In these last months, I’ve been experiencing a lot of growth. I’m healing from extremely personal and painful series of events, beginning a bilingual life (which I will post about soon, promise), and, probably most importantly and most exciting for me, rediscovering my artistic side.
I’ve always like to draw, but this creative side I pretty much let lay dormant while pursuing the Ph.D. However, I have decided that part of growth, of increased focus on things that I love, of personal satisfaction as well, includes a return to art. This is not to say that I am not multitasking, because indeed, I believe I now need an outlet like this to dissuade the impending stress associated with writing my dissertation. I let academic life slowly and almost completely obliterate my personal life during these past 10 years, I was so intensely immersed in it. My obsession, and the guilt associated with never feeling “good enough,” resulted in fractured relationships, a loss of personal centering, and an absence of other forms of creativity in my life. I have decided that it’s simply not worth it to become a shell of myself for the sake of “the project.” Of course, my academic life is very important to me, but I refuse to let it take me completely. Thus, an active return to art as a form of growth.
Exploring art is not my only path to growth, however. I just completed my first fermentation experiment, making mead with honey, yeast, and water. I’m only 1 week into the fermentation process, but I’m already really excited about the results. I got the recipe from an acquaintance’s website:
I suggest everyone try this. The mead grows, and so do you as you learn what it’s like to create your own alcoholic beverage.
It’s so easy, I want to share my version of the recipe here:
- 5 liters distilled water in plastic bottle
- Approximately 1.3 kg of honey
- 2.5 tablespoons of yeast
- 1 blanket or old t shirt
- 1 needle
- Place the honey in in the midday sun for about 45 minutes, so that it softens.
2. Pour the water in the bottle into a pot for later. Pour the heated honey into the empty bottle a little at a time. Make sure to enjoy tasting the honey while doing this part of the process.
3. Pour half of the water back into the bottle. Now we aerate by capping the bottle and shaking it really hard for at least five minutes. The honey should then dissolve and the mixture should be cloudy, making the “must.” It’s also a great arm workout. (Trust me, I ended up sweating.)
4. Once the honey is dissolved, pour more water back into the bottle, leaving a fair amount of headroom so that it doesn’t explode. Trust me, you don’t want that mess to clean up. Now, shake it up a little bit again, and….
5. add the yeast. Put the dry yeast directly into the must. Cap it again and shake it up well. (More arm exercise).
6. Now, it’s very important to have some ventilation so that your bottle does not explode from all the pressure built up by the yeast. The original recipe suggested covering the top of the open bottle with a balloon with a needle puncture, but I found that the balloon kept breaking, so I decided to puncture the cap of the bottle itself with a nail, creating several small ventilation punctures. This seems to be working well, but obviously you can try either method.
7. Finally, put your mead into a dark, warmish place that is unlikely to be disturbed and cover it with an old t shirt, or, if it’s in an enclose space, this isn’t necessary, just another method for keeping the light exposure down.
In 7-10 days, the fermentation process will slow down.
The yeast need, at minimum, 3 weeks to work their magic. Leave the mead alone, periodically checking to see that nothing has gone awry, and then after 3 weeks you can freely enjoy your mead!
If you want to ferment it again to make the mead stronger (and clearer), bottle it after the initial 3 week period and leave it for several months.
More about “growth” and my ventures into art in the coming weeks…