Plus One Beer, Minus One Chicken

Life’s about balance, right?  Yesterday I got to bring the beer I’d brought to life a little over a month ago.  I was so excited to taste it that I forgot to refrigerate it, something I only noticed halfway through.  But the opening of the flip-top bottle was the exciting part.  Hey kids!  Let’s learn about physics!  When you have yeast bacteria in a sealed vessel eating sugars and converting to carbon dioxide, the CO2 will build up in any compressible space.  Hey!  What’s the compressible space in a glass bottle?  It’s not the beer, and the glass won’t expand, so that leaves the air.  If you don’t fill up your bottle all the way with beer, the air space will become pressurized as the yeast does its dirty sinful business.  Hey, here’s a neat thing!  If you have more air space you’ll have more pressurization!  So if you’re Uncle F#*k-Up and only fill the bottle 3/4 full instead of 7/8 full, when you start to open the metal and ceramic flip top, it will blast off the bottle with a hearty champagne-like pop, brushing past your bangs at 60 mph and cracking into the ceiling.  Had you been leaning a fraction of a degree further over the bottle you’d be trying to type your blog wearing an eyepatch!

Alright, enough self-lashing, how was the beer?  Well…beery!  It was a tiny bit watery, though that probably was a trick of the eye, since the beer was dark but didn’t have a very intense dark flavor.  Well, it’s wheat beer so it was smooth and not overly hoppy and the smokiness came through.  Overall a good basic wheat beer with a smoky flavor and much darker color than I think the flavor deserves.  Plenty of foamy head and little aftertaste.  I like this beer, it’s much more drinkable than the color belies.  I might use less wheat next time and more 2-row barley.  I don’t really know what I’m talking about but it’s fun to talk like a brewer.  Here’s to the first of many batches of home brew!

Smoked wheat in glass


[soft piano music] Now we come to the segment of the blog where we discuss the endless gyre of life and death, the water wheel that emerges fresh and cold on the upswing, empties itself, and finally descends into the dark water only to emerge again.  Our chicken, Claire, died last night.  She was never quite right, often spending an hour at a time standing motionless with her head stuck in a bush.  CH did a valiant job yesterday doing palliative hospice care, lifting Claire gently into a wheelbarrow and settling her into a nest of hay, with water and fresh greens around her.  Sadly Claire died in the night, giving the small chicken coop a grisly air when I opened it this morning and the 3 living chickens came tumbling out, clucking with relief.  To her credit, CH was realistic about the whole affair.  She was sad that not more people got to meet Claire, but agreed she’d lived a good life.  “Now we’ll have to get another chicken.  Too bad for Claire!”  So it goes.  An interesting postscript on this scene, CH wanted to see Claire, wanted to know how she looked when she’d died.  “I’m interested in seeing dead animals,” she says over her bowl of cereal.  This said not with Wednesday Addams gothiness but simple curiosity.  What’s death look like?  How does a body change when the life energy has fled?  Are the eyes open or closed?  Do the feathers, ones you’ve grown used to bristling and shivering when you brush, now lie flat?  These are the things a six-year old wants to know about death and isn’t afraid to ask.

Ducky and Claire

Writer, architect, father, husband.

Posted in Gardening, Parenting Tagged with: , , , , , , , ,

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