Archive for November, 2009

Free booze from a tree!

Monday, November 9th, 2009

cider in process

I am buzzed to report that our first cider-making efforts have borne fruity booze.  The five-way apple tree I planted nine years ago yielded enough fruit this year to fill a 5-gallon carboy with juice.  Add yeast, secure airlock and stand back!

Hard cider may be the easiest alcoholic beverage there is to make.  Unlike with beer, no boiling or cooling is involved.  The internet is replete with conflicting advice on how best to ferment cider, and almost all of the available instructions seem to give fine results.  Here’s what we did: Read the rest of this entry »

Coffee Project: Day Eighty-One

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Latest observations:

The feeling coffee gives me is a lot like terror: my heart pounds, my chest tightens, my muscles clench.  This makes sense, because caffeine stimulates the release of adrenaline and stress hormones — it’s like a cup of artificial stress, basically. (Read that link: it’s kinda scary.)

But my life is artificially low on stress: I live in Portland.  And this month I’ve really gotten to know the positive side of coffee, too.  It can give me focus and motivation, but it’s not a sure thing.  I have to want to focus, and have the time and space, before coffee can help me. And I can still focus without coffee … sometimes.  The long and short of it is, I wrote almost nothing while I had no caffeine in me.  I am a professional writer, and that is a real problem. Read the rest of this entry »