Tastes can vary between us all

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Having the Fourth of July fall on a Friday made for a nice long weekend, but by Sunday I was ready to get back to more normal activities. I had to do more cooking with extra people around and I got really tired of doing dishes. My kitchen is still torn up from last winter and nothing has been done. The contractor we hired wanted to do the work on the house during the winter, but so much work had to be done, and the ground was frozen so we opted to wait.

And now we are waiting and waiting.

I have a large hard plastic industrial-sized sink to do the dishes in and it always seems to be filled with dirty pots and pans, even though we are using paper plates. I have no counter space so when I cook, I use the top of the freezer to prepare the food. It isn't convenient when someone needs to get something out of the freezer with my bowls and other cooking utensils and ingredients on top to the freezer.

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The really bad part is right now I have fruit that is ready to be taken care of. I have a cherry tree that is loaded this year and I am going to make jelly. My kitchen is so crowded, cramped and dark. A false wall was put up where the rest of the kitchen used to be. No breeze comes through the kitchen anymore and I don't look forward to processing the cherries.

Usually the birds eat all the cherries before I can pick them, but not this year. I was hoping the birds would eat the cherries so I wouldn't have to deal with them, but no such luck. They are delicious cherries so I can't allow them to go to waste. Besides the cherries, raspberries and wild black berries are ripening quickly with our warm humid days. My son, Timmy and I take bowls to the raspberry patch and pick our breakfast fresh each morning. They are so delicious. I keep telling myself that all the work with the fresh fruit will pay off this winter when I am really stuck in the house.

Besides processing fruit, I made elder flower wine last week with my friend Heidi. I picked the elder flowers on my farm and we mixed up the wine at Heidi's house. She added the yeast to the fermented flowers after it set three days. Heidi said the liquid from the flowers is the color of sunshine.

The elder flower wine won't be ready for six months after we bottle it.

We want to make raspberry wine next. We feel like alchemists mixing our potions from wild flowers and berries that we can get free for the picking. This is my first attempt at making wine. I hope it turns out OK. My brother Tim tried to make homemade beer one time. He must not have bottled the brew at the right time, as all the caps popped off and the bottles broke.

Fortunately the bottles were in the garage so the mess wasn't too bad to clean up.

When we lived in Ireland, our neighbors made homemade stout. Tom didn't like the taste of their homemade stout and he got sick every time he drank it. I, being a woman, wasn't expected to drink stout, but Tom was expected to drink the stout and he knew he would be considered rude if he didn't partake in the neighbor's new batch of homemade brew. Tom figured out how to drink the stout one night without actually drinking it. He would take a few sips of his stout and as the night wore on and the men were drinking away, he would switch his glass when someone would set their glass down. The person always seemed a bit perplexed when he would pick his glass up and the glass was fuller than he thought it should be. Tom would be holding their almost empty

glass and taking sips and smiling so the person would smile, and think he must be confused and then he would down Tom's full glass. Tom would do this switching of the glasses several times over the course of the night, but he said it saved his stomach from the rot gut he would have gotten if he had drunk the home brew.

Sheila Donnelly can be reached at 434-2233 or by e-mail at :mailto:newsroom@austindailyherald.com