Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Weekend Warmth and Fermenting Failure(s)

This past memorial day weekend was a mix of lazy and productive around the homestead.  Leaf out happened, turning the woods around us a bright vibrant shade of spring green.  The Darlin'Man watched a woodpecker (of a species we hadn't seen before) find a hole in a tree for a nest, toss out the previous occupant's living arrangements, and start making its own nest.  He got the truck stuck in muddy muskeg quicksand goop, twice, while hauling wood and cleared a bunch of brush out from where we hope to pasture two pigs this year and plant lots and lots of veggies next year.   The wood pile grows every few days, it is such a comforting sight.  Also an overwhelming one, when I think about splitting it all.  We sorted through accumulated bits of useful, and not-so-useful, wood and pipe and random things.  We got rid of a lot of them, and stacked the others so we'll know where they are.  We found that we've already collected enough assorted strong lengths of metal for probably half of said pig fence.  Scrapping homestead building supplies is so very much the way to go!

Sunday and monday were in the 80's, such bliss and so unreal considering we had snow, what?  A week ago?  The mosquitos were out with a vengeance though, and my arms are now covered in little bites.

I planted flowers on the porch, read the last half of Game of Thrones 3 and the first three quarters of Game of Thrones 4, and decided where the rhubarb, asparagus, and strawberry beds will go. 

In cleaning off the porch, we found one wine making plastic keg and one beer making 5 gallon bucket with the over-wintered remains of the last two of our last springs' alcohol-fermenting attempts.  The Guit Ale became vinegar, and we gave up on the Birch ale and Birch wine and left them out over winter.  The Ale smells wretched and not at all like ale.  The wine, though, actually smelled alcoholic!  Had we succeeded?  Our two intrepid homesteaders each dippered out a sip of the wine, grimaced, and pronounced it drinkable.  Certainly not to go to waste after all the effort.  And so the next night they each dippered out a cupful to drink as a with-dinner libation, and after a dutiful sip or two unanimously decided that while a sucess in that the yeasts had created alcohol, the wine was better off composted than drunk.  My most recent batch of saurkraut molded on the counter.  I think the wine and beer making equipment may get stored on a shelf in the back room for the indefinite future.  I don't know what it is in me that does not jive with the fermentation process.  I love the results, and I love the idea of it.  But I guess I don't quite *grok it yet.   I'm not giving up though, I'm trying a batch of beet kvass now.  Results will be in in the next few days.

In a way, I'm sure that this kitchen failure of mine is good perspective.  I grew up cooking and baking, and I occasionally have those moments where I read a fellow making-a-homemade/diy-life blogger's story of learning their way around the kitchen and I'm like "pie crust isn't tricky.  I'm sure it'd be even better with rendered local organic leaf lard, but I manhandle and mistreat my pie dough all the time and get great crusts."  Or I'm like, what do you mean, you've never braised swiss chard?!?!  Easiest thing EVAR!!!  I start to sound really superior/elitist inside my own head.  Fermentation humbles me.


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