Monthly Archives: March 2016

New Moon – Melt-Water Moon Begins

The new moon was a week ago (almost two, at this rate) and, if nothing else, it contributed to my writing a new scene for The Novel. It was lovely to see her hanging up in the western sky as dark was falling (later and later – hurrah!). What’s happened since then?
 
The kefir went moldy. Yes, really. So I guess you do need to keep it in the fridge if you aren’t making it a single serving at a time. My ex(?) and I are going to chat on the phone this weekend, do some catching up, and maybe see how things are feeling. I don’t have a clue what to expect and I’m trying (to varying degrees of success) not to get anxious about it. I achieved (YAY!), but turned down, a “summer job”: I’d gone in looking for part-time, in Ontario (it’s the Census this year, in case you were wondering), and got offered full-time, in the ass-end of Gatineau, with a shift that would demand I get on a bus at about 5:45am – I’m not even sure if the bus in question is running at 5:45am – in order to make my connection. And, y’know, basically not see my wife all summer. So I turned it down. I’ve got a couple of modeling gigs booked for April already, so maybe things will be okay.
 
Magic-wise, I think the “show up and be seen” stuff – or maybe the wammy that I put on my mirror, or maybe both – has been working. My lovely wife says that I’ve “been looking good lately, but there’s more to it than that”.
I’m pulling towards my tarot cards again, wanting to dig into the course I started at the beginning of January and see what more I can learn. I’m trying to find my Sacred Spaces again. I look out the back window and see fresh, bright, GREEN chard leaves, with ruby-red stems, and I wonder if they were growing under the snow. That would be amazing. 🙂 I have a neighbour offering me basil seedlings. The garden is starting to call again, and so maybe that’s where I’ll have to go as the days get longer and Spring Equinox gets closer and closer.
I haven’t been to the river yet. This time, last year, I was hiking across the bridge every day and I’d pause to watch the rush and swell of the river in flood. All that energy coursing by and rearing up so close. I need to get my roots back into the water table, I think, see what kind of grounding I can manage.
 
~*~
 
MOTION – Now that most of the snow is melted and the sidewalks are easy to navigate, I’m able to get out walking more readily. My desk-job is about to take up an extra two hours a day (so less motion there), but by the time the first weekend in April rolls around, I will be SO ready to take myself out dancing. For now, I’m enjoying the fact that – most of the time – walking my errands doesn’t feel like a slog (or a scurry from one sheltered spot to the next). Spring Equinox is a week away, and I’m looking forward to the expansive time of year kicking off.
 
ATTENTION – Thinking a lot about expectations. What’s reasonable to want, and what’s maybe foolish of me to expect? What are my hidden expectations (hopes and fears, to call attention to that position in the Grand Cross tarot spread) in a given situation? How do I dig them up to get a good look at them, and then articulated them to the other people involved?
 
GRATITUDE – Thankful for: Adorable baby queers at the place where I do volunteer cooking. A kind and caring wife who is good at using her words and incredibly patient with me while trying to get me to use mine (apparently it’s like pulling teeth and I’ve been known to change the subject completely rather than answer a basic “How are you feeling?”) and who is going on a Hot Date with me tonight. Warm sunshine, short-lived rain storms, and clear sidewalks that I (probably) won’t slip on for another couple of seasons (fingers crossed). Friends who want to hang out while I’m in Toronto at the end of the month. People who care enough to follow through when they say they will, and to let me know in advance if plans are going to change.
 
INSPIRATION – My friend who spend this past week at a writing retreat. She says it’s the best thing she’s ever done, and has made All The Progress on her work, which is fantastic. My plan is to treat my Toronto Trip as a writing retreat of my own – whether I get my remaining two potential modeling gigs confirmed or not – and see what I can create while the Equinox energy is still running.
 
CREATION – Well, see above, re: Novel. I’ve been scribbling, sorting out character motivations, and writing dialogue (YAY!). I’ve also been researching for the Relationships Book, and have decided to make another two sweaters using the same pattern as the one I designed for the shrug I was finishing last time I wrote one of these MAGIC things. It worked out really well, so I’m making one in purple and one in pink (and keeping my eyes out for a rich, deep blue, too). I’ve also got a heap of new roving to spin (probably on the drop-spindle, as the Walking Wheel still needs some repairs) for use in a couple of weaving projects.

Kefir – First Attempt

This is getting filed under the “cheese” tag, even though Kefir isn’t technically a cheese[1] but is more like a yoghurt that you drink. Still it’s a fermented dairy product, so I’m tagging it “cheese” and running with it.
 
I’ve been reading about mesophilic yoghurt-like cultured dairy products and decided to try making kefir because (a) I drink, like, two litres of that stuff a week, when I have the chance, and (b) the local Indie Hippy Food Mart had dairy-kefir starters (but nothing for matsoni or filmjolk or other thicker mesophilic cultures). Er… Mesophilic means that it cultures/ferments at room temperature rather than at somewhat-warmer-than-room-temperature, meaning that I can set it up in a warm corner of the kitchen and just let it do it’s thing for a couple of days and then strain it through a mash bag, and voila! I’ve got a drinkable yoghurt-substitute that I can use in baking (the same way as I use the milk that, ah, “wild-ferments”[2] in the fridge with distressing frequency) but that I’m also comfortable using as a breakfast drink.
 
I’m pretty happy with the results, so far. I mean, it’s my first attempt. It’s setting up really nicely, strained well and, while I definitely want something firmer than kefir is ever going to get, the taste of the stuff is pretty good. I want to let it ferment for another day or so – I like my yoghurt sharp, and this stuff still tastes a bit of the mild sweetness of milk left to warm on a counter top.
That said, some of it is going to get baked into muffins tonight (my lovely wife has asked me to make them on the regular because they make a good lunch substitute that can be spread out over the course of a long day in the shop which… is fantastic, but is also (I confess) incentive for me to get myself some whole wheat pastry flour and cut more of the sugar out of the coffee-cake-based recipe I’ve been adapting already[3]). More of it will be sampled tomorrow morning – possibly sweetened & flavoured with some of last summer’s vanilla-nectarine preserves that I can (hopefully) whisk in before serving it up.
I could potentially use some of it to dress tonight Fabulous (if not very fancy) Friday Dinner – basa baked with tomato-peach salsa and rice, but I will probably go with store-bought yoghurt – which has the consistency I want, and which I have hanging out in the fridge right now – instead.
 
I’m using a kefir starter – a powder that you stir into the milk and let do it’s thing – rather than kefir grains (which, as I understand it, are SCOBY-like lumps that live in the bottom of your fermentation jar and that you save and re-use over and over again to keep making new batches of kefir). So I’m not exactly fermenting things “for real” just yet. But it’s a nice way to start, and I’m really excited about the results and the potential used for what I’ve made.
 
 
TTFN,
Meliad the Birch Maiden.
 
 
[1] As a mesophilic ferment, that also includes thermophilic beasties, it CAN be used as the bacteria in various cheese-making adventures. This may or may not happen at a later date.
 
[2] Speaking of which, the Unknown Cheese that I made by accident in early January? I let it keep doing it’s thing and… Okay. While I wasn’t brave enough to try eating it, the result when I (urgh…) threw it out was actually… It had a consistency that was just slightly firmer than cream cheese or chevre, smelled somewhere between double-cream brie and blue cheese (meaning: stinky as fuck, but in a recognizable way), and was turning a fairly uniform pale orange.
Part of me wishes I’d hung onto it a little bit longer, just to see what developed. You never know. It might have been something good.
 
[3] I’m imagining a mix that includes extra eggs (AKA: the called-for number of eggs, rather than half of them) plus a couple of tablespoons of pumpkinseed- or peanut-butter, at least some whole wheat flour (probably half-and-half), and maybe some cooked amaranth mixed in with the cocoa, dried cranberries, pumpkin butter, chocolate chips (hell, yeah), and crumbled pecans.