Friday, August 01, 2008

Earth Mama

It's starting again. I remember last year around this time, inspired by the spontaneous creativity of nature and all the growing things around me, I went into a Country Mama mode. I'd puree fruit and dry it in the sun, making "fruit leather." ("Don't call it 'leather'!" people used to tell me. "Call them Fruit Roll-ups or something.") I made a little rack to dry prunes. I pickled peppers that eventually became the key ingredient to our Bloody Mamas.

This year's Country Mama Season started with my homebrewing experiment. Glass Guy's already been brewing some excellent quaffs for a while now, so I finally opened my Homebrewing Kit (bought on impulse during a post-Christmas sale) to make my first batch.

Big Dog was also excited. "If it's good, we can start full production. It'll really save us on our beer expenses."

I drank the first sip of the first bottle of the first batch 2 weeks ago. And it was absolutely.....horrible.
"Ugh. Worse than Coors," I grimaced. To myself. I made sure no one was around to witness my disappointment. (Or glee, as it might have been.)

But if success is a good motivator, failure is an even more powerful one. Since then, I've created 2 more batches of beer (although I suspect the yeast in the kit was a bit too old) and a bottle of peach liqueur has been ripening for a couple of weeks now. Last Sunday, I pressed a gallon of apple juice to start some apple cider. Our pantry smells so much like booze, I can't let anyone else walk in. I don't have any of the proper equipment but I remember making some pretty good rose petal wine when I was a teenager and I had nothing then. Of course, it might have only tasted palatable because I was a teenager! (I think I used regular baking yeast, too!)

There's also some sourdough starter and bread rising on the kitchen counter, a jar of yogurt fermenting on a windowsill and two new jars of preserved grape leaves waiting their day as wrappers for dolmas.

I had to find some new things to keep me obsessed. How many times can you go look at your vegetable garden only to be disappointed that there's nothing to pick yet?

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