yesterday i had a class on starting seeds indoors. even though i’ve taught this class several times, and know the material cold i still was pretty unprepared. i gave myself three hours to get prepped for setup and that sort of thing, and still i was feeling that i was running around trying to get everything done. it was by far the biggest group i’ve taught to, usually classes i teach are under 30, and this class was at least 55 folks. since i knew it was going to be big we did the class in the greenhouse. i turned the heaters on first thing when i got to work, and it was plenty warm by noon. by the time class was ready to go it was sunny and getting down right hot in there. I ended up stripping down to my t-shirt, and since my shoes and socks were completely soaked from slogging around in wet snow, i took them off and enjoyed being barefoot and getting my feet dirty. i think the class went pretty well, folks had positive things to say, and plenty of great questions. when i got home ma had been to the market and had made some pie dough up with lard. one of my volunteers at work had given us some lard for christmas, not just any old lard, but some that she had rendered herself, from the leaf lard, widely considered to be the highest quality lard. the first hot house rhubarb of the season was at the market, and combined with some lovely russet apples, it made for perhaps the best pie i’ve had. the little old farmer at the market that sell the rhubarb sells it so cheap, i just can’t see how he makes any money. his farm is up near where we keep some beehives, and i’ve wondered if he would let me see his operation. maybe next week at market i’ll ask. ma went and checked up on those bees earlier in the week, and at least at this point they all look like they are doing well.
this morning i pricked out basil plants, from egg cartons i’d used as starter pots, and put them into 4 packs. i have something like 40 basil plants, which is much more than i need, some i think i’ll put in the high tunnel when it warms up, maybe the rest we can take to market. ma has been talking about starting a small business of selling heirloom tomatoes plants at the market this spring, and basil might compliment the maters. some of the early tomatoes are starting to come up.
this afternoon we went to the home brew store. ma wanted to make some peach mead, from some peaches we had picked this last year, and honey from our hives. the problem was that the big bucket we use for fermenting was still full of some tart cherry mead i had started some weeks back. i think part of the reason she said she wanted to make mead was to try to get me to rack the cherry mead so it wouldn’t go bad. sometimes we need a little help to do the things we know we need to do. so this morning i went about the task of getting the material together to rack the mead into a secondary fermenter, and realized that i didn’t have all the supplies i needed. so a trip to the home brew store was in order. we were getting low on yeast anyway. i also had this idea for a hop infused mead, that would be around seven percent alcohol and sparkling. essentially what i was thinking of doing was substituting the malt extract in a beer recipe for honey. so i got some nice organic hops, and some ale yeast, and we’ll see how it goes. since i don’t really think i’ll ever bother with growing my own barley, making a honey based beer substitute seems like my best bet for full self sufficiency in beer department.