Trapeze and Elderberry Jelly

Goodness, what a couple of days can bring. Yesterday, I began the day with an aerial class that a good friend is offering at her studio. I was enchanted to learn silks and trapeze not only for the beauty of the art form, but also for the fun... and to build some core strength.

I was not sure of what to expect or how I would do, but after getting up on that trapeze, I felt my confidence grow. It reminded me of when I used to do gymnastics, and my years of martial arts training also helped me with balance and coordination. When I STOOD UP on that bar, I felt my soul soar!! I cannot wait until next week; I found that I was actually much stronger than I had anticipated, and my muscles didn't even ache later in the day. In fact, my abs felt so great today, a good kind of sore. Yippee.

The rest of the afternoon I was happy to spend with one of my best friends, a big sister type who really gets me and offers so much wisdom and humor. I love that she calls me on my shit in a fun and friendly way. Her motivation is always fully fixated on helping me to grow by seeing my reality as well as the perspectives of others ever so clearly. She's incredibly perceptive. I love that woman.

Today I finally made the elderberry jelly! It came out AWESOME!! Guess what everyone's getting for holiday gifts this year? Yup. Elderjelly. nom. Here's a tip: I used Pomona's Universal Natural Pectin for my jelly. Great stuff!

{{I utterly failed at the beach plum jam using the regular pectin from the grocery store... it just wouldn't gel, plus I was really unhappy about the other ingredients in that stuff. I don't want to imagine those lovely plums are ruined. I suppose that sweet, saucy stuff will have to become mead or something.}}

I had a short-lived snafu when my food mill became gooped up with the sticky, snot-like residue that squished elderberries leave behind, but it seems that a small amount of Citra-solve cleaner on a sponge will take care of that in short order. So, there's another tip.

This evening I attended a town meeting where citizens were invited to give their opinions about a proposed zone change for a gorgeous piece of land from residential to industrial. Hundreds showed up! The land in question includes the top of the gorge known as "Satan's Kingdom" and has rare geological features, offers a corridor for wildlife between two refuge hubs, several rare plant species and unique diversity. The developer wants to take the top of the ledge off and the rest of his plans are vague at best. People were passionate, intelligent and eloquent. I was really proud of my community. It doesn't look good for the developer and I am happy about that. Maybe some jelly will cheer him up and sweeten that nature-hating disposition.


As the day winds down, I realize that I didn't get nearly as much accomplished as I wanted to, but it was a good day nonetheless. My belly is full of homemade soup and grilled cheese with garden tomatoes and my spicy fermented dilly beans. My gods, the dilly beans are BEYOND.

My friend Margaret harvested elderberries for me this year and put them in her freezer, so today I took the hour drive out to her to pick them up. Such treasure!! She had not only a bumper crop from this year, but also from last year, as well as juice the she had put up. It took me a while to clean the stems out of the frozen berries, but I now have a very full pot of elderberries on the stove awaiting my further attention. I'm thinking jam. I'm thinking tomorrow.

Margaret also had a 5 gallon Crown crock that I took off her hands for a reasonable price. It's in good shape and that gives me a total of five crocks to work with: 10, 8 and 5 gallon Crowns as well as a fancy 7.5 litre German crock and a cast off 1 gallon crock from a broken slow cooker. Currently all but the 8 gal and the new one are in use. I'm making white wine in the largest crock, and as for the smaller ones, I'm infusing my friend Siro's red wine vinegar with beach plums in one and black raspberries in another.

With all the driving around, scrubbing the new crock and cleaning frozen elderberries, I never got out into the woods today... or all the other things on my list for that matter. Feeling pretty done though. whew.

At the end of the month I'll be teaching a workshop that I outrageously titled, "The Gestalt of Chinese Energetic Systems: Two Polarities, Three Burners and Five Phases." Tonight I'm going to work on that presentation. Honestly though, I really just want to create a platform for discussion so that we can all share ideas and I can guide the conversation. I feel it's important for us to get a sense of where we are oriented in time/space in order to manage and balance our individual constitutions with diet, herbs and lifestyle. It should be interesting to see how it fleshes out.

On that note...

Seasonal Shift

It seems far too soon for the nip of Autumn to be in the air, but here it is. There's suddenly so much to do and it's rattling my cage after months of lazy summertime energy that every year feels as though it will last forever. One day I will learn.

The most pertinent thing on my mind, of course, is securing my fire wood for the winter. Someone at the farmer's market told me yesterday that there's a shortage and I'd better get right on that. I look out at trees everywhere and wonder how that can be true, but I gathered a few phone numbers and today I will begin making calls. I have about a cord of seasoned, yet unsplit wood taking up space where I'd like another 5 cords delivered, so that needs to be dealt with first and foremost. I am fortunate that I have a couple of great friends willing to come up with a splitter and take care of that for me, but it won't be for another week. I reckon it would be best to put those thoughts on the shelf for now.

The sound of the dehydrator running is bothering me too... it's a beautiful morning: dry, sunny and moderately cool, yet the rosehips just weren't drying out there; I am disappointed, but I think that may be a bust. Wondering if there's anything I can do to salvage the situation.

Yesterday I was fairly productive, after the farmer's market, I made a beautiful chicken and root soup, did a little housework and got in a good walk in the woods. I was gifted with a perfect birch polypore that must have just hatched; it was perfectly white underneath with nary a single bug. (that's right, I said nary.)
The white wine I'm attempting to make from Ruth's prized grapes is foaming far too slowly and I wonder if it will come out alright. I just keep pushing down the mash and hoping for the best. It smells fantastic, but still tastes like juice. Siro suggested that I go pick up some grapes from the vendor that he and his father use for their wine production, and although this week is a bit too crazy to take that on, I'm relieved to know that they will be offering them for another month.

Today, I'm off to Enfield to pick up some elderberries that a lovely woman picked and stored in her freezer for me. I am not entirely sure what they will be used for because I've already done infused vinegar (delicious), an elixir and some syrup... well, what's wrong with more syrup? I could do wine, but meh. I think I'll reserve that project for the grapes.

Alrighty then. Time to fix myself some breakfast and get motivated.
"Soup of the morning, beautiful soup!"