As is typical in Bulgaria, the change in seasons has been marked with a huge temperature swing. After months of a pretty constant 25–30°C here in the mountains, we’ve dropped to 15°C in the blink of an eye. I realise that’s hardly arctic, and in deepest winter I’ll hanker after anything above zero, let alone double figures, but it’s the sudden change that always gets me. I’m wearing my biggest cardigan and muttering ‘Winter is coming’ 10 times a day. I’ve packed my flip flops away and shaken the dead spiders out of my slippers. Even Rob has succumbed to long trousers after days of toughing it out in shorts (while being laughed at by the neighbour).
The good news is, the temperature will probably stay pretty constant now until December. But, much as I love autumn, until I adjust, I’ll mainly be wallowing in cardigans and carbs.
|We made some roasted peppers in oil for the winter but I want to eat them
now. It’s practically winter, right?
Cider production is well and truly underway. Instead of strimming apples, like we did last year, Rob fashioned some sort of medieval weapon to turn our apples into pulp. Then the pulp was pressed to extract the juice, and ‘some sugar’ (his detailed description, not mine) was added to the juice. Now, we wait…
|Apple torture device.
|Apple chamber of horrors in action. (Complete with totally-sanitary-I’m-sure
bin bag liner to capture the apple spray. Like I said: sanitary.)
In his usual precise manner, Rob says our first small batch of cider, made in August from some early apples, ‘doesn’t look right’. But, ever the optimist, he’s hoping to turn it into cider vinegar. (It’s an ancient hipster saying, I believe, ‘When life gives you bad cider, strap on the beard hair net and make cider vinegar.’*)
We did something similar with a failed batch of red wine a few years ago, back in our early winemaking days, and we ended up with several litres of amazing red wine vinegar that’s saved us a small fortune in the years since. In fact, we’ve only just finished up the last of that vinegar, so a few (dozen) bottles of cider vinegar will do nicely.
(Limited quantities of) booze
Speaking of failed booze, our white grapes on the front of the house have some sort of fungal infection. Possibly inspired by the thrush/yogurt combo (I really hope you’re eating your lunch while reading this), Rob has been spraying the infected vines with milk. It seems to be helping, even if it is making a holy mess of our kitchen windows. Anyway, it looks like we’ll be making red wine only this year.
*I actually Googled beard hair net to make sure it’s a real thing. It is! It’s a real thing. Behold.
|I really think it’s pointless if you don’t wear one on YOUR ACTUAL HAIR as well. No?
|Now, that’s more like it.
|But this one gets extra points for its sexy fishnets vibe.|