Raspberry Jalapeno Wheat Beer: Throwback Sunday?

Chris is currently working on what I think will turn out to be magic in beer form: a raspberry jalapeno wheat beer.

He brewed it up last Sunday and just racked it out into the secondary fermenter yesterday, poured over four pounds of raspberries and I don’t know how many jalapenos. I’ll let him wax poetic about the process (we actually blew the lid off the primary fermenter with our first use of a yeast starter, and Chris created a flash fire and had a minor boil over – BREWING BEER IS SO EXCITING) and the end product.

In the meantime, here’s what my boys were up to last weekend. Chris brewing away:
20140420. Brewing on Easter.

20140420. Brewing on Easter.

Willem discovering the mirror on his play mat:
20140420. Willem.

20140420. Willem.

I sure do like those two. And here they are today. We have a clean baby, family in town, a Discovery show on TV, sunshine, fresh coffee, and a good day ahead of us. Happy Sunday!
20140427. The boys.

(P.S. We also discovered this past week that our baby is still a giant. He’s in the 95th percentile or above for height, weight, and head circumference. At 9 weeks, he’s 15 lbs., 4 oz. Go breast milk!).

The Weekend Is My FAVORITE…

First and foremost, let’s pause for a moment of silence in recognition of Birdie’s current state. Poor girl got a hot spot on her back and, within three days, has chewed it raw. Thus… THE CONE OF DOOM AND TERROR.

20130426. Birdie and her cone... My poor babe.

How in the HELL do you get a dog to not hate the vet?! I mean, really. Look at this indignity.

Ahem. Now that we’ve gotten past that, let’s talk about the weekend! I am so excited about the weekend and, true to form, have way, way, way too much stuff I want to do.

20130426. In addition to the weekend to do list here, we also have to HURRY UP AND RELAX.

The ones with the stars next to them are the things I REALLY, REALLY need to do this weekend. There are too many stars.

Tonight, we got a jump start on the bottling beer item on the to do list. Chris has gotten completely obsessed mildly interested in the fine art of homebrewing (I am not complaining, not really). A few weekends ago, we did our first full boil, and the brew is ready to go into bottles. Tomorrow morning, we’ll crack open the fermenting bucket and see if my worst fears have come true: the reality that we are, in fact, dirty slobs who can’t keep a bucket and various other tools clean for even, like, 30 minutes.

20130426. Prepping bottles for bottling.

We’ve been stocking up bottles.

If my worst fears HAVEN’T come true and our beer looks magical, we’ll learn all about bottling and capping beer. Wish us luck! Tonight, we removed labels and sanitized ’em in the dishwasher. Tomorrow, there will be beer a-flowin’.

20130426. We obviously have clear feelings about beer.

We are particular about our beer-y bevvies.

Last but certainly not least, even though the weekend is officially here now, I like to think it really started last night with the Indy Food Council’s organizing event. Maybe I’m a total dork to have been so jazzed about it, but it was inspiring to see so many people in one room, interested in looking for solutions to our (rampant) food-related problems. I got hugs from people I’d met only once before on farms and around town, recognized a lot of people, met even more for the first time, and felt generally warm and fuzzy and energized about the future in Indianapolis.

And! The 2013-2014 edition of the Indy Local Food Guide, which I helped on in a very small way, came out! So excited to see it.

As I talked with one girl, she said something I couldn’t agree with more: “It’s nice when things like this happen and you think, ‘Wow, Indianapolis really could be a progressive place to live.'” Can’t wait to see where this group goes, and I hope to be a part of it.

20130426. Indy Food Council and other reading materials for the weekend.

Yo, Dawg, I Heard You Liked Earth Day, So We Took Your Car and Gutted the Engine and Made It into a Lawn Ornament, Complete with Bird Bath and Composter…

When I started this blog post, I started at the end, writing, “Finally, and unrelated to everything else in this (not-yet-written) post, [blah blah blah song that’s been stuck in my head].” But then I thought, why not start with the end as the beginning? That’s apparently what’s REALLY on my mind, so who cares if it’s unrelated to anything else going on right now? Maybe it IS the most important thing at this very moment.

So, here goes… Unrelated to everything else, I’ve had this song stuck in my head for a while, and the video makes me want to move to Jamaica and hang out with just about every person featured in it for coffee or maybe something a little stronger, a dancing lesson, a bicycle ride, a game of cards, or a boxing match.

I know you, you know me
Baby, you know me
We’re all together in the same boat
I know you, you know me
Baby, you know me
I Just wanna dream

In other news, we had an awesome, whirlwind trip to Des Moines the past several days for a surprise birthday party for Chris’ mom. His mom deadpanned, “Oh, you’re here,” as she walked in and we all yelled the required, “SURPRISE!” She was, however, very pleased to see us (so she says), and we got to spend some good time with her, Chris’ dad, and the human menagerie of his family. It had been too long.

Oh, and if you saw the previous blog post, we did NOT come home with a five-foot metal chicken. If only we’d had the trailer hooked up… We did, however, make it to El Bait Shop (I just linked directly to the beer menu, because OH HOLY F*CKB*LLS, it was amazing!). As we were with family and it was 2 in the afternoon, I only got one beer (sadly, because I wanted to try about 15 of them). It was a winner, though: Green Flash Palate Wrecker IPA. I chose…. WISELY.

Before we left, we made what should probably turn out to be an amazing APFELWEIN. Yeah, not just APPLE WINE, but APFELWEIN, which is really fun to say in an Arnold Schwarzenegger-esque accent (and even more fun if you were saying it in such an accent after two glasses of aforementioned APFELWEIN, I’m guessing). I’m pretty stoked about our entrance into brewing and fermenting delicious things. This one required nothing more than a carboy, five gallons of cheapo ghetto apple juice, two pounds of dextrose, and some yeast. In six weeks or so, we should have an amazing, dry, crisp, carbonated bevvie to sip on and share.

20130419. Apfelwein.

TOTAL BABE. Also, all of this brewing stuff is really Chris’s awesome doing. Please continue being awesome. And thanks.

20130419. Apfelwein.

20130419. Apfelwein.

EDWORT APFELWEIN! (In an Arnold accent, please).

And now it sits, bubbling away gently in our basement.

Speaking of apples, our two apple sticks trees we planted last fall in the backyard, are sending out buds. Hooray! Someday, they will bloom more beautifully than our non-native (yet totally gorgeous) Japonica. Spring… it has sprung.
20130422. Japonica in bloom.

Honorary Titles: Best Stay-at-Home Whatever?

I’ve decided that, if given the opportunity, I really could be… THE GREATEST STAY-AT-HOME WHATEVER TO EVER STAY AT HOME. It’s unfortunate that work gets in the way of all my amazing activities, keeping me from actualizing my true potential to stay at home, being whatever, and making and doing all day long.

But it’s okay. The work part┬áprobably keeps me (sort of, mostly, kind of) sane.

Here’s my recent resume of what I’ve been making and doing lately, which I think clearly puts me at least in the running to be greatest stay-at-home whatever: We brewed our first batch of beer last Sunday, and now our front closet smells delectably of beer…

20130410. Our hall closet smells like beer.

To be fair, I was more the helper. Chris is the real brewmaster in training.

Ever since, I’ve been feeding the spent grains to both the chickens and to Birdie (in the form of these amazingly easy dog biscuits):

20130410. Birdie's spent grain biscuits - before and after.

I think she approves.

The sweet potatoes continue to grow:
20130410. Sweet potatoes continue to grow.

And the barley fodder tray has begun to green up. Soon, the chickens will be munching on delicious barley greens (and in a few weeks, they’ll have free rein over the yard again).
20130410. Growing barley for the chickens.

I was also terribly impressed with myself: I SUCCESSFULLY made Neufchatel cheese with dried rosemary and lavender from last year’s garden (and with the prompting and encouragement of a fellow blogger, Chris Kafer, whose blog is one of the few I make a point of checking in on regularly!). This turned out better than I could have hoped and is amazing on bagels.

20130410. Homemade Neufchatel with rosemary and lavender.

NEUF. CHA. TEL! NEUF. CHA. TEL!

So wouldn’t you agree? I would totally be the best stay-at-home whatever that stayed at home doing whatever. EVER.