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: (circusfolk)
Beth and I have taken to laughing, "I get everything I want!" for those moments that manage to be irrationally perfect, more than you'd ever ask for piling around you all at once. And yesterday was better than that, a consistently and unreasonably lovely day. I'd stayed up late the night before dancing around a cauldron of glue in my oven room, a bulb burning directly over my head, my halo, my moon. And I woke up early, no reason but a hunch, and done with dreams. My suspicions were correct, and someone I'd been wanting was tangled in the aether cables. I hadn't known what it would call. There were crows above me, instantly, calling in a grey and writhing sky. There were three or five of them, when I've not seen crows in this part of the city in years, if ever. Obscenities, my only prayers, fell from my tongue like fairy gold turning to feathers.

I did yoga; I did not, so far as I can tell, shatter my spine. I'll proceed with caution. I'd quite like to return to it in earnest.

By the time I'd dressed it was nearly time to leave, but being occasionally irrational, I decided that I couldn't possibly be seen in public that day without a new hat. I found the streets of Philadelphia, my lover, boot to brick, moving in her in a fury of winds. Other people's sigils were burnt in the alleyways, mirrored cave paintings replaying my perfect morning and laughing, certainly correctly. I pouted and preened for myself in the shops and returned with something I liked.

I got to the park laden with fruits and red and white wine. I found friends there, beautiful ones, and we ate grapes from one another's chests and trousers like silly foul mouthed children. The trees insisted on joining in, covering us in spores and other spunk of the natural world. Tom, being even more of a true city-dweller than most of us, was unfamiliar with such obscenities and was terrified.

It is, I think, the nature of us veterans of the Fort to threaten as much as to flirt. But this being the first of spring, I think we may have outdone ourselves. It was filthy. We accused one another of vile things and promised one another worse. A running tally of my failings was kept by Winston Churchill (here represented by a delightful young bulldog, clearly drunk and a scrapper) and my dead father, drinking deep of the whiskeys of hell yet still unable to forget their unnumbered sins and disappointments made flesh and left to wander the streets in the form of yours truly. In our defence, for the first of spring it was a bit cold and the wind was cruel; we were fighting and flirting to stay warm. Eventually we were forced indoors for mystery beer, a charming custom of paying next to nothing for a surprise in a paper bag and a bottle. Sometimes it was quite good, but there was always the risk of falling victim to some of that mainstream American beer that tastes like a mixture of spit and the underside of the furniture in a fraternity. The waitress, being wise and just, only inflicted such indignities upon Tom.

I feel like I've left out some of the goodness, but I'm not sure I'd know how to convince all of it to fit. I don't know how one day managed it, still. But the winter is dead at last, and I'm hopeful that this day won't be the last of its kind.


jacktellslies: (Default)

August 2009

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