Category Archives: Photo Gallery

Making homemade wine using homemade wine press

Making homemade wine using homemade wine press – that is the name of this story.

A few years ago (7 years to be precise), I planted a number of red Muscat cuttings that were taken from my parents’ residence. Fast forward to 2016, these plants have endured the 2011 floods, the 2014 major hail storm, Indian Myna bird attacks and a number of dry seasons. I built a trellis so the vines could grow and provide much needed shade. I also added a number of other varietals including Muscat Gordo Blanco, Ribier, Shiraz, Flame grape, and Globe Grape. The only crop that has really been fruitful is the original Muscat. Maybe the other plants are too young to bear fruit, but I will give them a good trim this winter to encourage further growth.

I picked 100 litres of Muscat grapes this season, and put them in two 60ltr vats and let them ferment for 10 days. The ultimate objective is to make homemade wine so I had to make sure that temperature and fermentation speed was closely watched.

I also bought a French Oak Barrel made from French “full grown oak” timber – the oak gives colour, flavour, tannin profiles and texture to the wine as it ages. I know it’s the real deal because it has this stamp:

chene haute futaie

I also built a wine press from scratch, and saved myself over AU$700 in the process. The base was made of concrete which I poured into a 44 gallon drum. I used an old Acrow Prop to make the threaded shaft, and a Stainless Steel hollow bar as the spout for where the wine comes out of when pressed. It needs some legs and a ratchet mechanism which I will be preparing before next year’s harvest…

The timber staves are made out of Merbau screening timber, and I used 40mm x 3mm galvanised flat bar for the frame structure. The gap between the staves is very important – if the gaps are too tight you will have difficulty pressing out the must, and if they are too far apart, the pomace will ooze out the sides of your homemade winepress. M6 cup-head bolts were used to hold everything together. The homemade wine press worked like a charm and we were able to squeeze out approximately 75 litres of burgundy gold (this left us with roughly 40 litres of pomace).

The process of making homemade wine is quite simple, and you don’t need a lot of fancy machinery if you’re doing this at home. The grapes already have the sugar and yeast that you need for fermentation to take place. It does make the job easier if you have some “machinery” and measuring instruments, but it’s not primordial. I have to say that this was a lot of fun, and I’ll be doing it again next year – I also feel a great sense of pride in continuing an old family tradition. I’ll provide an update once I have tasted the wine in a few months – hopefully it doesn’t turn to vinegar!

Santé!!

Plantswap revisited and revamped

Plantswap revisited and revamped – Like the title says, and after spending over 12 months of my own personal time and finance, I have finally revamped the Plantswap website. It is now bigger and better than ever before! Well, not really bigger, or at least not until people start using it and posting photos of plants they are looking to buy, looking for free, want to get rid of, or want to sell.

I have added some new functionality and a lick of paint.

  • Members can now add photos of their plants and a map marker of the location of the plant on the map of Australia.
  • To maintain privacy, users can now post their plants by suburb only (rather than having the full address or personal details showing), and communication is all done through an internal messaging app – so their email address is safe.
  • New social interaction functionality has been introduced including member profile (you can upload photos of your garden), following of members, internal messaging, ratings of plant Ads, Member reviews and Badge system.
  • The map of Australia shows member’s plants and the location of the plant.
  • You can search for plants by category, location, or plant name.
Plantswap - For plantlovers and greenthumbers.

Plantswap – For plantlovers and greenthumbers. Australia’s first, free online website dedicated to plantswapping.

 

Plantswap member profile to show off your goodies, and talk a little bit about yourself.

Plantswap member profile to show off your goodies, and talk a little bit about yourself.

Plantswapping is easy!

Adding a new plant advertisement on Plantswap is straight forward and easy.

Grill on wheels

Grill on wheels

Grill on wheels

Grill on wheels – if you Google these words, you’ll probably end up seeing some hotted up cars with big fat “grills” and massive shiny rims. If that’s what you were looking for, then I congratulate you.

On the other hand, if you were looking for something to roast meat on, that has a certain level of mobility then you probably ended up here.

The grill on wheels was an idea that came to me after I made a grill for the WFO that I used for roasting a pig in the WFO. When I pushed the grill into the oven, it scratched the surface of the bricks and made my teeth grind at the same time. So I came up with this simple idea to easily insert and extract the grill from the wood fired oven.

The wheels are made from solid steel flat bar that I cut into squares, then transformed into circles. They are attached to the grill by bolts that were welded to the grill’s ‘feet’. If you have mild steel square bar (10mm x 10mm), some flat 10mm x 75mm bar and 4 M10 nuts and bolts (and know how to weld), then the grill on wheels concept is quite easy to put together. Here are some photos showing the build process  and then the grill on wheels put into action. I certainly hope you enjoy these, as much as I enjoyed eating the Peruvian charcoal chicken that came out of the oven!

Propagating Gracilis Bamboo by Division – 102

Propagating Gracilis Bamboo by Division – 102

Propagating Gracilis bamboo by division is much, much easier than from cuttings. I’ve had mixed results with bamboo propagation via cuttings, but one thing is for sure, the technique outlined below is fool-proof.

Here are a few guidelines that have worked for me that I’d like to share with you.

1) Larger bamboo culms do not work as well as smaller ones. I use Gracilis culms that have the diameter of a pencil.
2) Make sure the culm has a few nodes (3 or more is good).
3) When you dig up the culms, make sure the rhyzome and roots are still attached.
4) In the photos below, I have two culms and a new shoot growing off the rhyzome.
5) Keep the rhyzome wet and work quickly. Don’t leave it out in the sun to dry out.
6) Cut the culm where it is attached to the parent rhyzome, but make sure it has roots attached!
7)  Water new plant in and keep the soil damp (but not water logged)

Progpagating Gracilis bamboo by division is quite straight forward and easy, Just be careful and gentle with the fragile young culms.

I’ll update this post with more photos as the new culms grow. These were taken on the weekend of the 25th of January 2015.