Monday, October 08, 2007

Casual Update

What’s going on in my life right now that’s worth writing about? Not much I’m afraid. There are a couple of highlights I could mention I guess.

At work we’ve been low on students so folks have been forced into taking extended time off. Because I’m a teacher and my work is not optional I’ve been kind of protected from this. This is something that has been convenient but I feel kind of bad about. This is especially so because I have enough vacation time that I’ll hopefully be taking a trip to New York City for Thanksgiving and then have three week vacation for Christmas. I could take some time off and let someone cover school for a bit but… I don’t know.

Last weekend the ward had a trip up to Camp Joseph, that’s in the Sharon VT area supposedly the old Smith homestead up there. I had the responsibility of making sure people had tents to stay in which was kind of obnoxious due to folks not sharing info with me about whether they needed space or had extra space. Nonetheless it all seemed to turn out okay.

Sword practice is going okay. I may have mentioned earlier that I’ve moved on from the defense series to the attack series. The attack forms are pretty fun. The last week I was off the island I learned my 22nd form. I like it but it has a couple things I haven’t figured out yet. Between forms 21, 22, and some kind of yoga-ish classes I’ve been taking from one of my sword teachers I’m finding out what kind of problems decades of slouching has caused for me. Somehow or other if I want to make a mastery of these techniques I’m going to have to learn to walk with my back up straight. Yikes.

The plants are doing well. The cashew tree has a whopping 10 leaves with another on the way on top. It also has some nodes appearing that suggest branches will be forming soon. I’ve moved my tomato plant indoors. I’ve of ancient times heard rumors that under the right conditions tomatoes are perennial so, I’m going to see if I can make that happen. Also, I brought home a venus flytrap from work. The kids were abusing it rather than taking care of it so… I’m going to see if I can get it pretty big and durable and take it back out there. So far it’s got about 4 or so of those little gadgets they catch the flies with but it hasn’t caught anything. Some of them are surely still too small and immature to work, and it might be that all of them are still.

In the cooking universe I’m deeply thinking about going back to getting set up to make beer. Oh the scandal, I know. But as for what I’m actually DOING, I’m making a lot of pizza. I’m trying to come up with a recipe for sauce that will cause the taster to faint for its deliciousness. Also I’m getting stoked for all the fall pies. I’m going to go back and try the pumpkin from the actual pumpkin with bourbon… so good. And I’m going to make advances in the apple department. I’m going to try and come up with a caramel curry apple pie. Oh yeah. Delanie’s fancy schmancy curry chocolates may have ruined me. I’ve got to figure out a good way for increasing my caramel amounts though. My mouth is watering thinking about it.

I tried a while ago to develop a contraption for distilling volatile oils out of various plant materials. I was thinking of specifically bayberry leaf because there’s a ton of it on the island and it smells really surprisingly good. It seems like the kind of project that would be cool for the kids too but, I’ve had little luck. One of the things I’m seriously considering in this vein to try now is to modify a stovetop espresso maker. They work by a different principle but I think if I cut a certain piece off and successfully seal the lid I might pull something off. I don’t know, it still seems kind of sketchy. I may just have to give in and buy a glass apparatus and threaten the kids with major fines if they break it.

Speaking of distilling, I decided for personal entertainment purposes to start saving my sourdough hooch until I have enough to distil it. There’s a contraption I saw on the internet using a big kettle and a wok full of ice for distilling Franzia. I figure the same could work for me considering I don’t want it to drink or anything, it’s just taking a while to save up enough hooch. I need like a half gallon or so and I’ve been getting about ¼ cup per week off of my culture.

I think that’s about all I’ve got to report or at least care to right now. I hope you enjoyed.