Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sunday afternoon

hmm, spell checker is out, so I apologize in advance to all my editor friends.

The results were posted for the Meadllenium all mead competition held in Florida and I logged on to check how the braggots I brewed with a good friend had done. As I have said before, we've done pretty good with them. But alas, we didn't win anything. It's nice to win, but I know from past experience how different tastes are. There is no way to be objective when judging something by taste.

Plus the mead is an every changing living creation. It is endlessly fascinating to me how different my meads taste day to day, much less week to week. It is truely an up and down evolution. I brewed up left-overs from 2 Christmas's ago: orange juice, raspberry puree, and pecans. I expected it to be sort of a throw-away mead, something to drink last summer. And it was really fun, mostly pecan in the flavor with a nice fruit flavor. Then long about Christmas this year, I opened a bottle for a party and took a drink. It was undrinkable. It had always had a big alcohol precence, but it was balanced by the fruit and nut. But wow, it was alcohol hot and the flavor profile was shifting and not yummy. I capped the bottle and put it away and pulled something much better out of the cellar for the party.

I went back a few weeks ago and tried it again. The raspberry has lifted up out of the blend. The pecan which had faded is back. The alcohol is still too strong, so I am going to leave it for some more time. The orange is still presenting as a general fruit sort of taste but it makes nice backbone for the other flavors.

I just shake my head in wonderment. I don't think I ever really understood the evolution of flavors during the entire decade that I was a wine snob. I don't understand now HOW it happens, just that it does. I wonder if it is something that as I learn more that is predictable?

I feel like there are techniques that produce predicatable results, but the flavor profile is a crap shoot. That was one of the motivating factors behind the Christmas Leftovers mead. I have tried crafting a flavor and had it not perform as expected, so I tried just pitching things and seeing what happens. I'd say the jury is still out. But it's been a trip!

So anyway, what I wanted to say was a couple of days later, a friend sent me a congratulations note - I had totally missed looking for the individual mead that I had sent in. I took a Second with my Day at the Fair mead!

I bottled up a couple of gallons of a plum/rhubarb/oak mead that I brewed this summer. It is another experiment. I put the fruit and oak into primary (the initial ferment) and have done absolutely NO tweaking. I am usually a big tweaker. But this time, I just wanted to see what happens. It was really really hard. Much harder to NOT do anything than to figure out what to do. There was a gallon of the end of the carboy that I couldn't bottle as it was too cloudy, so I put it in the fridge to put the yeast to sleep and force it to settle out. That I may let myself tweak. I'd like to add some acidic bite to it to replicate the bite of fruit as it has gone away. I planned this to be a heavy sweet plum mead with some depth from the oak. I plan to let it sit for about a year before trying it.

Mead is about paticence. For some reason, I can never remember how to spell that word....

Things with Kyra are going really well. I am taking 2 lessons a week with her until my Christmas money runs out. I have been learning more how to work with her. She has been worked by Rick so she pretty much knows how to, now I have to learn how to ask her. And not confuse her. She is so observant that raising my hand a few inches means something. I feel like a lout most of the time, but she has been a champ with me. Forgiving me by boorishness. I am so blessed by her.

I had a pretty upsetting dream about finding a tiny Airedale puppy in a cage. The puppy was all wet and sad. I knew there was some reason that I couldn't keep the puppy, but I got her(?) out and dried and brushed and loved on her until the puppy was happy. I found a better cage for the puppy and put her back and went on with the dream. I was sad all day but when my husband asked if I was ready to go look for a pup, I said no. It didn't seem like I was really ready. I think if I was ready, then I could have had the puppy in the dream. But even now, a few days later, I still have tears rolling down my cheeks.

I don't know if I have written at all about my thumb being hurt. I haven't really wanted to own up to it. I hurt it spinning, I believe. I was working with crappy fiber and having to struggle so much with it that I hurt the first joint pretty badly way before Christmas. I have problems with hyper-mobility in my joints, so I know better than to do what I did. Spinning was a place that I could get some tension relief, it's so zen and hypnotic that to not spin was unthinkable. Finally, I took the wheel up to the studio, out of reach, and went cold turkey. It's still sore and weak. I can't use it to pry open things like lids. It is better, but it's going to need more time to get back to where I can spin. I also am going to get this fiber reprocessed so it is easier to use. I might even have it turned into roving for me.

I am actually thinking of growing something again. I lost about a quarter acre of herbs when I couldn't work the land while I was so sick with my brain injury. Of all the losses and hurts from my car accident, that is one that still bleeds without stauching.

So I have been thinking of taking the Old Bed, the first land I tilled on our acerage here, and putting in some lettuces, tomatoes, and a few other things. And some annual herbs like basil and parsley. So starting small, and right outside the door. Where I can look at it out the kitchen window. I think if I could see a garden there, it would do a lot of healing. I've been looking out at death and chaos for many years, it's time to start healing. My dear friend is taking the Master Gardener class and is being quite inspiring for me. We'll have to collude so we don't grow the same things. One has to have a place to share the excesses.

I got invited to a Super Bowl party this year. Never been to one before so as I have been having more social impulses (also a sign of healing) I accepted! I'm looking forward to being able to understand the pop-culture references to the commercials for the first time.


jeannary said...

I really enjoy reading your blog- you write from the bottom of your heart and mine responds every time. I love hearing about your mead and experiments. It's sounds more like alchemy than chemistry. I have an imagine of the sorcerer's apprentice now dancing through my head!
Growing things is always a good way to find your roots again too- but then you already knew that didn't you?

Spike said...

Thank you! That means a lot to hear that you enjoy it. I do enjoy reading your growths and explorations on your blog as well. It's like having a quick but profound visit that we hardly ever get to have.

I will see if I am brave enough to start the growing cycle again. Right now it sure sounds good (brr). xo!