Sunday, February 26, 2012

Brew, brew, brew

Our experimentations in brewing continue! This week we've been drinking blackberry ginger soda. I saw a post on a brewing board that making fruit soda doesn't really need a recipe and I felt empowered.

The recipe sorta went like this: take frozen blackberries from freezer. Simmer in a pot with some water. Add some grated ginger and lemon juice. Dissolve 1/2 cup sugar. Cool. Strain into carboy and add cool water to make a gallon. Pitch yeast. Shake. Bottle. Wait 2-3 days. Drink!

The soda is really purple. It makes your teeth purple. Bill thinks it's too dry, but I think it's perfect. And yup - we totally drink it from awesome golden harvest drinking jars we got at Goodwill. I am not ashamed of my love of drinking from canning jars, even if it makes me a redneck.

Tonight we reracked our Altbier. It's been fermenting for 3 weeks and has some time to go still.

But now it's in a carboy rather than a plastic bucket - so we can look at it. AND...and...way better airlock. In the background you can see the previous airlock. That one is Very Uneventful. It bubbles boringly. The new one has much more exciting bubbling action.

Finally, Bill is brewing (?) mead. First step is to heat honey and water. Then, I guess he cools it and pitches the yeast and it sits in a carboy fermenting for, like, a year? I dunno. Mead does not interest me. Bill likes the sweet stuff (like me! (booo)) much more than I do.

Monday, February 20, 2012

One Geeky Post to Rule Them All!

Things you probably know about me...
1) I am a nerd
2) I enjoy the fiber arts

Therefore, naturally, I am partaking in Nerd Wars on Ravelry. It's true - I am a Nerd Warrior.

Nerd Wars is a little game where 200ish (I'm guessing) Ravelers are divided into nerdy teams and knit, crochet, spin and weave to earn points and glory. There are teams for Sci-Fi (like Stargate, Firefly, Dr. Who and other stuff...Babylon 5 or something (I'm not that sort of Nerd)), Disney (Club 33), Broadway (Team Jazz Hands) and even Team Equestria - for My Little Ponies.

I am on Team Precious for all things Tolkien and Middle Earth (I'm that sort of Nerd). Here are the projects I've submitted since February 1.

Two spinning projects - a green Finn top from Misty Mountain Farm (you know the Misty Mountains are the largest mountain chain in Middle Earth, yeah? And Bilbo found The One Ring in caves under the mountains?)

This is some Corriedale in colors from Rivendell in autumn.

I also knit some mitts. See the Ents??

These mitts have pillars and cables that look like the Gates of Moria. It's so dark in Moria!! And Gandalf is going to die in there!!! Look how nervous I am just thinking about it:

This is a neck thingie made of seven the seven rings Sauron gave to the Dwarf-kings.

Finally, this is the start of my dissertation project. Cold Mountain. The project is named Caradhras, of course.

And, just so you know this is a Real Thing and not something I made up...I get badges. From the Hall of Honor. You've got to be pretty special to earn them.

So for the next few months I'll be knitting for The Precious. And generally being a nerd.

Totally normal stuff.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Where's the knitting?

Round about October I started doing a bunch of holiday gift knitting and stopped posting yarny things. So, here's some catch-up...

A sweater and rattle we gave our niece for Christmas. Bill picked out the lady bug buttons.

A hat for my head:

A light, lacy shawl in progress:

Calorimetry and gloves in handspun yarn.

Also, this video (Sh*t Knitters Say) is darn adorable.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

First attempts...

Today we cracked open Bill's first aged cheese. It was a farmhouse cheddar that was aged for 4 weeks. It looks like this:

It tastes yummy but is a bit wet. This has something to do with undercooked curds...or so it seems from Bill's mumblings as he was searching the internet for clues.

We have another cheddar that he cooked the day after this one that is still aging. That one was pressed longer so more of the whey was squeezed out. It looked a lot more compact and a lot drier when he waxed it. That one won't be ready until May. But in the meantime, we'll be spreading this first attempt on bread and happily eating it all up.

We also brewed our first soda - a ginger beer. Brewing soda is like brewing beer, but you stop the yeast before it eats all the sugar. We mixed grated ginger, lemon juice and sugar, cooked it up, let it cool a little and added yeast. Then we plopped it in bottles and expected to wait 24-72 hours for the yeast to make enough carbonation that we could call it soda.

Yeast work faster or slower depending on the temperature. We know it's a bit cold in our house, so we were thinking it would be closer to 72 hours. It's a bit nerve-wracking because if we waited too long the yeast would make so much CO2 that the bottles could explode.

After 48 hours...and again after 72...we opened a bottle and found our soda was still a bit flat.

Today - a week later (162 hours) - our ginger beer has a delightful sparkle.

Next up...we'll be brewing beer, more soda and making some Parmesan cheese. We're happy with how we've started and are excited to build on our experience!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

It's Super, I guess

The Super Bowl is here. It's...whatever. I'm not gonna be a downer about the BIGGEST MOST AWESOME EVENT EVER TO COME TO INDY OMG!!!

But, I'm not gonna pretend to like it either. Bill and I went down to the Super Bowl Village earlier this week to see what it was all about.

This is what Bill thought of it:

There was a zipline. It went a whole city block.

And a couple of Indy cars.

And a lot of people sort of standing around and drinking Bud Light.

That thing in the center of the road is like, a Fire and Ice lounge or something. It's the only food available in the village and I think it's actually all beer. I don't know who runs those. I heard a rumor it was the Indianapolis tourism board perhaps. But until it's confirmed, I'll assume the money goes to the NFL. And Budweiser.

There was also the NFL Experience. You pay $25 a person to stand in a really big line so that you can get inside a building and buy the official NFL gear (which is only sold inside that building). There were like games for kids and stuff too, I'm told. Apparently there are more checkout lanes in there than in a Super Walmart (I'm beginning to think the word "Super" ain't all that great), and they were all full constantly. Presumably all that money goes to the NFL.

But look at how much fun everyone is having.

Us too!

After about 20 minutes, we were just spent from all the fun, fun, fun, so we walked the 8 or 9 blocks back to my office and our car. We walked up Mass Ave, the center of awesome, independent Indianapolis. Lots of restaurants, shops, art, the best cupcakes, yummy truffles, an independent toy store, bars, (passable) pizza.... It's usually hopping every night of the week. These were the small, local businesses that would benefit so greatly from the unparalleled AWESOMENESS of the SUPER BOWL.

Or not. Where are all the people???

Oh, right.