I'm fairly new to this hobby as well, however I can answer some of your questions.
A hydrometer is essential to winemaking, as it indicates the potential alcohol level of the must. If you have too much sugar in the wine, the potential alcohol level will be higher then the yeast has a tolerance to. Thus, it is important to know the specific gravity of your wine.
Here's what seems to be a fairly simple recipe, in a one gallon format (multiply everything by 5 if you want 5 gallons.)
3 lbs. fresh strawberries
2 lbs. granulated sugar
2 tsp. citric acid
water to make 1 gallon
wine yeast & nutrient
Place all ingredients except yeast in crock. Crush fruit with hands and cover with 5 pints boiling water. Stir with wooden paddle to dissolve sugar and simultaneously mash the strawberries. When cooled to 85 degrees F., add yeast. Cover and stir daily. Strain on 7th day, transfer to secondary fermentation vessel, top up to one gallon, fit fermentation trap, and set aside. Rack after 30 days and again after additional 30 days. Bottle when clear. Allow to age at least 6 months. Will improve to one year.