i wrote myself a veteran's day to-do list. originally i planned on mailing another norwegian-bound package to my friend frances, until i remembered the post offices were closed today. i made a quick jaunt to the dollar store to get some more kitchen trash bags and some scouring pads/sponges. it finally stopped raining so i took the motorcycle and went to the somerville home depot looking for a nice pot to transplant my community garden rosemary. after a lengthy search, i finally settled on a cheap plastic one. i figured it didn't have to look nice, just something to hold the plant until next spring when i replant it back in the garden. next i went to nearby k-mart where they had a garden department. i was hoping to find some better pots, but the department had been transformed into a staging area for christmas tree accouterments. i was also hoping to find a cheap bike rack but the only ones they had was the cantilevered kind that attaches to the seat post (they don't look very strong). i went to the sports authority a few stores down looking for the same thing, but they only had cantilevered racks as well. my final stop was a bit further up the highway at the wellington circle shopping plaza, to pet supplies plus to get some activated carbon for my aquariums.
back at home, i first raked the backyard of the leaves before assembling all my bicycles for a washing. the one that needed it the most was the bianchi i normally ride, with mud caked on the frame and the wheel rims smeared black with grease. i ran out of the green bike wash spray, but some hot water and a scouring pad is pretty much all i need anyway. later i rinsed off the bikes with the hose then dried them with a towel.
the front shifter cable of the magna needed replacing. it was frayed at one end and stretched so tightly from the previous repair attempt that the shifter didn't work anymore. it wasn't hard because i only had to replace the cable since the housing was still in good condition. the toughest part was just trying to release the nut clamped to the frayed cable. after hitting it with a few drops of triflow lube, i did manage to loosen the bolt. next i had to make some fine adjustments to the derailleur screws because it wasn't able to engage the largest cog. the front shifter is a little weird though; it stops in several locations when it should only stop at 3. not sure what the reason is but i'm not too worried about it, everything works now (more or less).
i wanted to take the magna for a test ride but didn't have time because it was almost sunset. instead i moved the bikes back into the basement (parking my bianchi outside) and brought in all my tools.
it was time to make my 4th and last batch of quince jelly, but first i had to sanitize the canning jars through the dishwasher, which takes about an hour. while the jars were going through the final half hour of air drying, i started boiling the quince juice. it didn't look like a lot this time but i ended up getting another 10 cups of fluid. to that i added 10 cups of sugar, slowly stirred in.
i boiled the liquid at medium-high heat, occasionally dialing it to high heat just to evaporate the water a little faster. the whole time i was stirring constantly, to prevent the foam from solidifying on the surface and to keep it from overflowing. i also sanitized the lids by soaking them in boiling water.
when the temperature finally reached 105°C (220°F) after about 35 minutes of boiling, i turned off the stove. cold plate test showed that the liquid solidifies but was still a little runny, which is the way i like my jelly. as it cooled, the thin layer of foam on the surface turned into jelly. i pushed it up against the side of the pot and skimmed as much as i could. i began filling the jars, sacrificing the first one by filling it with impure jelly bits, thereby guaranteeing the rest would contain only clear jelly.
to my surprise, i ended up with 10 jars of quince jelly. fortunately i had the foresight of treating an extra jar, so i came out even. after sealing the jellies, i rinsed them again in hot water to wash off any excess jelly on the outside.
i compared this latest (4th) batch with the ones i made at the end of october (3rd batch). the october jelly is slightly darker, which meant i boiled it longer. that makes sense, because for the same amount of quince juice (10 cups), i ended up with 9 jars of jelly last time, but i got 10 this time around. still, i've no doubt the jelly will solidify over time. another interesting thing is afterwards i couldn't find the initial sacrificial jelly. some of the impure bits must've been reabsorbed but i think most of them floated to the top, so i couldn't see them. i wonder in the future maybe it isn't necessary to skim off the foam jelly on the surface, and even if i do get some in the jar, they seem to disappear on their own.
lacking any food imagination, i ended up just having a can of soup for dinner. pau came home alone, which was surprising, since thursday night is traditionally when katarina comes over to watch the big bang theory. he seemed stressed, and was working in the living room until 1:00, creating charts for a conference call with his 2 advisors tomorrow morning. he made some sandwiches and ate them before going to bed.