Cosmic Balance

The wine-making seems to be going well. Yesterday I racked my first batch of mead. Racking is a fancy, wine-making term for siphoning. Basically I siphoned the original wine that was fermenting in a plastic bucket into two separate glass gallon containers, and then fitted the gallon jugs with these weird air-lock things. During the primary fermentation the yeast is making alcohol so fast, and creating so much carbon dioxide, that you don’t have to worry about oxygen spoiling the finished product—but as the fermentation starts to slow down, moving the wine into air-locked containers keeps it from spoiling.

Anyway, right now I have the aforementioned batch of mead, a three gallon bucket of plum wine, and a single gallon of flower petal wine. I don’t know how that will taste, but it is a beautiful red color.

My life seems to be in perfect balance—whenever anything goes well for me, you can bet that something else will go tragically awry. In this case the counterpoint to my relatively successful foray into wine-making is my chaotic and potentially hazardous work as an amateur mechanic. I have been working on both my Toyota pick-up truck and the old 1953 Ford tractor. I completely botched a bearing job on the Toyota, and the tractor was running before I started working on it, now it is not. This is par for the course, maybe even better than my usual “success” rate.

I suppose it will all work itself out, but for now Trish is not allowed to drive the Toyota, and when I drive it I grip the steering wheel and hold my breath, focused on the reality that the passenger side front wheel could fly off at any moment and send me into an end-over-end flip—not to mention the potential “collateral damage.” Whenever I’m driving in populated areas I find myself involuntarily screaming at bicyclists and pedestrians to “GET THE HELL DOWN!” while I grit my teeth and wave my arms like a chicken trying desperately and against all odds to fly. They look at me like I’m crazy, but I’m only trying to SAVE THEIR FUCKING LIVES!!! On the other hand, if she can figure out how to get it started, Trish is more than welcome to drive the tractor. There is a lot of dry grass out there on the farm that does not seem to be much interested in cutting itself.

Letterman just ended and Craig Ferguson is on the screen now—it must be very late. Time, dates, even the day, month and year escape me oftentimes. My head is heavy and getting heavier. Tonight it feels like a lump of concrete.

Anyway, I’ve got a yeast culture starting to foment, and I just rubbed jalapeño juice in my left eye. Balance, symmetry, cosmic circles drawing to their natural conclusion; maybe Neil DeGrasse Tyson will do an upcoming Cosmos program about my weird, painful, perfectly balanced life. I could use the money.

Bob Howard has been living, working, and writing in Northern Califonria since he moved to Chico in early 2000. In January 2011, he and his wife Trish relocated to Los Molinos, 30 minutes north of Chico, where they are the proud proprietors of the Double Happiness Farm. There they grow organic food, ornamental plants and trees, and generally work to enjoy the beauty of this great region.