
Well, I called my Dad up to see what equipment he had that I could borrow, and he gave me a crate full of stuff on the premise that I could keep whatever I could clean up (it was extremely dusty, and the demijohns had sludgey residue from years ago caked around the edge).
I took it into the yard, got the power hose and sprayed the holy hell out of it.
Then I got some sterilising powder, bottle brush, overalls, and scrubbed until everything looked brand new.
Last week I boiled up 3lbs of honey, a demijohn full of water, and let it cool. Then I started off my yeast, put it all in the demijohn together with some yeast nutrient. Put the airlock on the top and hoped for the best.
My mead is bubbling away nicely in the kitchen. I'm proud, and feel accomplished!!
This weekend, I'm gonna try making elderflower wine, and blackcherry wine. As I said, it's not for my own consumption. I'm getting my family and friends to save up their bottles, and I'm gonna prettify them with some stencilled labels and some nice fabrics.
Everything will be finished around Christmas, so instead of expensive and shitty presents, my family are gonna get a hamper containing a bottle of wine, a christmas cake (which I'm gonna start making on 1st September), some homemade mincepies, and a little personal gift.
Christmas has got too big and far too commercial. Most people I know will be really happy with a homemade personal gift.
I'm even starting to do a few amigurumi toys for the children of my friends.
I can't do what I did last year, and end up spending £2,000 on christmas gifts. It's too much and it's too difficult to do that now that I'm not earning a full time wage.
Next year I'm determined that we're gonna be a bit more self sufficient.
I've been half-heartedly growing some veggies in a plot in the back yard, and low and behold, my efforts have come to fruition. We have cabbages, lettuce, broad beans, and peas ready. I am inundated with courgettes/zucchini. I have some tomatoes. Some strawberries, and a fair few potatoes that should be ready soon.
So maybe it's gonna be worth making more effort.
I'm thinking of getting a rotavator (dunno how to spell it), and digging up half the lawn. We have quite a big yard, and there would still be plenty of grass for the kids to play on.
But we could get quite a few rows of veggies in the garden if we had the whole of the bottom of the garden to play with.
I chatted to Steve about the possibility of getting some laying hens. I watched a TV show about battery hens and the vile conditions that the industry keeps chickens in. I have been ultra careful about buying eggs and chicken ever since.
I always used to buy barn eggs, but I've learned that "barn" is a synonym for "large shed packed to the hilt with so many hens that they can't move". It's disgusting. So I only buy free-range organic from the local farm now.
As for chicken, I don't eat it myself, but my family do. The 2 for £5 deals were so easy, but now I know why they are that cheap. They are overfed to the point where their legs can't carry their weight. They are kept in barns where they never see natural light but have bright artificial lights 24/7 because they grow faster.
I now only buy free-range chicken. It means my kids don't get as much chicken as they used to, but what they do get is from good sourcces.
This is all the governments fault. They have told us all for years that chicken is the best meat, it's lower fat, it's healthy. Is it fuck.
So I want some laying hens. I want to rescue them from one of the battery hen rescue centres. I found out that the battery hens are only kept by the fucking disgusting battery farms for 12 months. Then they are considered "spent" because they don't lay on a daily basis. They still lay... they might lay once, twice or even three times a week... but to the industry that is seen as being uneconomical, so they are usually slaughtered.
The rescue hens are sweet, scared things which usually don't have many feathers due to living in a tiny cage. They sometimes have to learn to walk tall. They always have to learn how to socialise, and how the "pecking order" works.
I just feel that we could benefit from helping some of these poor girls out. Firstly, we have the space for half a dozen, maybe even a dozen. Secondly, I have the time.
Thirdly, the kids would love having some more pets. Fourthly, even if we only got one egg a week, that would be one less egg that we would have to buy.
I need to speak to Steve in depth about this though. Because ultimately having laying hens would rely fully on him building a coop, fencing a good area of the garden off, and generally putting his carpentry skills to the test.