Shrubs for #fijchallenge #3

March’s challenge was either jelly or shrubs. Since I’m not a huge fan of jelly and have made them before, but never quite used them well with the exception of pepper jelly, we went for shrubs. We had suspicions about the usability of this one so other then buying Bragg’s unfiltered apple cider vinegar, went for things we had and stayed with 2 small batches. Thanks to some frozen blueberries, fresh mint, plenty of ginger for kombucha making and a handful of mandarin oranges, we landed with blueberry ginger and mandarin mint. IMG_20170306_134055837

My pictures didn’t turn out too well, essentially the process is 1:1:1 parts vinegar, fruit and sugar with the mint/ginger added in. We macerated the fruit, combined it with the sugar and a bit of the vinegar and then left it in quart jars for a couple days. Then strained and added the balance of the vinegar. They turned out gorgeous colors.

So far we’ve experimented with blueberry ginger rum drinks (local spiced rum), which were fine, but not my new favorite thing. I am however, enjoying blueberry ginger with soda water as a nice fill in when I’d really like something different than water to drink and it’s too late for coffee or would like something a little sweet at night, but want to bypass dessert.

In the end, not sure these will land in the regular rotation, but they were a fun and very easy experiment.

an apartment list

I haven’t been writing much lately. Or I’ve been writing a bit, but it’s mostly been resume adaptations and emails. Not really of the’ inspiring, share online and consider anyone else might be minorly interested’ type of writing.

What should follow after that statement is some thoughtful piece on Lent or inspiration from the communities I’m beginning to learn from befriending refugees in Portland or a story about how I spent the morning hanging out with women from 6 countries practicing describing ourselves in English. But, alas, the words just haven’t been quite working lately so instead you’re getting a list. Another musing of observations on apartment living.

  • We can hear snippets of at least 3 languages through our walls. Enthusiastic Spanish that carries surprisingly well through the floor from the neighbors below, English and a yet as undetermined language the top guess for at the moment is Korean.
  • Parking is at a premium, but we have an immense advantage since at least one of our cars is almost always in the lot during the day, we can claim one of the few covered spots. Very seldom have we had to park in the almost parking lot, gravel sloping, sometimes river I’m calling the back 40. Every once in a while we park far away to make us feel a bit better about the unfair advantage.
  • Things I miss about not sharing walls:
    • The yard. I miss being able to spend a couple hours doing yard work in my own space.
    • The garden. This marks the 3rd year I haven’t planned and put in a full garden. I miss it. Anyone want help establishing a garden? J
    • Garage parking. It’s nice to start up a non-cold car and not be drenched when hoping in.
    • This is something I never thought about before and is absolutely a major privilege, but that hand wash setting on the washer was sure nice and having a dishwasher that didn’t even require a prewash was pretty luxurious.
  • Local coffee. The little town we were in had 3 coffee roasters and 4 local coffee shops, plus a Starbucks and all the usual drive throughs. Now we have Starbucks. Several Starbucks, most with awkward space for working and I’m no longer much of a fan of their coffee. On the plus side, we bought a little coffee maker and have been making mostly our own, which is a definite cost saving mechanism.

And on that note, I’m going to decide it’s officially the weekend. Here’s to hoping the sunshine continues and that this little foray back into writing will make diving into something more inspiring an easier next step!