Category Archives: small town USA

Failure to Froth – – –

Jack gets over the line again – – –

Many years ago when we were living in Scotland I made wine, mostly from things that grew around and about in the fields near our house. Raspberries, blackberries, apples, elderberries and elderflowers. Particularly raspberries, which grew in a sunken pasture at the foot of the lane; we would lift our terrier over the stone wall and remove his leash, clamber down, and pick for hours while he ran about making himself crazy pretending he owned the place.

A few months ago we decided to revive the activity and ordered a kit on-line. The delivery date kept going back and back so we canceled and bought from a local source—which turned out to be cheaper. Shop local, kids; we learned our lesson. When the stuff arrived, I recognized some of the doohickeys but found it hard to remember exactly how I’d done the process years ago.

We put together firethorn berries and black raspberries from our yard, along with various fruit juices plus sugar dissolved in hot water and added the yeast. Then we waited for the frothing to start – and waited, and waited. Nothing! Maybe the temperature in the house was too low, so we upped to 72 degrees and didn’t lower it at night. (Every night about 2 am Wendy throws off the covers and mutters something. I think it’s “I’m melting.”) Still nothing!!

I made a yeast starter with some of the juice, more water and sugar, and yeast and yeast nutrient. It started to bubble and then stopped.

I don’t remember ever in the old days having this problem, so I will be getting advice from my friend Beth in a few days. She regularly makes wine from grape juice and never has this problem; she even made the wine for her own wedding, which for a good Baptist girl is quite something.

Whenever I need to get advice about something that may be going wrong I usually consult Dr Google but she hasn’t been much help this time – lots of differing and confusing instructions.

Likely Dr Beth will have the answers and I’ll get that elusive primary fermentation frothing happily soon. It’s begun to feel personal, this failure to froth….

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Filed under between books, crafting, folklore and ethnography, home improvements, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch, what's on your bedside table

Leid on MacDuff – – –

Jack gets over the line again – wonders will never cease – – –

For some odd reason I’ve been using a lot more Scots words and phrases recently. I’ve no idea why!

It may be a residual effect from singing Scottish songs or maybe because some friends in Scotland have begun to promote the language in the mainstream media and demand more recognition by the Scottish Government.

There was an earlier attempt to champion the language by writers such as Mathew Fitt and Billy Kay, but more recently has seen the emergence of Steve Byrne and Iona Fyfe, who, in different ways have found new ways to encourage recognition and use of the language.

A few days ago I came in from liberating our chickens from their coop on a frosty morning and said to Wendy – “it’s fair snell oot there!”. So – ‘snell’ means very cold and ‘fair’ is a magnifying adjective. The translation would be ‘it’s very, very cold outside’. A friend who had stayed overnight then spoke about her reaction to cold weather and I described her as a ‘Cauldrife Biddie’. That would translate as ‘a woman who’s susceptible to cold temperatures’.

Our backyard is divided into two sections by a fence to try to keep the aforementioned chickens away from the house. Just recently I’ve started referring to the nearest section as the ‘inby’ and the furthest as the ‘ootby’. That’s a reference to Scottish crofts that had two small fields – one near the house and one further away. The croft itself would have two rooms – the front one called the ‘but’ and the back one called the ‘ben’. I sometimes say that I’m just going “ben the hoose”. The croft house would often be called a ‘but and ben’.

I should explain again or to newer readers –

Scots and English are both related languages based, like most European languages, on Greek and Latin. However English and Scots diverged centuries ago and Scots borrowed much grammar and vocabulary from France and Scandinavia. The easiest way to think of the relationship is to imagine Spanish and Portuguese or Danish and Swedish.

Lang may yer lum reek and keep ye frae that snell cauld wynd!

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Filed under between books, folklore and ethnography, humor, Life reflections, Scotland, small town USA, Uncategorized, VA, Wendy Welch