After four days of regular stirring, we uncovered the fermenter to find the first signs of fermentation: bubbles! The aroma was bright, citrusy, and sweet. We gave it a good stir and covered it back up.
We let it continue to ferment for six more days. Over that time, you could hear the liquid brightly bubbling and, when uncovered, distinctly smell carbon dioxide. By the sixth day, the pulp of the orange had started to break down, the coriander had swollen, and the color had lost much of its original saturation. Some brown foam (yeast) could be observed on the surface and the aroma had gone from sweet to slightly yeasty and acidic. Most importantly, the amount of off-gassed carbon dioxide had noticeably diminished.
At this point, we decided to rack the mead off the fruit. We used a sanitized auto-siphon and 3 gallon glass carboy.
Our transferred volume fell just short of 3 gallons. In the next stage, called secondary fermentation, you want to minimize the surface area of liquid coming into contact with air. In other words, you want to fill the carboy all the way up, leaving only about two inches of space between the top of the liquid and the opening of the vessel. Since our transferred volume didn't come to that level, we simply mixed up a small quantity of honey water (maintaining our original ratio of 1 part honey to 5 parts water) and filled it up. We capped it with an airlock, wrapped a towel around it, and stuck it back in the corner. And that is where it is going to sit, continuing to ferment for... a month? two months? longer?
We'll see... and we'll keep you posted.