Four Countries, Two Days

Hi all!

Sorry for my absence! I have been away for the past few days and I am now going away again. Crossing four countries in two days. It sounds way better than it actually is! I left Ireland towards the UK. After that, I took the boat and needed to cross the beautiful country of Wales until I arrived in England. Now, I am just a couple of hours away from flying to Brazil.

It’s quite tiring, but I am not complaining! Just posted this quickly to let you guys know I am still alive and will post some new stuff very soon!

Backyard Wild Yeast Plum Mead – Part I

THis post contains 3 photos. Click to enlarge them.

This is a bit of a risky kind of brew, but I will give it a go anyway.

Some fruits come with a natural coat of wild yeast on their skin. This can be beneficial to your brew, but dangerous, because wild yeast can infect your brew.

The way this mead was done was:

  1. Pick the healthier plums from your tree. In this case, I picked them from my own backyard;

  1. See the white coating? This is the wild yeast on the fruit. The aim of this brew is to use that yeast and that alone to kick start the fermentation. This mead is expected to be low in alcohol, so that the fermentation is quick and it gives less times for any infection to develop;

  1. After a quick rinse, the plums are deseeded and quickly hand pulped. This would make homebrewers cringe, but I did sanitize my hands well! Well, back in the day, wine juice was extracted by stepping on grapes, so why not use my hands? Then soak them on a solution of water, honey, lime and lime zest, which was boiled for one hour. Dump the boiling water onto the plums and close the fermenting bin. That’s it. Give it a bit of a mix for the next two days and leave it. A bit of natural selection, after the boiling water in dumped, only the strongest yeast will survive!

Ingredients

  1. 2.5kg of deseeded plums;
  2. 2.5kg of honey;
  3. 13L of water;
  4. Juice and zest of 2 limes;

Updates will follow.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray (II)

According to the Oxford Dictionary:

Fray: [NO OBJECT] (Of a fabric, rope, or cord) unravel or become worn at the edge, typically through constant rubbing: “cheap fabric soon frays”

Let’s pretend I only understood the part: “become worn through constant rubbing”. Well, maybe that’s what the challenge is about: Finding what it means to you.

In 2009, I went to Poland, where I visited Auschwitz, but I think I have written enough about it. While in Poland, I also visited the Wieliczka Salt Mine.

Taking my interpretation of the word, I see these salt mines as something beautiful, but finite. The constant contact of visitors will, eventually, erode the beautiful art works there sculpted. I love the place, but maybe from the work that disappears, a new blank canvas will be left for another to be made.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fray

Published as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge. This post contains 4 photos.

“How many more barbed wire fences,

Confined enclosures,

And molten personal belongings will it take,

Until we give life and peace a chance to bloom?”

“How many hands have been hurt in wires and brick walls for a chance of a better life? Humans… the only race that is unable to learn from their mistakes.”

Kutna Hora, Czech Republic

Kutna what?? Where is that? Well, it very close to Prague and a perfect place for a day trip if you get bored with the beauty of the capital!

Back in the 15th and 16th century, Kutna Hora was the largest producer of silver in Czech Republic. Due to this massive wealth, it became Prague’s main competitor is every aspect: Trade, culture, politics. As part of the main trading route from Northern Europe to Turkey, it enjoyed a cosmopolitan feel until the silver ran out. It went though a steady decline for centuries, but now it feeds on tourism, through its attraction, the main one being the Sedlec Ossuary.



The Sedlec Ossuary is a sinister type of place. Just like the Catacombs of Paris, was created due to the over crowed cemetery in the town. Unlike the catacombs, the Ossuary is somewhat more sinister. A few years ago, an artist was invited to use the bones and decorate the chapel above. The decorations are incredible, but I have mixed feeling about it. There is a beautiful coats of arms of the town made of bones, but it’s weird to think about what they once were!

It’s worth a visit, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea!


Other Czech Republic Related Posts

Post about Prague
Post about Litomerice

Weekly Photo Challenge: Texture (III)

Published as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge

I promise this is the last one. This photo challenge is not allowing me to stop thinking! Every photo I have, there is a different texture. Salty walls in a salt mine, honey, fruit, yeasty surfaces, bees… just looking out the window and watching the moon at its perigee (“supermoon or whatever”) on a very clear night, even the surface of the moon… I wish I could feel it. So while I can’t feel the texture of the surface of the moon, here is a photo of the beautiful islamic decorative patterns at the Alhambra, in Granada, Spain.

Picking Wild Fruits: R-E-S-P-E-C-T

This post contains 5 photos.

Picking wild fruit is such a great thing to do. Just walking about the place and knowing that you don’t really need to buy everything you eat is just great! Well, at least I think it is!

Fortunately, I am just a short walk from my University, which offers a few of these wild treasures, but students and bypassers sometimes don’t respect this and abuse the privilege a little bit.

I decided to write this post because what I thought was common sense really is not.

So, before going picking some wild fruit, take some time to think….

  1. Why are you picking them?

What do you plan to do with them? It’s great to be able to go and pick as many as we can possibly fit in our backpack, right? Well, if this is how much you need to do whatever you are planning, good! But take the time to think how long they last for and if you are going to be able to use it all before it goes off. Wasting is bad and you will most likely throw it away in the bin, where it won’t get used up by nature. So, if you can’t use it, better let it fall on the ground and fertilize the tree to keep it alive for years to come.

  1. Pick only the ones that are ripe

Fruits are not hard to pick. If they are ready to be picked, they will just come off the branches with no effort whatsoever. Fruits don’t become ripe at the same time. If you pull it a little bit and they don’t come off, move on! They are not ready to be picked. Come back in a couple of weeks or so and they might be there waiting for you!

  1. If you can’t reach it, don’t pick it

Depending on what you pick, the branches can be full of thorns and can hurt you. We are humans and are extremely whinny. Anything that hurts us, we just complain. So, if you can’t reach the fruit, just leave it alone! Trying to reach can hurt you and, just as important, can hurt the trees on the way.

Photo below credit to @Symphlythebest.

  1. Pulling branches to pick fruits

This is related to the topic above. if you can’t reach the fruit, just leave it there. Get a ladder if it is too high, try a different path to try and get it, if you can’t reach it horizontally. Pulling branches can break them and that’s another branch that will never bear fruits again.

  1. Respect the Wildlife

Maybe near the trees, you will see some birds that won’t go away, even if you come really close to them, hissing geese and swans, bees etc, they are not doing these things for no reason! They are doing it because you are imposing into their territory, they have nests etc and would like you to stay away. Try invade their privacy… you will get a geese ass-whopping!

Volucella Pellucens

  1. Keep an eye out for scumbags

Yeah, scumbags! I said it! When going for a walk, a run or whatever, keep an eye out for people doing harm to plants or local wildlife. Sometimes an angry look does the job to make them aware that they are doing something wrong! Sometimes not, but ah well, we all have different approaches (Maybe I also think that geese are a bit scummy? They love hissing at me at any time for the year… so….).


Well, I think I said my peace! Respect nature and you will be rewarded! Given my container, you can guess what I will use my berries for!