Living in a Fog

Fog or Smoke, fighting through the plague, Dragon’s Blood, and the danger of internet memes

It’s foggy out this morning and I don’t understand why. It hasn’t rained here for over a week and the ground is dry and hard. Where is the moisture coming from? Maybe it’s flowing off of the Sacramento River.

We often play a fun game her in Los Molinos called “fog or smoke?” There are hectares of walnut orchards surrounding our small town and the farmers are always setting fire to massive piles of felled trees and pruned limbs. The ensuing smoke will shroud the neighborhood, but it’s easily distinguishable from fog, primarily because of the smoke’s acrid smell. What I’m looking at this morning is assuredly fog.

Sober but Sick

My sober February was going well—my head was clearing and my body feeling stronger. But then I got clobbered by one of these awful cold/flu bugs going around and have felt like a raccoon/dog turd for the past week and a half. Ridiculous. In trying to stick to the idea of taking the month off of drinking I can’t even turn to my usual remedy: hot whiskey, lemon and honey. Trish tells me I am “turning my back on the medicine or our ancestors.” We both claim some Irish descent. I suppose on the bright side, between the lack of beers and the nausea brought on by the flu/cold I’ve lost a little weight, though I’m looking forward to putting it back on once March rolls around.

Dragon’s Blood

Right now is basically the off-season when it comes to winemaking. There is no ripe fruit out there of a quality worth brewing. So, for the first time I am going to try making a recipe I’ve read a lot of great things about. This comes from a man now legendary in the home winemaking community. His name is Danger Dave. Danger Dave developed the recipe for an easy and fast brewing wine he calls “Dragon’s Blood.” It is comprised of a handful of inexpensive ingredients including lemon juice, a few bags of frozen berries, and sugar. Yesterday I bought the ingredients to make a six gallon batch and they amounted to around twenty bucks. Granted you need a little bit of wine making equipment, but all in all, if this recipe works out as nicely as I’ve read it should, this could become our household staple wine, at least for a few more years until the fruit orchards we have established become more mature. Once you’ve absorbed the cost of the plastic vat and the glass carboys, we’re talking a drinkable wine for around seventy cents a bottle. Allegedly it is ready to drink very quickly as well—no two year aging period, we’re talking about popping a bottle in four to six weeks.

A Word About Internet Memes

A lot of misinformation gets passed around in the form of internet memes. The latest victim of character assassination through internet meme is the man people seem to love to hate, Mr. Kanye West. People are free to make up their own minds regarding West’s personality and talent, but if you are making your assumptions based on what you’re reading in a cherry-picked, pulled out of context, one or two sentence caption, I’m afraid you might be doing it wrong. It’s harmless enough to use memes to characterize an entertainer, but what about when we draw our knowledge regarding complex political issues or medical problems based on groovy graphics and a handful of selected words?

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.