Oak leaf wine. Part one.

I’m not quite sure where I can upon the idea of Oak Leaf wine, but after the success last year with Dandelion wine, it seemed a fun idea to brew with oak leaves.  There are a few recipes  floating around the ‘net and published in wine making books, I decided to use this “young oak leaf” recipe.

A Saturday morning stroll around the local park provided a plastic carrier-bag full of tasty oak leaves. A carrier bag-full being my guesstimate of how many I’d need – it’s very scientific this wine making lark.

Back at the shed the leaves were washed with cold water and picked over to remove any bugs, twigs and detritus. They were transfered to a large pan and had around five pints of boiling water poured over them; they were then covered and left to steep for around thirty six hours.

After steeping, the leaves looked like this. Mmmmm, yum.

The recipe calls for three pounds of sugar; and the juice and grated zest of two oranges and a lemon. The leaves are moved from the liquid – the must, the sugar, zest and juice are added and the whole lot brought to the boil.

The zest of one orange and one lemon

The smell at this point is essentially that of oranges with a faint cabbage water undertone. I wasn’t brave enough to sample the must.

Boiling the oak leaf wine must
Filtering the solids from the cooling must

After a good vigorous boil, the must was left to cool to about room temperature before filtering though a coarse gauze mesh, removing any large solids – bits of leave, the zest, etc.

Oak leaf must, with an added campden tablet

At this point the recipe suggest adding the yeast and nutrient. I decided against this and added a campden tablet instead to make sure the must was thoroughly sterile. I’ll add the yeast and start the fermentation going in a day or so, once the tablet has had time to work and neutralise.

GPSd and xGPS on OSX 10.6.8

Just documenting how I got GPSd and xGPS running on a Mac running OSX 10.6 (Snow Leopard).

First off, install MacPorts – this is a bunch of *nix tools, utilities and applications packages for OSX. After you do the basic install of MacPorts, do a self-update and upgrade:

sudo port update
[Lots of output will happen, no errors should occur]

sudo port upgrade
[Lots of output will happen, no errors should occur]

If the two commands above work, then you should be able to install gpsd quite easily:

sudo port install gpsd

Then try xgps with the command “xpgs”

If this briefly draws a window on screen then complains that gpsd isn’t running then all is ok, and you can skip the next section. If you get errors suggesting that either gobject or gtk are missing, you need to do the following:

sudo port uninstall gpsd [yes, we uninstall it, because it leads to a missing library problem when we add python27 – this seems to be a MacPorts bug]
sudo port install python27  py27-gobject py27-gtk
sudo port select python python27
sudo port install gpsd

You should then be able to start xgps, but it will most probably complain that gpsd isn’t running. To correct this you need to know what terminal device your gps receiver is attached to, if it is attached via a usb to serial converter, then a reasonable device to try is /dev/tty.usbserial. In my case I can start up gpsd and xgps like this:

gpsd -n /dev/tty.usbserial

When everything is running and your GPS receiver is talking to the computer, you’ll see satellite and position information displayed in xgps – success.