Beer and a bicycle

Sorry for being so silent lately… I know how you live for these updates… That being said, I shall endeavor to make this the longest blog post yet! …Or at least close to…

It seems that everybody around here knows about the whole Caroline belly parasite thing… Even the waitresses at my old office/corner cafe whom I hadn’t spoken to in months! Small towns, man… small towns…

When we unveiled the news of the little gremlin, we decided to be slightly creative when breaking the news to our respective folks.
My plans were thus:
I just walked up to my mother with the ‘#1 grandma’ mug I got her for her birthday almost a decade ago filled with nothing but the promise of grandmotherhood… and a weird look on my face, I’m told. It took her a bit but she got the message.

Caroline, the gluten intolerant, on the other hand, had a better plan. One day we went over to her dad’s place for tea or something similar. After the ritual greetings were done she went over to her bag, and from it’s depth pulled one single solitary bread bun. With this bunch of gluten she proceeded to the oven, saying that she would keep this bun in the oven for oh, say, 9 months or so. I think her dad took a little while longer.

After all the hugs and other uncomfortably intimate things we eventually had tea or something similar.

‘Twas fun.

unnamed

Obligatory preggo-photo

So yeah… Caroline’s preggerz. We’re slowly, slowly planning all the baby things that are to come. Thinking about the place we stay and the copious amounts of alcohol that pass through said place on a regular basis. Not that that’s a problem… I may just need to get an ‘offsite consumption license’…. if you know what I mean.
We’re getting a whole bunch of baby stuff on loan from some very generous folks, so that’s nice.
Ironically enough, with Caroline getting her motherly, nurtury moods before we knew about anything, we got little Badger a few days before the stork dropped us a mail. I get the feeling we’re going to have fun entertaining a young Border Collie while getting acquainted with baby Butt-Face.

On that note… pup’s growing up! He has realised what pointing means (finally), which means we can lazily stand on the deck while pointing to his various toys, demanding that he brings them hither! Ve-ry useful.
He’s also been losing bloody teeth all over the place, and his indoor pooping scoreboard has been suffering, too! Yay!
He’s now about 3 times the size he was when we tore him away from his brothers (one of which lives next door), with real dog teeth painfully filling in and claws like tiny daggers! Best of all though, I have a new form of transport!

This morning’s usual bout of tiring, was done on my bicycle. Being a good pet owner, I’ve been trying to teaching Badger proper leash behavior and walking distance and what not. So I took him out on my bike – leash in one hand, young border collie dynamo attached to the end of it. It was frikkin’ awesome!
Since then I’ve found out that dryland dog sledding is an actual thing in the Cape, and that Border Collies are often used. I’m going to teach Badger how to be a sled dog… or rather, a bicycle dog!

That oughta tucker out the little bugger.

I have recently brewed my first home batch of ‘real’ beer! What I mean by that is that I’ve recently brewed a small batch of beer from scratch. Milling my own malt and all.
What I was doing before was kit brewing. So, I’d buy a kind of syrup that’s made by dehydrating the wort (the unfermented beer). I pretty much chuck that in a (sterile) bucket with some malt extract (dried malty goodness) and do a couple other things that are relatively insignificant. It takes about an hour, tops, to get things going.

unnamed (1)‘Real’ brewing takes a lot longer to do. About 6 hours is normal. You start off by milling your malted barley into not-too-small bits.

The point of milling is to break up the grains, getting them out of their husks and into a state that allows maximum liquid contact – without them being too small to be unmanageable. The milled malt is then soaked IMG_20160626_122456in a bag in hot water
for at least an hour to give the enzymes in the malt’s husk some chance to convert the malt’s starches into fermentable sugars! Now take out the bag of malt… Once that’s done, the sparge (hot water post-soak) is boiled, again, for at least an hour. haW4CYCQDH6o10xOWhile the sparge is boiling, hops are added at very set intervals. The hops add bitter to the beer, impart flavour and aroma, and make you better than those malt-only peasant brewers. Very basically, the longer the hops are boiled for, the more bitter comes out. The less it’s boiled, the more flavour/aroma is kept. There are hops grown specifically for bittering, some for flavouring, and some for both. Neat!

My batch has been in bottles for just under a week now, so it’s almost done and hopefully not awful! At any rate, it smells good.

Other things that have happened recently: I’ve been doing some learning about comic illustrations and gestural drawing. Two things I’ve always sucked at, which I now no longer suck at quite so much!Chew Toy2June_2Doodling4June_3I also got a new second hand fancy shmanshy mountain bike. The old, buggered up one was going to cost too much to fix, so I got a new one instead! It has hydraulic brakes which , through no fault of my own, got voided of all fluid the day after I got it. It’s okay though, because we took it back and after an extremely large amount of profuse apologizing on the part of the salesman, it got sorted.
Okay, okay… So, having never owned a bike with hydraulics, I didn’t even consider that it had ’em. I went to tinkering thinking that anything I loosen, I could just tighten again afterwards. I was wrong. Wrong wrong wrong.

Anyway, I think I’ve caught you up on all the recent things that aren’t horrendously boring… And I’ve written a post that’s no shorter than one thousand and sixty seven one words long! Well done me!

Ok, bye now.

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