This time of the year is frustrating. It is finally warm enough that you want to be outside, but the snow is still deep and rotten. Snowshoeing is impossible, because it sticks to the snowshoes. If you don't use snowhoes then you just trudge through knee deep snow. Poor Ella just tried to swim through it. Do you see her peeking?
I'm still making wine. My husband got me a wine barrel for Christmas and it is fabulous. It really enhances the taste. I put my Concord grape wine in the oak barrel for a month. I then bottled it. I also bottled some sour cherry wine. People keep giving me berries and I finally gave in and upped my game. I went from making 1 gallon batches to five gallon batches. You are only supposed to use one type of wine per oak barrel, but I think the grape that soaked into the barrel will be a nice addition to the chokecherry. I have three five gallon batches of chokecherry, so it will be used quite a bit. My 'fun' hobby is actually quite a bit of work. I reuse wine bottles and it takes a lot of elbow grease to clean off the labels. The five gallons of grape made quite a few bottles. Luckily, a nice niece has been saving bottles for me. She saved the day today. I had no large bottles left except the ones she gave me. My grandmother also was a big help, because long ago she gave me a copper scrubber. I have found the best way to get rid of labels is to let them soak and then scrape the paper off. The glue comes off easily with a slow small stream of cold water and that copper scrubber.
While perusing Pinterest I found a book about wine making, The Homebuilt Winery written by Steve Hughes. He talks about taking an old wine barrel, stripping it down, and re-sanding the inside. My husband got me a 5 gallon barrel, but before that I had little gallon barrel. It worked perfectly for my raspberry wine. After about the fifth batch, it stopped enhancing the flavor and did the opposite. I found my little barrel and the metal bands came off easily. In case things fit together like a puzzle, I took tape and numbered all of the staves. Next weekend I will sand it down and re-burn the inside. It should be ready about the same time as my next batch of raspberry wine.
Another future project is starting my seeds. I dug out around the greenhouse. Hopefully, this week the ice will melt and I can plant some lettuce and spinach. I need to sort thorough my seeds and determine what I need. Every winter a volunteer tomato appears somewhere in my houseplants. This year I have one in my mother-in-laws tongue. Hopefully, it will make it to spring. Not the best photo. It is going to take some work to re-pot the little bugger.
Homework is still slowing me down, but I still seem to finish a few projects here and there. I saw a blue bird on the first day of spring, so hope springs eternal. How is your spring going? Are you off to a good start?