Work on the garden has ceased, simply because it is a big pile of mud home to 6ft weeds. Problems between the developers who built our house and the commune where our house is have meant that we can’t finish the outside space. Apparently, this will be resolved at some point, but when and what that will actually mean isn’t so clear.
For a long time that has made me pretty down about the whole situation. My dream garden feels so tantalizingly close, but still, I have to wait a little longer. And I’m not good at waiting. I neglected this blog, I neglected my houseplants, and the whole stress of the situation (which isn’t just a problem with the garden but a much wider house/life issue) just got me down.
So I did what I do at times like this… listened to Radio 4. Now, it’s not for everyone, but I was raised on a gentle diet of Radio 4, the spoken word station from the BBC. It was on in the background at every major and mundane moment of my childhood, like a demented Great Aunt wittering away by the fridge. Anyway, I digress. As part of my pick-me-up, I tuned into an episode of the Food Programme, and listened into a chap called Sandle Ellis Cat or something like that natter about fermentation.
After a couple of minutes, I was enthralled. By seven minutes in I had found out he was in fact called Sandor Ellix Katz, and before the show had finished I had purchased all his books…
Katz is an excellent author, and I’ve been consuming his every word since the books turned up earlier in the month. In The Art of Fermentation Katz talks about simple meads flavoured with herbs, something he also touches on in The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved.
So, when left with a stockpile of plums from a garden adventure with my niece, I knew what to do. I hot footed it to the local honesty shop – more on that in the future – and bought some locally sourced honey. Using a recipe of 1 part honey to 4 parts water (or thereabouts), I made up a mead solution (note, I used boiling water which I had left to cool). I then threw some plums into one of my IKEA-hacked fermentation vessels, and then waited.
We are four days in and the mixture looks favourable. The golden colour of the mead solution is slowly turning pink as the colour leaches from the plums. And it is bubbling away happily, bobbling the airlock intermittent.
And the renewed vigour of this concoction seems to have lifted the spirits and the energy levels. No promises, but I’ll try to keep bubbling away on new blog posts in the coming days.