jacktellslies: (sebastian)
I'm drinking a bottle of the cider I started brewing in... February? March? Cider is more like wine than beer, so you can ignore it for as long as you like and, as it will only keep improving in flavour and alcohol content, you get to feel productive the entire time. I'm not sure I'd realised quite how long I'd been ignoring it, though. I only just bottled up the last of it a couple of days ago. The verdict? I think it's good! My friends claim to be excited when I offer to bring them some more, and even strangers, warned that they're about to experience my first attempted home brew, seem to be consistently pleasantly surprised. And goodness me, but the stuff gets one crunk rather quickly. Apologies if grammatical mistakes accumulate towards the end of this missive.

Now that it's all bottled up, I'm plotting my next batch in earnest. I'll admit that I've been pining for a more professional brewer's recycled, and therefore interestingly flavoured, wooden barrel. But I always hesitate to obtain anything expensive, or heavy, anything that I might want to keep. I'm buying some land somewhere one day, and as soon as I get there I'm buying a set of fantastically well-crafted knives of the sort that give young fish nightmares, a cask, and I'm building a beehive. And it seems silly to rush off towards the expensive equipment with only a single try behind me. This one was made with only a plastic bucket, my favourite local cider and, at the time, my favourite local raw honey, a bit of brown sugar, and some white wine yeast. This time I'm considering some wood chips, as a test of whether or not I deserve or require a wooden vessel, and perhaps a touch of cloves and cinnamon. I also managed to scavenge a second appropriately sized food grade bucket from the bakery's recycling bin at work the other day. I'm not particularly offended by the cloudy brew obtained from doing everything in one container, but apparently one can improve the clarity by siphoning everything but the bulk of the dead yeast that has settled to the bottom into a second. I don't turn down gifts from the crossroads gods, so I'll do it in the name of science.

A couple of days ago I had the best day in recent memory.

~ I bottled the cider.

~ I started some seeds: another round of spinach, onions, purple and orange carrots, parsnips, and a variety of red lettuces. (I'm a fool for unusually coloured vegetables.)

~ We've been selling fig trees at my shop. They're small and don't cost much. I don't plan on staying in this house indefinitely, and the lot next to my house isn't mine, but there ought to be trees in the ghetto, and fruit-bearing trees at that. So I'd been admiring them, gazing at them dreamily while I worked. While watering my potted potatoes and slug-ravaged cabbages and my herbs and roses in the back, I noticed a leaf waving at me over the wall. It looked very much like a fig leaf. I'd not explored the side lot much since the spring, as it's become beautifully overgrown. The little trees that were barely my height when I cleaned up the lot on the first warm days of the year are now about the size of my house, and, I'm pleased to report, no one could climb through the lot to my back door at night. We're guarded by underbrush. I climbed through the alley, over jagged cement and tall weeds, and found two fig trees, about my height, right where I'd wanted to plant one. I cursed for surprise, felt up their fuzzy leaves and branches. I have no idea what variety they are, or whether or not they'll bear fruit. I'll find out in the fall, I suppose. I'd seen them around in my neighbourhood before, but I assumed that they'd been planted deliberately. How strange and good.

~ I visited my community garden plot to find tomatoes, green but plump, some squash growing on their sprawling vine, ripe blueberries, and the first nubs of what will eventually become yellow bell peppers.

~ On the way to work I passed the mammoth, healthy grapevine owned by a neighbour but spilling into their back walkway right where it opens onto the street. I'd been watching the full bunches of grapes, waiting for them to ripen, and I grew impatient. I tasted one. It was sour, but it's getting close.

~ I'm starting to consider raising rabbits for food.

~ I cleaned a bit. I drank some tea. The ability to drink tea without rushing is often the mark of a good day.

~At work we were massively busy, but I worked with a favourite fishmonger friend of mine. His father builds and reconstructs old barns, so I mentioned that if he happened to hear of anyone who might be willing to teach me to butcher livestock or raise bees to please let me know. And apparently everyone in his family, parents, aunts and uncles, cousins, raise bees. So he's attempting to get me an invitation to help the next time someone harvests honey. Bees! Honey!

~ ...and I had a crying orgasm.
jacktellslies: (sebastian)
Today I stayed in bed with my partner until one. I then had a proper, civilised lunch of exciting cheeses, some good bread, honey, olives, roasted peppers, and grapes. I went outside to play in the dirt and do the first work on my new community garden plot. The edges were straightened and expanded to encompass the full space allowed, weeds were pulled, and I did what I could towards improving the soil, although I'm not yet done on that front. Now I'm having a simple dinner of salmon sautéed in good balsamic vinaigrette and brown sugar, asparagus, and cider I brewed myself. This was an exceptionally good day. I'm about to curl up with a gardening reference book and some dark chocolate with orange zest, and I'll sleep absurdly early so I can wake up in time to start work tomorrow at five. Goodnight, lovers.

Edited to add: goodness, but the cider I made is a bit strong!
jacktellslies: (egon schiele)
A small child, a boy of about four with a delightful mohawk, saw me sunning on a bench on the sidewalk. He asked his father what a cowboy was doing there, and his father, as parents always do when their children attempt to discus anything interesting, denied there being any. The child pointed to me and explained that I, obviously, was a cowboy. I was wearing rolled up brown trousers, a waistcoat with no shirt underneath it, and the brown bowler hat that Parker just bought for me, so, really, his father should have seen that it was entirely my fault. In my defense, it has been quite warm in the city these past few days. I suppose I'll have to be at least slightly more reasonable in the future.

At long last, I've managed to hunt down my favourite thing to drink when I was living in Dublin. I've been doing nothing these past four years but looking for what is in Ireland a cider called Bulmers, and in the States is apparently a cider called Magners. It is less sweet than most of the ciders I've found here, more crisp. Now I need blackcurrant juice, which is used there to flavour it a bit for ladies and fags, and I can spend the next four years doing nothing but drinking. Sobriety has been a complete waste of my time, and I'm done with it.

By the by, I was completely surprised to find that any of you chose to die honourably. [livejournal.com profile] chefkatsuya, being unparalleled in manliness, has an excuse. Take as comfort the theory that Queen Zenobia, too, may have starved herself to death on the way to Rome. (Or she may have been pardoned and set up in a villa somewhere, and lived to see her daughters married to Roman senators.) Honour? Really. I hadn't the slightest idea.


jacktellslies: (Default)

August 2009

23456 78


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags