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: (opium den)
An unexpected side effect of eating local food is that those things that I eat that come from far away have developed a strange connotation. There is something of the Silk Road about them. Tea, from China! Spices, from India! Chocolate, from South America! The occasional box of macaroni and cheese, from the midwest!
jacktellslies: (tea)
My sincerest apologies for not having shared this with you sooner. I should have done so ages ago when I found it by way of the brilliant artist, maker of exceptional hats, and time traveller Miss Chronographia VonStrangehours.


Elemental - Cup Of Brown Joy from Moog on Vimeo.


Earl Grey.
jacktellslies: (ladies)
Friends! Following a thoroughly successful day of adventures with Krys including, but not limited to: an examination of the medical oddities of the famed Mutter Museum, the sampling of oft and deservingly praised crepes at Beau Monde, missing a magpie, the exploration of most of the city's great antique shops, the acquisition of the second top hat of the week and a kneeler to accompany the Fort's church pew, a great feast occurred. Long lost friends gathered at The Fort for a grand tea party, at which we tasted a mirage of teas from the antipodes, watercress sandwiches, fine cheeses, strawberries, pears, and grapes (even in winter!), and wine. We spoke of art and politics! We wore hats! And, most important of all, we noted, as we have all been long aware, that all of the existing terms in the whole of the English language for, shall we say, the naughty bits, are painfully inadequate. So we made new ones. Below is a partial list. Please review, amend, and advise.

the teacup of Venus
the Spear of Destiny
the horn of the unicorn
his quivering tower
Christopher Walken
his Spanish cigar
her secret grotto
her dark cavern
her mysterious pocket
her blushing apple blossom
her chastity and virtue
her secrets and lies
her cavern of jewels
his divining rod
her flowing cup freshly remembered
his beautiful hookah
ein ├╝bermensch
her jar of fine ointments
his proud peacock
her unlit room
his devil's tower
his calvary and artillery
le croquet
his devastating cannon
the devil's wineglass
his swift rapier
his plus three mace of increased strength
The Nautilus (I think this works equally well for most people's bits, actually.)
his gentleman in a bowler
his bright candlestick
her snuff box



And a few for the act:

to throw one's gauntlet
once more unto the breech dear friends
with a led pipe in the conservatory
sailors fighting in the dance hall


Some of these are absurdly insular, and such in-the-moment drivel that come morning even I won't remember exactly what we'd been raving about, but they're still a good deal better than the alternatives. More, more!

And thank you for your attention to this matter.
jacktellslies: (tea)
To celebrate Parker's having started T, Carla and I threw him a surprise, ahem, tea party. There were cucumber and watercress finger sandwiches, artfully arranged platters of meats and cheeses and smoked fish, ladyfingers, and little cakes with fruit. There were also, of course, several thousand varieties of expensive and exotic teas. As I'm sure you've noted, it was intensely manly. In fact, following a discussion regarding the strange ability of those sphinxes, women, to pick at the tiniest quantities of food and rely on the clever application of pauses in order to appear delicate and half starved while secretly consuming entire galaxies, we decided to hold an experiment. We embarked upon a quest to prove our virility: twisting their deceitful feminine ways to our own purposes, we nibbled away at entire pyramids of watercress sandwiches, cheering one another onward to still greater feats of gluttony, more daring displays of masculinity, leaving naught but pure machismo and crumbs in our wake. Debbie brought a gift of beard grooming products, and at the end of it, as a ritual acceptance of adolescence and, eventually, manhood, we took Parker out into the woods and circumcised him with a straight razor while chanting the following:

Gentlemen, behold! )


We'll host a sausage party when he's a bit further along.
jacktellslies: (Default)
The city looks new, with the trees just going green and pink. Even the oldest houses look older. I've been in this house a year now. I've been here all of the time longer than that. Things are coming back to where they were. Things are coming back different.

Some time ago I had a boy who would send me tea from London. I only just realized, in fact, that I'd probably never had truly good tea until he gave it to me. (I'm certainly not all his fault, but he did ruin me a little.) We've been talking, and I've been enjoying it immensely. He'll be a nurse soon enough, and he wants to move north. He is still thinking about a tattoo he used to think about when we thought about one another differently. He asks me questions I've not been asking. I've been such a secular thing, this year. I do not think it is bad. The metaphors are no less rich. But mayhaps I do miss feeling the thing under the meat, which was what I knew before I knew the meat so well.

I killed something today.

Today is Bill's birthday. I love to watch the rhythms of people, now, the way that they want community, and then want to be alone, all throughout their lives. We are little clocks. And I've had other thoughts. As a child, people told me that I was wise, and that I was old. And I always reminded myself that no, I wasn't. The thing they were seeing behind my eyes was more slow panic, long trauma, than substance. I'd tell them I was more mud than depth. I knew that if I was wise, I still had far to go. But I knew it as a kind of rebellion: it was like a riddle, and I thought myself all the wiser for knowing the trick at the end. And so there is the part of me that wishes that they had told me, too: you may be wise, and you may be old. But you are very stupid, and you are very young. And, perhaps more importantly, you only know what you know, and you are only as old as you are. I enjoy these paths, too, and I wonder what they will look like when I am somewhere else.

You must listen to the Decemberists' cover of Bjork's Human Behavior right now. It will break you.
jacktellslies: (shrine)
Today has been composed mostly of the following:

Brand new pinstriped trousers, the best pair I've ever owned.
Morrissey, Bona Drag and some other things.
James, Laid.
A great deal of luck.
Placebo, Every Me and Every You.
Andrew Marvell, To His Coy Mistress.
A mix that Alex made me, Genderfuck.
An enjoyable essay on cuckoldry located at the front of my copy of Much Ado About Nothing, the Folgers edition.
Many cups of red tea.
The Pennsylvania State Board of Education academic standards for history and science and technology, grade twelve.
Choderlos de Laclos, Les Liaisons Dangereuse.

We went to dinner at the Olive Garden, because we are classy. We shared a pitcher of peach sangria. I thought I might go out, but she and I had a quiet night alone with television and tea and the sofa and blankets. It was soft and familiar.

It is Saint Brighid's Day. It was a nice, slow, lazy sort of awakening. It is strange, though, that there is no cold for her to chase away, or to bring back into herself. Flowers out of season mean trouble without reason.

Oh! I got a Valentine!

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