Grad School, Beer & Gardening

That was my weekend….

On Saturday, after a brief trip to the farmer’s market and a stop at the Home Brew Exchange, I spent the rest of the day paper writing. It was my second to last paper for my last official class of my Master’s program. The class is over this Friday. And then, a week long break (which I intend to use to make my house spooktacular), followed by 16 weeks of Capstone project. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yay!

Sunday was a busy day….I got up and started brewing. My goal was to make a winter beer – in the style of the winter warmers that are so popular. They’re malty and a little sweet, with some nice spice overtones. I used a little chocolate malt, some vanilla and then added cloves and nutmeg (in addition to several other ingredients). It was my first time making beer all by myself (the architect was on a bike ride), and I’m pretty excited to see how it will turn out!  I’m also hoping it keeps well, since my guess is I won’t be drinking tons of it once it’s ready (we’re bottling the first weekend in November, and it should be ready to drink about 4-6 weeks after that).


I had someone comment on facebook that they could see a bump, but I think that’s just because my shirt is sticking out due to the weird angle of my stance. I’m not that bumpy yet.

After getting the beer into the fermenter, I went outside to attend to some serious business. A couple of weeks ago, I cleared out garden bed #1 in preparation for its long winter’s nap. Yesterday, I went out to do the same to the largest bed – the 8×24 bed. The bed that was full of tomato plants that I’d been studiously ignoring for 3 weeks.

Guess that happens when you ignore tomatoes for 3 weeks? They rot on the vine. Such a waste. Remind me to never be in my first trimester of pregnancy during harvest season again. Because damn! I had no energy to do anything in September, and the first canning session was so exhausting that imagining the second one was daunting. So daunting in fact, that instead of canning the 5 million tomatoes that I’d planted on purpose so that I could have 5 million jars of tomato products in the basement, I let them rot. That just pisses me off. (At me, obviously.)

ANYWAYS – yesterday I went out to see if there were any at all salvageable. And there were a few. A very, very few. Not even enough to bother canning, though. I cleaned out the garden, removing all the pepper and tomato plants, cutting down some of the dying wildflower stalks, and basically leaving the garden bare (except for a tiny growing broccoli that I found and a really good-looking basil plant that had somehow thrived through neglect).

The architect took the last, tiny tomato bounty, sliced and seasoned them, and then dried them. Delicious.

Pre-drying, obviously.

Now I just need to plant some over-winter stuff (garlic, onions, whatever else strikes me), finish cover cropping, and lay down my straw. It’s unfortunate that my trees that drop leaves happen to be walnut trees, so I need to be careful in using those for compost (since tomatoes, eggplants, asparagus, lilacs, and tons of fruit trees are super sensitive to the juglone found in walnut leaves, hulls, and bark).  Composting for a few months removes the toxicity, but it’s not a good idea to directly apply to the garden. Bummer.

Anyways – hopefully by the end of the month the garden will be ready for winter. I am less confident about getting my rain garden in this year. In theory, it should only be one weekend of work. However, digging a 10×7 (ish) rain garden, putting in the intake & overflow paths, and planting it might not be a one weekend project for me anymore. For some reason, I find myself needing to scale back a bit and take more naps.

Happy week, everyone!

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