Saturday, October 10, 2009

October, really? (food and archaeology)

The wine making continues to go bad ly the latest batch is not too grapey, much, but it has a nice bitter metallic taste that ... well, perhaps the wine to have when you've already had more than one. Or maybe four.

I bought a $40 dehydrator (we will rush past the one I got on Ebay for $15, which worked when I got it and for about 5 minutes afterwards). I bought it because I envied Sarah's dried tomatoes. They taste like a jolt of a really good summer day. I made some, and they were good. The dried apple slices, I am telling you, are very very dangerous. They taste so good.Then you realize you have ate a) half a dehydrator's worth in one sitting (36 hrs depending on how thick you slice them -- I like them about 3/8" raw and dried to bone texture); b) all the fiber you will ever need; c) you need a bathroom. But they taste so good.

Then I made beef jerky. I used Alton Brown's recipe. I did not use the liquid smoke, and I halved the red pepper flakes. It was SUPERB. The next batch I used round steak (I think, something cheaper that looked unfatty) and off-brand Worcestershire sauce, and a large glug of vinegar, and it was pretty darned good. The worst problem s the smell of Worcestershire sauce (TM) makes me drool almost uncontrollably. Jerky tastes really good with dehydrated tomatoes, which is why I have none left. It is not a way to cut down on your sodium. It probably isn't very cheap, unless you were eating a good deal of the packaged stuff (and the homemade has fewer nitrates and you have some idea where the meat has been).

It's delicious. People at Octoberfest ate it up. really.

(What a clever segue to archaeology!)

Octoberfest is a five-day weekend at the beginning of October when, for the past seven years, we have gone to the Potter site and dug up stuff. Last year we mostly dug dry holes (50 x 50 cm shovel test pits), trying to find limits of the site. It was still better than real life, but kind of boring. This year we dug more on the blocks (meter or more rectangles, trowelled in 5 cm. levels over a 50 cm quad) we started this summer. I found hardly anything. This was okay for a couple of reasons. Most saliently, I actually dug for perhaps 20 minutes, all told. I did a great deal of to-ing and fro-ing getting people's names on their timesheets and taking pictures of stuff. It was a good year for stuff. Since I found a fluted almost-finished point last July I am feeling less like I have to find EVERYTHING, and watching the Quebeccoise girl find a point base was pretty soul-satisfying. Pictures are up on Facebook of some of the people.

It was cold. Not really really cold, like the year some of us set fire to our gloves trying to warm our hands over a Coleman lantern, but at times brisk. It was not often sunny. I would have been warmer had I had the brain cells to dig deeper into my duffle bag, but I was fine. The Octoberfest hoodies were one of Dick's best inspirations ever. We were warm (as long as we didn't get too wet) and we looked really scary.

So it's October? (Personal junk)

Okay, I'll try to do better. It is possible unemployment is doing a job on my morale. In fact, it is. The Army sends me spam every morning. I don't think a 53-year old chick not in the best of shape is really their favorite, but perhaps I should take them up on it. They are in portsmouth, an hour and a half away. Monster alternates between sending me jobs for people with three years of banking experience (I have none) or a high school diploma and no police record (actually, I have neither of these either) in towns seventy miles away that will last for a month.

People I respect with actual fresh useful job experience in real fields are also having trouble and I feel bad about a) feeling bad and b)not having solid experience and qualifications (like the Army, perhaps?). And being fat, divorced, 53, and pointlessly verbal. And kinda bitter sometimes.

My health is pretty good, as is that of my family, my cats, and my friends. Except for cats, I wish I had more of all of these (one of the things that worries me about my mental health is that I DON'T want another kitten. This is like, mature. I don't trust it.).

Paul and his daughter are still my tenants. Paul still does not have any construction jobs and is holding things together with his referee gigs. His daughter is counting the days till she can move out, which will unfortunately include getting better jobs. Living with a teenager is somewhat softened by not being related to her. Human beings have a rough time navigating toward adulthood (just look at me). It can be tiring for those around them.