Unfortunately I think this will be a disorganized rambling post. I’m making an effort to update this at least once a week, but have already failed. Partly due to my great friends that came to visit A2 for the weekend. (quick shameless plug of their new blog ) Also, it’s been a fairly mentally busy couple weeks.
So, let’s see here, where to begin. I know, my next batch of mead. I had an idea and put it to vote between a ginger warmup mead or a cherry vanilla mead. I picked two recipes from various places on the internet, and modified them greatly to match my skill level and my personal tastes. After all the votes were tallied cherry vanilla came out on top. My recipe is as follows. Begin with 3-4 gallons of cherry juice and 1-2 lbs of dried cherries. plus ~10 lbs of meadowfoam honey. After it’s done fermenting, it will be racked onto a few vanilla beans til I get it nicely balanced.
You may be wondering why I would want cherry juice and dried cherries in the mead. It is mostly to get the most complete cherry flavor and color I can in the mead. Cherry juice provides a lot of color, but also a lot of fermentables, so the cherry flavor from the juice will tend to be subdued. Dried cherries on the other hand will only add minimally to the color of a mead but have much more concentrated flavor bits that can be leached out by the cherry juice and other components to the mead.
I’m willing to bet that you’ve never heard of meadowfoam honey. meadowfoam is a dense ground covery flower that tends to grow in prairies. the honey itself has a wonderful flavor of roasted marshmallows, which is ironic because marshmallow honey tastes nothing like marshmallows… Anyway, after it is fermented, it has a sorta marshmallow flavor along with some richer notes. I’m really hoping that it will be as well balanced as my first mead, which has a wonderfully bright orange flavor along with it.
Mead is the most wonderous exercise of patient and self-restraint. It takes a couple months for mead to ferment out and settle in the carboy. After then, the longer it can stay in bulk and unconsumed the better it gets. My first mead is about 6 months old now, and has mellowed quite a bit but even now has a bit of a roughness that will take maybe another year or two to smooth out.
Now on to some rantings! Anyone that has been a pedestrian, cyclist or driver in the city knows that the three groups absolutely despise one another. I, however, don’t think that this needs to be the case, or even should be the case. One of my friends and coworkers was hit on a bike recently. I would understand if he was doing something stupid or dangerous, and quite frankly i wouldn’t feel bad at all about them getting hit. In this case however, they were being as safe as humanly possible on the road (the legal place for cyclists to ride in the city). Drivers and pedestrians have been trained too well by the dangerous cyclists, that they don’t pay attention or think about where cyclists might be difficult to see.
This raises the question (for me at least) of ‘how did each group grow to hate each other in the first place?’ For people disliking pedestrians it is easy; the pedestrians developed a sense of entitlement and a case of myopia. For cyclists, however, there is more at work. I think a lot of it comes from a mixture of growing population densities and lack of government encouragement for safe riding. There are very few dedicated bike paths in Ann arbor, and almost none of them even lead anywhere useful. There is a great set of bike paths, but that doesn’t help bicycle commuters or any other cyclists in town. likewise there aren’t any dedicated bike safety courses. I would be a fan of a mandatory course to be able to cycle within the city, I doubt it would actually help the idiot cyclists, but it would definitely raise awareness among the cycling masses that don’t know the rules of the road for cycling.
Since the tagline for my blog says I’m a student I should probably actually talk about school and student jobs and whatnot. I’m completing the last semester of a physics degree here. I’d imagine I would be more excited to graduate, but the more I actually think about things, the more I miss my already graduated friends, and all the experiences I’ve had here. Note I didn’t say just the good experiences, I’m a definite believer in that you need the bad to truly appreciate the good. Those that know me, know I’m ever practical and pessimistic realistic. If for no other reason, you need the bad experiences to relate to the rest of the population that isn’t on prozac, naturally or otherwise. I mean, really, how often do you bond with a stranger in a line that is moving quickly, or a bathroom that is in great condition? never, it’s the bad times that give fodder to sometimes reach out and make a connection with a stranger. I’m sure I’ll rant more on this later….
I have more but, I think I’m all blogged out for tonight.