Monday, May 23, 2016

PSG Pickles and PSG Planning

I've gotten a pair of blue light blocking safety glasses to help me with the task of getting my sleep cycles in order.  That said, it's later than normal (I don't work Sundays, Mondays, or Tuesdays so I'm more lenient... this is a mistake but it is what it is) and I'm very tired.  I wanted to talk about the planning of the day, though.

I have almost everything I'll need for Pagan Spirit Gathering with the exception of food and maybe an eating dish of some sort.  The likelihood is that I won't be super fixated on food while I'm there, so I've chosen some very easy cooking and food preparation methods for the event that will allow me to stick with a very natural diet while I'm there without feeling too much hassle from any time crunches that happen.

First, I'll probably be eating meal replacer bars for breakfast.  I tend to eat these for breakfast before work; I have a feeling the Paleo Diet bar is being discontinued as their website seems MIA and there are discounts on it everywhere... this has been holding me back diet-wise due to the high carb level, so it's probably for the best, but I'll be saving seven or eight of them for PSG.  I really should be eating something better, like hard boiled eggs or avocados or smoked turkey or something.  I also have a camp-friendly coffee pot.  I don't drink a lot of coffee, but when I do it has spiritual significance for me... after giving up soda, drinking that much caffeine at once puts me in an altered state and I want that available to me.  Obviously I can also use the pot for other things, like heating water for cleaning dishes or making tea.

Lunches I similarly want to keep simple.  Again, in daily life I tend to eat a romaine lettuce salad with whatever veggies I'm in the mood for, pepitas/pumpkin seeds, olive oil, and vinegar.  I'm considering diluting some of my four thieves vinegar for this purpose (it's tasty but extremely strong) for that natural health and magick addition to the whole thing.  I think I can swing keeping enough romaine lettuce fresh enough to eat throughout the week for this to work, but I'm mostly focusing on fermented vegetables, hence their addition above.  It'll be hot but they should be fine in the cooler.  I've started purple sauerkraut, Campari tomatoes, cardamom ginger rhubarb, three types of cucumber pickles, a jar of dilly beans, a jar of beets, and a small jar of dandelion buds (our yard is basically 1/3 dandelions much to the dismay of our neighbors so I'll probably be able to make more of these).  Most of these are modifications of recipes found in Fermented Vegetables by the Shockeys, which I had the fortune to find new at the local Goodwill and which is basically my fermenting bible.  Oh, and it's not shown (kind of... the cast iron in the back is serving as a weight) but I'm also making kimchi.  I've made it before, but this time I have actual gochugaru!  Depending on how much cabbage I get out of this I think I'll make two jars, one with fish sauce or shrimp powder and another that's vegan. 

That reminds me... the mead didn't make it.  Huge mess.  It was my fault for not being patient enough.  I don't have time enough to make more for PSG but I'll certainly be doing it again, this time with a better understanding of how to test the alcohol.

Anyway, I've been known to occasionally put fermented veggies on my salads, so it could very well wind up being that I just make the same salads I normally do.  I may also wind up forgoing the fresh vegetables later in the week if they start going bad.  Although I'm not going to be there for very long, I had a really obnoxious time of this last time I was there so I'd rather be overprepared than underprepared.  Admittedly home fermented veggies are also a big social thing for me; they're something I love doing and make a great conversation starter.

Dinner I'll mostly be doing stick roasting I've decided.  For the past couple of weeks I've done this multiple times over our fire pit as a test, using very little wood and adding some mesquite chips for flavor.  Pork cooked this way is excellent.  My last attempt at beef roast the only problem was a weird residue it got, so I need to pay attention to what wood I use.  Pork is, by the way, a sacred meat due to one of my primary Gods, so it wouldn't bother me if I just ate pork the whole time.  I probably won't, but still.  I'll be storing this meat by vacuum sealing it in individual portions and freezing it solid so I don't wind up with spoiled meat by Thursday.  I'll also take ample canned salmon and herring and some smoked turkey just in case this plan falls through.

Stick roasting is easy.  I already have these nice, sturdy marshmallow/hot dog sticks that work just fine for cooking a beef roast or pork steak over a fire, as the prongs are wide apart and can skewer them perfectly that way.  I have a sort of pocket knife eating utensil (with a knife, spoon, and fork attachment) that I can use if I don't feel like eating with my hands (which, to be honest, is what I usually do).

I also want to cook in my cauldron, so I'll take some stew meat and ground meat to make stew and chili in it.  I haven't practiced this yet and intend to try tomorrow.

There will be food vendors there (there was one that I wound up eating at every day that has great natural foods including paleo-enough options which I hope is still there this year), so if all else fails I'll still at least be fed.

So for tomorrow my task is to try cooking a stew in my cauldron and also set up my tent.  I may or may not write about this depending on what an experience it is.

Oh, and on a somewhat different note, I was trying to buy plastic sleeves for my metal pentacle earrings, as I am very allergic to them but love them.  I accidentally bought plastic earring posts instead.  I didn't feel like returning them, so instead I made a whole bunch of gemstone earrings that I'm loving.  Some are beads (with the holes turned sideways to obscure them a bit), others are small tumbled gemstones, quite a few are small rough gemstones like emeralds.  They come off very feminine, but I like them anyway.  Ah yes, and I did wind up getting the sleeves I originally wanted, which hurt like a motherfucker at first (as they added to the width of the post) but once I got them on there and glued them  in place, I'm able to wear those too!

The blue blocking glasses are really setting in, so it's time for bed for me.

Happy Trails,
-- Setkheni-itw

Sunday, May 1, 2016

The Finished Mead Bottles

I bottled my mead by putting it in four green wine bottles, each with a cork put in.  I'm not super proud of the corking job I did, but to be fair it was also my first time doing it, and I did get them in.  Corking was, by the way, a complete puzzle once I saw how big the corks were compared to the size of the bottle neck.  I sincerely thought I got the wrong size corks, like there's no way.  To show this trickery I present the following photo:

Since I'm only doing a few bottles I have a plastic hand plunger corker.  It was complicated to learn to use it and it certainly didn't lead to cosmetic perfection, but it worked.  My original gallon carboy of mead resulted in a little under four full 750ml wine bottles of mead.

Here is the finished result.  Again, the corking is imperfect, and I'm a little worried about the ones with a lot of cork sticking out of the end, but as this is personal and not commercial mead I'm not going to worry a lot.