Monday, October 4, 2010

Pooch the cat comes into the office right on schedule. I've been fartin' around online for the better part of an hour. The apple sauce is turning to apple butter on the stove. I haven't stirred it since I finished breakfast and headed into the orifice to surf. I cringe thinking of the caramelized apple do on the bottom of my stainless steel cooker. Oh well, there's always the wire brush attachment on my DeWalt hand drill.

The cat stretches on my exposed leg sinking his claws into tender flesh, jumps on the counter and tries his cat dance across the keyboard. I pat my lap and he settles in for some rolling thunder purring as I scratch his jowls and neck. I'm backed up with work(again). The sky's clear blue and the sun shining. I wasn't going to putter in the blog garden, since I can't cram enough hours into the days as it is. Then, I check a blog singled out as noteworthy. A gal from St.Louis writes "Everything I like Causes Cancer". That piques my attention. She's witty, sarcastic and obviously very computer literate. The blog design is eye catching. I notice a blog on her blog list with the word Home brew in its title. More pique.

I'm having trouble with my hard cider. While the pear/apple brew is bubbling away and the concord grape wine is happily gurgling, the 9 gallons of fresh, unpasteurized apple cider has a long face. In the evening I consult with Number One son who's an advanced chemist and home brewer. He gives me a few tips noting that he's learned enough about home brew to create his own recipes. Wow. The island in our newly remodeled kitchen looks like science class in high school on the third floor of the old Englemann building.

I copy the blog address of the home brewing page and paste it into my "Blogs I follow" list. Scrolling through various posts about brew, the author tells about fixing a batch of beer. He says he has a mark on the carboy that indicates five gallons. Pouring the freshly cooked beer tea into his carboy, he notices the level in the bottle is beyond the five gallon mark. Puzzled, he tries to figure out how he started with five gallons and magically created more. I know the feeling. It's a WTF? situation.

Then, he realizes, duh, he forgot to dump out the sanitizing solution. I don't feel so bad for screwing up and adding yeast to my mix right after throwing in a crushed Campden tablet. The Campden tablet works to kill wild strains of yeast and other contaminates. It will also kill (duh) your newly added Pasteur Champagne yeast. Then there's the person who wrote in to the wine supplies company. She (it sounds like a 'she') asks the webmaster who maintains a FAQ's, questions and answers portion of the site , "How do I remove labels from bottles? I don't want to give friends brew with old labels." Yes, that would be home brew class 1A right after What i s your name and do you know where you live?

Dawn pounds the Pampered Chef vegetable chopper handle most of the afternoon fine chopping sweet green peppers and Jalapenos. Thanks to the NWS 's widespread frost warning Saturday and Sunday night, we have a bushel of peppers to process. On Sunday morning I pick some basil branches that miraculously made it through predicted 30 degree lows. The pepper plants-untouched. For no rhyme or reason only one vine of gourd plants appear to be killed by frost. It wasn't in a low spot. Nothing near the gourd vines was affected. Now I've got an eighty foot row cover over my tender lettuce and radishes wondering what to to with the row cover. Late Saturday Dawn and I stretch the white fabric over thirty or so metal hoops creating a miniature cold frame or greenhouse tunnel. The wind whipped the thing around as we looped it over the frames and then quietly retreated to bother other people stretching 80 foot long ten foot wide fabric. The quickest way to anchor the fabric is a shovelful of dry dirt. 160 shovel fulls later, the row cover is secure, but I need to water my late season garden. I'd better get moving.

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