Sunday, September 30, 2007

Great day today

So the days slip one into another and any time to contemplate their passage is swallowed up by the need to sleep, cook, and clean, and oh, that other thing, work.

One of the things that loosing Emma gave me was the courage to commit to my horse, Kyra. We get to choose whether to love and loose or to not love. I realised that I was afraid of loving my horse as loosing my gelding, Honor, almost took me with him. But the idea that I would loose Kyra without even really having committed to her became something I could not do. The pain of loosing Emma has been mitigated by the wonderful memories of the years we had together and the fullness of our bond.

So I have been out to see her at least every other day and it's been going really well. I am being trained in the natural horsemanship where the horse is respected and a lot of time is spent in groundwork. I have been looking at the Parelli DVDs on the suggestion of my trainer and while the production values are awful, the information is very enlightening. There is a lot of effort put into making the concepts, which are not often self-evident, clear. There is a very big difference between communication with a dog and communication with a horse. It's quite amazing. While as with any cult of personality, there are some folks who go a bit overboard, but it is good to have the DVDs to look at. It gives a shared language to folks who work with horses.

So my great day today. First of all the weather was one of those fall days that are perfect. Crystal blue sky, just a hint of chill in the air, and warm sun. A friend had come up to help me teach a class at an SCA event yesterday and stayed over night. (The class went well and I really enjoyed the event.)

This morning we had a very good discussion about what it is to be a working artist versus an exploring artist. I think that the exploring artist who does not need to pay the mortgage based on his/her art has much more actual time to do art. Much of our time as production artist is spent in non-creative processes. But I do need more time to think about what we talked about. It was good to think about things, even if it was first thing in the morning.

Then we jumped in the jeep and went to pick up another friend. We stopped to admire her new side garden with such lovely colors of flowers and a new solar bird bath. What a very cool thing. I had lust in my heart for this "garden bling". When there is sun on the panels in the bottom of the little pool, a tiny pump makes a little spray. It is lovely. She had bright yellow, orange, hot pink, and purple-blue flowers dazzling in the sunlight. What joy!

Then on to Schmidts, one of our town's treasures. A German bakery and restaurant, they had an Oktoberfest buffet and an ompapah band. What a treat! German potato salad and fresh bratwurst. Oh lordy, we ate until we creaked.

Then jumped back in the jeep and went for a drive around some of the side roads. One of the alpaca farms along the road was open and having a small fall festival so I steered the jeep into the fibery goooooodnesss! We ended up getting two bags of alpaca batting for spinning in wonderful colors. I got a big bag of various browns for a good deal. We admired a pen full of crias, alpaca babies. Then my friends got to meet Kyra who was quite willing to be admired. She is so wonderful.

We drove up to Masonville for a bottle of water and just for the joy of the trip. What an amazing and stunning beauty is here. We did see some of the leaves turning yellow, but managed to see them where there was no traffic.

My friends on towards home, I decided to wash up the last fleece I had from last fall. I had debated tossing it sight unseen as it had been given to me for free. I got the courage from such a grand day to tackle it. I rolled it out on a sheet on the pad in front of the chicken coop and looked at it. It was spectacularly dirty and really large. It had to be a 40 lb fleece even after it had been roughly skirted. I pulled off the worst of the dirty fleece and marched myself to the dumpster to toss it away before I got all Scottish on my bad self.

While I was in the process of the washing, I got to work brewing up the 20 lbs of ripe plums given to me 10 days ago. I opened a new 5 gallon pail of honey. I only have 1 more left after this one. I split the plums, putting half the smooshed plums with skin and pit in a fine mesh bag along with 2 lbs of rhubarb. I tied up the bag and add 15 lbs of honey, water, and .5 oz of light oak chips. This is in primary fermentation with D47 yeast. If all goes right, it should be bubbling by tomorrow in full rolling ferment. I've got a lot of mead in process now. I am going to need to get some bottling done soon. I put this plum mead in my brew bucket. It would be just too much of a mess to deal with all that fruit in one of the narrow necked carboys. The rest of the plums got smooshed, de-pitted, and put in the freezer. The mead will go onto the plums in secondary to amp up the flavor.

I like my meads to be a "wall of flavor" rather than some delicate subtle tease of "hmm, now what is that?". This should be a lovely blend of the oak and plum with the zing of the rhubarb.

So I am very tired. I poked at the bag of alpaca batting, but have got a bit more wool to finish. As soon as the just washed fleece is done, I am going to go to a friend's house and borrow her picker and drum carder. I love everything about processing fleece except for the carding part.

whew. I am thinking about a bath and bed and it's only 8 p.m. And I am still not hungry after that uber delish German buffet.

All in all a day to feel blessed. I am so grateful for so many things. My family, my friends, my work, my critters, my husband, our life together.

Life is good.


Jennwynn said...

What a wonderful and almost perfect day! :)

I'm so glad that you're still enjoying mead-making and fleecing. I just wuv crias and alpaca is *really* hard to resist!

Hope the good days continue!


Spike said...

It would have been a better day if you'd been with us!


Jim Downey said...

"You people make my ass twitch."

Ah, Spike. Just got through watching "French Kiss". The bit about tasting the various flavours in the wine made me think of this posting of yours. What can I say? It's our 20th anniversary (sheesh - remember that event???) and we wanted something sweet and quietly romantic - "French Kiss" was appropriate.

Anyway, good post. Can't tell you how proud I am that you've picked up where I left off with the mead...