Over lunch Christine and i watched the second half of Captain Fantastic.
Work week was intense in a good way. I hit submit on my annual review at 5pm on Friday, as it was due.
There was some lovely weather during the week. Also, welcome rain. During the heavy rains Saturday a week ago, i'd drained the whole rain tank, so i'm delighted to accumulate more and not have to water.
We went to my sister in law's for dinner last night. She likes fermented foods and complex and surprising flavors, so i made fennel and blackberry salad (with radishes). This was good! I also took her some of my anise watermelon rind fermented pickles.
Visiting was pleasant and, well, it's not like we got together frequently before the pandemic. Drama over the past six months also plays into Christine's perceptions. And Christine worries D--'s memory is becoming unreliable, with their brother's and mother's Alzheimer's conditions haunting her.
In more preserving stories:
I have other watermelon rind in brine in the fridge that i intend to make sweet vinegary pickles from but have not gotten around to it. I suppose i should check to see if they are OK. I'd brined green June-drop walnuts, intending to pickle those as well. One step is to let them sit in the sun before putting them in a spicy syrup -- i left them out too long and they got moldy.
I was pruning the shrubby plants in the back corner of the orchard, hoping if i limbed the plants up, there would be more distance between Marlowe and birds. The plants are spicebush, Lindera benzoin. I've tried preserving the berries last year. Smelling the spicy scent as i cut them, i decided to make a tea. I'm not sure i can describe the flavor, Christine noted floral notes and tannins, others mention citrus notes.
I sliced up the cloves from the walking onions and got them out on the dehydrator. I think that might be an effective time investment. The scraps i put around the harrassed tomatoes and pepper plants, and i put the tops where i would welcome some onions -- hopefully acting as a deer deterrent.
Then i tried to figure out interesting ways to use up the spice tea. I've made hard candy, jelly, and simple syrup. With the simple syrup i reduced the tea down from three cups to one, added a cup of sugar, and then also added a cup of vodka to make it shelf stable, i hope. I have walnuts soaking in vodka as a base for nocino. The sweet spicebush syrup will mix well with that. The jelly is my second casual attempt. Last week i had simmered blackberries with a little sugar and water, and then tossed in a random amount of very very very old pectin. It made a lovely thick syrup: i didn't boil the mixture. So this time i used the rest of the very old pectin (and mixed it in poorly - -there's going to be lumps) and boiled. I had some quarter pint jars -- the half-height jelly jars -- and i filled four of those and one much larger jar. The much larger jar i planned to just put in the fridge; the four small jars i processed. I don't think i quite had an inch of water over the jars, but they sealed up.
I could be interested in making berry preserves, i think, although my goal was to try dehydration first. Today i did go through much sugar.