I am new to homebrewing with 5 batches of extract beer behind me that turned out well. In my internet travels, I came across "mead". I had never heard of it; but came upon this website and became fascinated by the postings. So, I decided I would jump in with a 1 gallon test batch to get my feet wet. Now I am obsessed too with plans of a 5 gallon batch of mead next as soon as I can get my hands on the honey (quality honey not from a grocery store like below). In an effort to learn, I decided to post the "recipe" I jumped into on that first faithful night and to ask a few questions. Believe me, all opinions are appreciated.

1. Prepared 1 dry packet of 5 grams of Red Star Pasteur Champagne yeast with 1 cup 100F water - covered and set aside. Why this yeast? The beer man at my local store suggested it.

2. In about 1qt of water heating on the stove, I added:
25 raisins
juice of 1 lime (didn't have a lemon)
juice of 1 orange
12 oz of orange blossom honey
10 oz of sourwood honey
35 oz of a dark honey from the local grocery store that was "all natural".
3 tablespoons of brewed tea
4 oz of maple syrup (just because I had some and I like maple syrup!)
double handful of crushed frozen blueberries

3. Heated to just before boiling - stirring regularly and removing any white skim from top - total of about 30 minutes.

4. placed brewing pot in ice bath in sink to 90F

5. added yeast starter (with 1 tablespoon of yeast nutrient) - added water to 1 gallon jug leaving some air space in neck.

6. Stoppered and shook like mad! Added air lock. Placed in a dark, unused cabinet in the kitchen.

7. Color of tea, smells like honey

Now for the log:
10/26/05 - bubbles at 1 per second or two; color is already lighter brown
11/3/05 - still bubbling at 1 per second or two; light copper color
Note - my wife came in this morning and asked me if I had been baking bread in the kitchen; Ha! I hope this is a good sign!
11/9/05 - bubbles have slowed to about 1 per minute; color is about the same as a new copper penny with about a 1/2 inch of "sludge" in the bottom of jug.

1. I assume I should not rack to a second 1 gallon jug until all bubbles stop, ever how long this takes, is this correct?
2. In my excitement, I completely forgot to take a specific gravity when I started, any reason to take one now?
3. Should I attempt a taste when I rack to secondary?
4. How long should I leave in secondary before bottling?
5. Do you add priming sugar like beer when bottling, or just bottle as is?

I know this was a wildly varied recipe list for my first batch; but, I figured with 1 gallon - why not experiment. Plan is for my next 5 gallon batch to be from a posted, "known" recipe from you guys.
I greatly appreciate your comments; LOVE this website and all the postings. Looking forward to many more, and larger batches!