Category: Homestead Crafts

Elderberry Wine!

By , August 14, 2017

Back in the early ’70s, long before I ever tasted wine, let alone learned to like it or make it, I loved a song by Elton John called Elderberry Wine. The B side of his hit 45, Crocodile Rock, it became almost as popular as the A side in Sitka, Alaska in those years (confused by these archaic terms? Ask your parents, or even grandparents!).

One variety of elder grows prolifically in Southeast Alaska, so I naturally wanted to try making elderberry wine eventually. Earlier this year, I bottled my first batch, and it’s time to taste it.

Elderberry wine from the Zeiger Family Homestead (Photo: Mark A. Zeiger).

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Follow Up on Spruce Soap Experiment

By , August 6, 2017

I told you a few weeks ago about our experiment with a new homemade soap fragrance (see Shades of Things to Come?). The batch has cured, and the verdict’s in: better luck next time!

We have a very pleasant batch of soap, but we’re not sure exactly how to market it. At first, we couldn’t discern any fragrance at all, so we decided it should be considered “unscented.” However, as we trimmed and wrapped it, we detected a slight spruce fragrance. Finally, we settled on “Hint of Spruce.” We packaged up a few cakes and took them to Alaska Rod’s, our local distributor. We have yet to hear if they’re selling or not.

The good news is, the color is nice! Although, it’s not enough to base any marketing on.

At worse, we’ll have some good, mildly fragrant soap for home use. We’ll try again at least once before next spring, when we’ll make more of an effort to strike while the spruce tips are fresh, as it were. Because we’re in the midst of the tourist season, the next experiment will have to wait till we get another batch of our popular soap varieties out in the store.

At this point, I have yet to decide whether or not to add this variety to our Store page. Use the comments section below if you’re anxious to try it, and we’ll put up the links. Otherwise, keep checking back to the store page to see if we get around to it.

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