After all that bluster last week about opening up bottles and attempting to carbonate that flat first batch of ale, I made no moves toward that task whatsoever last weekend. Why?
Not enough time.The nerve of even writing that…I spend ample time staring into the ether, wondering about what I should really be doing. It felt like I had a destination and purpose but had slid into a ditch on an icy day. (That happened last winter, had to shovel an hour to get enough traction to heave-ho.) As it got closer to supper time, I finally decided to make cookies. At least that would be welcomed by others and might even bring a few smiles.
The method was too iffy. Lame excuse. If I under-carbonated it, I’m no worse than now. If it looks over carbonated, don’t bottle it yet, wait a day and see. If worst comes to worst, there’s nobody in the basement unless I go down there. An exploding dozen bottles would (probably) not send shrapnel as far as the litter boxes. Fermentation is not rocketry.
Live with your mistakes and learn. Ah, the real reason. If I leave the house without my lunch, I deserve to go hungry or to subsist on microwave popcorn for the day. If I go out without a sweater on a cold day, I walk faster and warm up. If when loading groceries in the car I realize there’s no milk, too bad. No gravy, no cereal, no pudding in the coming week. The intent of this harsh discipline is to learn to do better. Generally, it works darned good as I do like to enjoy a real lunch, to be cozy warm and to stir up a good milk gravy for supper each week.
The problem with this disciplinary approach is that my nature is warring against my nurture. I have learned things that can be fixed with what I have on hand ought to be done. I like being experimental, to find out if something can be done well. Hence I was stuck in mental loops until cookie time.
The snickerdoodles and oatmeal cookies with walnuts came out fabulous. Ma loves sweet stuff, so she got the snickerdoodles. I have the oaty gems right here at my side. Not all was lost!
Plus, there’s a nice long holiday weekend nigh. What I really want to do is make a nifty long overcoat with a wide, skirt-like bottom half. I have looked at the fake fur material online until the drool threatens to short out my keyboard…we’ll see. I do have a 20% off coupon and the fur is 50% off and the pattern is $1.99 and the lining is also 50% off. Today only. Like I could go by there tonight after work. This doesn’t look as if I’ll fool with ale, does it?
By now, all of the ales and wine I put up should be drinkable, particularly the ones put up in June and July. So far, I have not tried any of the new wine since I had a case left from last year. I have tapped the ale. Two different batches.
Phooey gooey, Looney Looey! Apparently I slacked on the bottling sugar because both of the first batches have come out under-carbonated. Headless Horsemen. Grrrrrr. The initial batch is close to flat and the second is a little better. Woe if they’re all like that! Bet you cash money they are. I was on a roll and made two and three batches at a time. Grrr. Grrr. Howl. Grrr.
At first I was sorely tempted to empty all (remaining) bottles of that flat batch back into a bucket, add a tad of yeast and a bit of corn sugar. Rebottle. Try in a month. Now after imbibing quite a few, the common refrain comes to mind: “The more I drink, the better it tastes!” I did made a boatload this year, so maybe I’ll give rebottling a shot anyway. If it doesn’t turn out, I still have the wine. What kind of confidence is that? Rebottling will be fine unless I overdo the carbonation and uncap a geyser or the bottles explode. Yike!
This did not happen before. I know the problem. I relied on my more and more fallible memory. I my books I have the lead character befriend an alien AI that offers her and those she nominates a marvelous chip in the brain. All endowed are in the AI intranet. They have access to masses of information and instantaneous help. They have memory augmentation that would prevent not putting enough bottling sugar in not one or two, but all this year’s ale batches.
I will let you know one way or the other. I have several more cases probably affected, so if anyone has constructive advice, speak up! Even if you’re from outer space!
Our church had an old-fashioned day last Sunday, when all were supposed to dress as they would have generations ago. Saturday I looked through our stuff and saw nothing really appropriate for her to wear. I had a few yards of Delft blue cotton with perched white birds all over it that I got 85% off a while back. I got a picture in my noggin of a design with a tie at the neck. Using one shirt pattern to size the top half and a different one to gauge the skirt part. I made the dress in a few hours. I knew the others would pull out bonnets like they did last year, but Ma does love to be different. What better for an old country granny than a leather hat and boots? As luck would have it, the braid on the hat just about matched a braided belt I have of the perfect color.
Most folks there had some degree of old-fashioned clothing, some pilgrim-looking ones and most men in overalls. Nobody like Ma’s. The preacher’s wife took Ma by the hand, escorted her up front and said, “I think Miss Nell is the prettiest old fashioned one here, don’t you?” Applause! Yea, Ma! The dress turned out beautiful, but it was that dress and accessories on her that was fabulous!
By the way, she’s not sneezing, she’s laughing like wild at the thought I’d post her picture. Ha!
I have come to the conclusion I am a person driven by one compulsion after another. Brew season, I am obsessed with sanitizing more bottles and deciding how many buckets I can manage fermenting at one time. In the Spring, I am consumed by trying such and such fruit trees yet again or having another go at more flowery bushes. When I am writing, I write non-stop many hours at a whack.
Now I sew. I have spent way too much at Hancock’s (great bargains!) for material and patterns. My weekends are gobbled up with sewing up one garment after another. It doesn’t seem to matter we don’t need more clothes, I simply love making them!
Most patterns get used in an inspirational way, maybe make this shirt pattern into a dress with poofy long sleeves. Make this unlined simple jacket pattern into a lined and insulated long coat with cool toggles. You’d think I’d need fewer patterns if that’s what I used them for. Ha!
The only possible conclusion is that making something well is the way I judge my self-worth. When the books I labored over so arduously do not sell, I get anxious and crave another creational outlet that might do better. I made three fruitcakes last weekend with supreme optimism that at least one will make a wonderful birthday cake and present for Ma who will be 85 the day after Thanksgiving – she adores fruitcake. I hope she likes the fact I’m slathering them with homemade apple wine periodically.
I also made Ma an electrical blue with silver sparkles tunic with matching skirt and me a poetically patterned dress and a black and white plaid pencil skirt with a matching cool, complicated jacket. I love the feeling (perhaps mistaken) that I’m gaining some degree of mastery in this endeavor. Did I mention the saddle-brown boot skirt just made that has the back zipper pull on the inside? I decided it wasn’t that big of a deal and left it that way…
Once I get my backlog sewing projects done, next is the acrylic art studio upstairs. Or perhaps I’ll be in that studio all this weekend…I have a marvelous idea and have made ten sketches already. That room is over the garage and not directly heated, so if I am going to paint, I’d better get a move on!
On the long drive home to the cabin Friday evening, the trees looked more and more bare the nearer I got to the cabin. My area must have endured sudden gusts or could have been on the edge of a windy storm while I worked in exile here in the city; something made all the leaves at home drop while the trees in town still carry their colors.
This unfairness on the part of Mother Nature made me want to post a few more pictures of the foliage around the cabin when it displayed the best. This year was a great one for brilliance! Of course there were a dozen times I wished I’d have gone out earlier or later or farther…that didn’t happen so this is what I ended up with, all on my own land.
On that drive to the cabin, Ma also noted the declining tree coverage. She asked, “Isn’t there a poem about God making a tree?”
Yep, Ma, there is a famous one that I know this much of:
As a Sci-Fi writer, I have given excessive though over the shape, temperament and environment needs of an alien being we might meet someday. There’s no reason to not have a billion different forms of life and limb, but some attributes seem likely to be more common than others. We are more likely to cozy up to aliens with the ability so communicate and that are not microscopic or gargantuan. They would be friendlier looking if not blobby or reptilian either.
If a planet has a sun similar to ours and the rocky planet is at a similar distance, many of the natives should have senses adapted to the available light and have body temperatures much the same as well. The basic quadrapedal plan might be a common solution, but not necessarily. For a sci-fi book, nobody wants to meet the same old alien that looks like a guy in a costume. My favorites are the Falana here.
I varied a few parameters. The planet orbits a binary with greatly changing temperatures and gravity. These aliens will be rather resilient, I’d think. A soft body like ours would have a tough time enduring the rigors of annual variations in such an environment. I submit that a carbon rod shell to protect the tender body inside might be appropriate. And just because the vision should respond to a similar sun in a similar war does not mean the alien must have an eyeball. I gave the Falana eye stalks with different wavelength ranges for each sensor. They are two to three meters tall and can manipulate gravitational fields. Really handy, that.
Plus they are professional and respectful as well, as contractors out looking for work should be. Why not? I think civility in an advanced species is more likely than wanton blood-thirst. Besides, they would have alien DNA and our blood would be incompatible to their digestion.