The Joy of Home Winemaking

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
June 1998

Cooking for Hummingbirds, June 1

Dry Cow Housing, June 17

Title of the Month: Consuming People

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Cooking for Hummingbirds
Monday, June 1

Wiscon was a delight, as expected. Each year I am astounded that such a small group of people can put on such an interesting, constructive, but fun convention. The Gaudy party was a wild success—there was glitter all over the hotel and many people wore their hats, ties, deely-bobbers, etc., through the whole weekend. We've been asked to do it again next year! We raised over $300 for the Tiptree Award fund! Of course, the real auction raised a lot more, but we were pleased.

Sheri Tepper's Guest of Honor speech was a stunning piece on population control—very inspiring—and Ellen Kushner and Delia Sherman followed it up with something hard to describe, but very funny. And then there was Susanna Sturgis' production of "A Midsummer's Night Alternative". No one fell off stage. Even my niece enjoyed it. This year's Freddie Baer Tiptree t-shirt was even better than last year's. What an artist!

I didn't get to see many panel discussions, or readings because of squiring said niece around, but what I saw was very good, including the Cabaret that Barb and Jeanne ran. Fans are so talented.

Ah, so many friends, so little time—there's never enough time at Wiscon. I guess that's why we have to keep doing it!

Madison, Wisconsin is a great place. The hotel is near the State capitol, surely one of the most beautiful in the States. It is surrounded by gardens, and on Saturdays by a great farmers market. Streets radiate off into the rest of Madison, including State Street, which is sort of like the best of Telegraph Ave. (at the height of its wonderfulness), the Haight (ditto) and Ghiradelli Square mixed together. It's kept honest by the large student population, with many good, inexpensive restaurants, import stores, music stores, book stores, etc. No car traffic is allowed.

The drive back though the farmlands and limestone hills of Wisconsin was just what was needed after so much human sensory input. We saw an eagle, herons, buffalo, cranes and a zillion red-winged blackbirds.

Got back and found the publisher has printed another 5000 copies of the wine book.

On the other hand, I'm still vacuuming up glitter and will be for quite some time.

And there were a few details last week which got a little scary, but all's well now. Listen to children, even when they aren't talking much.

Today, I have learned not to cook for hummingbirds when suffering from a cold. You see, I got a little hummingbird feeder at the State Fair a while back, and finally came up with a small plastic pop bottle to complete it. But then I needed nectar. It's four parts water to one part sugar. Boil for a few minutes, cool, and load the feeder. Simple and cheap. I put the pan on the stove.

Then I dozed off.

Woke to clouds of foul smelling smoke just beginning to roll out of the kitchen. Took the pan off the stove, dumped it in the sink and ran water cautiously (who knows what might happen?). Shut off the kitchen, opened the windows, ran out gasping, opened the rest of the house and turned on the fans. It was awful.

The place smells like a cotton candy factory burned down. It's amazing how much smoke 1/2 cup of sugar can make.

So any hummingbirds that are still around after the storm Friday night are still not fed, and I'm not sure my favorite ancient pan will ever get clean again.

Don't go cooking for hummingbirds when you are sick, that's my advice.

Hope all is well out there! Take good care of yourselves—


Dry Cow Housing
Wednesday, June 17

We are having End O' Th' Fiscal Year here at the libraries, and my brain and my hands are sore from all the last minute inputting rush. Friday is the last of it, so hooray!

The garden is just now getting some warm weather. The cool spell we had let the plants get some good roots going (I hope) so things are looking pretty good. My scabiosas (yes, I know, there are medications for that sort of thing) that I grew from seed are doing some serious blooming for the first time, and the black columbines likewise. Even the scraggly "Sunset" clematis looks like it will finally bloom after three years thinking about it.

I planted the three huge planters (giant ex-built-in drawers from the house being re-habbed next door) and distributed them around, one with Flying Saucer morning glories to climb up the boring juniper, like last year with the dead canners, but better. Another has the basil crop, and the last one nicotiana and petunias. They were on sale and I went wild. Most of the seedlings I started made it with no problem, and are suddenly taking off.

Big excitement last week on the literary front. Wednesday I found out that my friend Laurie Winter had won the 1998 Rhysling Award in the long poem category for her "why goldfish shouldn't have power tools" published in Asimov's last year. It also won Readers' Favorite for that year.

Then the next day we found out that I won the 1997 Rhysling in the long poem category, for "Spotting UFOs While Canning Tomatoes". ( They were behind on doing the awards. Also, don't worry if you haven't heard of the Rhyslings—not many people have—it's a science fiction thing, sort of like the Nebula Awards.)

It has really been a kick having two people in our poetry group get the award, and two others nominated over the years! We've been swanning about quite cheerfully. There's no money involved, of course, but traditionally the winning poems get published in the Nebula Award yearly anthology with the 'real' writers. Which is very nice.

Oh yeah, the Dry Cow Housing. It's not waterproof barns, I learned today, as I was checking in some books from Hoards' Dairyman. It's what to do with the cows who have gone dry ( no, not that kind of dry, tsk) and are taking a rest before giving birth and coming into milk again. Why they can't hang out with the other cows I didn't find out, but I'm sure there's a perfectly good reason, such as laughing at the other cows whose udders are dragging, etc. Yup, that must be it.

Hoping all is well out there,


P.S. I wasn't surprised that Laurie won

Of Juice and Thrips and Ceiling Wax
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Copyright 1998 by Terry A. Garey.