Last Hurrah

A few weeks back, we gave a pint of maple syrup to my sister-in-law for her birthday. When I saw by bro on Sunday and he heard that I was done with boiling… but still had some sap leftover… he peeled off enough green for one final propane refill as long as he could have all the syrup I could make with that one tank. Deal. There’s nothing quite like an addicted customer. I then used the cash to buy gas and coffee.

Yesterday I got the time buy that one last refill and started boiling again. The sap I had was over a week old and was starting to turn cloudy. In maple sugaring lingo they say that the sap goes sour after enough time, especially in warm weather. Luckily the days have only been in the mid 30’s to low 40’s which as far as I’m concerned is fridge temp. Besides, I was a brewer long before I was a sugarer and I choose to use the term ferment. Milk goes sour. Sugar water ferments. Besides, nothing bad ever came from fermentation. I expect that tank to kick later on this evening, and since I want more syrup than sap in the pot when it does, I’m running out to the shack every 20 minutes to add small amounts of heated sap. This is the darkest syrup I’ve made all season. It could be (gasp) grade B.

Speaking of fermentation, it must be Spring because we’ve got beer in the house again. Would it be a crime to admit that I’ve forgotten how good it is to come home from work and have a nice cold beer? I was watching some food show on TV on Sunday, saw an amber pint of ale next to a pizza and HAD TO HAVE IT. On Monday night I stopped off at the Spirit Haus and after browsing for far too long I settled on an Ithaca Beer Co. Nut Brown Ale 6-pack. Last night I refreshed our supplies with another 6-pack of Tommyknocker Maple Nut Brown Ale. It’s all very good, but what I long for is Three Floyds. Ah yes. I’ve has the pleasure of quaffing the Robert the Bruce Scottish Ale and the Dreadnaught IPA. These people make the best beer I’ve ever tasted. Period. And I can’t get it around here. *sigh*.

As soon as I realize how much beer the wife and I are likely to be drinking, I start to get motivated to get the brewing season started. I can make 5 GALLONS (about 48 bottles) of great beer for 25-30 dollars. Compare that to maybe 4 six packs for the same price. Yeah. Plus, I made it, I know what went into it. Like, not rice. Don’t get me wrong. I like rice… wrapped around my sushi, not in my beer. My stock of mead is dangerously low as well, so it’s time to make some more of that. I think I’ll try to make a dry mead this year for aging. Traditionally, I make a sweet mead because I’m impatient. Dry meads take at least a year to age before you can drink it. The term “jet fuel” is often used to describe unaged dry mead. I perfected a recipe for a cinnamon vanilla mead years ago that’s good to drink in a few months. We’ll see what’s in the budget. The dry mead will use less honey and hence cost less, so that might just might win out. I’ll get back to you on that.

I haven’t said a word about my weight loss in almost a month. It’s a little depressing to report the same thing over and over again, so I just stopped. Stopped writing about it, not stopped trying. I stalled out around 253 for what seemed forever. During that time I saw a single day where I dipped as low as 246 and another where I went back up as high as 257. Right now, I’m solid at 248. That’s the good news. The bad news is that Easter was this past Sunday. While neither my wife or I was lapse enough purchase any candy into the house, no one else in the extended family gave much of a damn about how much of it came home with the kids. They each have a goddamn bucket full of jelly beans, kisses, mini-kisses, m&m’s, Hershey’s minis and little chocolate eggs made by Wonka and I can’t stop eating it!!! I’m really doing them a favor. They don’t need all that crap. And I don’t need the dentist’s bill. I’m trying to keep a can of peanuts within reach to re-direct my temptations but they’re proving to be much less rainbow-colored, candy coated and chocolate filled than what I crave. Despite this, I’m still focused on the long term. I have no intention of sliding backward. I’m still bringing salads to work for lunch and drinking plenty of water (which I now believe is absolutely necessary) and trying not to go astray on the weekends. Hey, I actually added another hole to my belt this afternoon. So I can tighten it, not loosen it.


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