after checking the doppler radar and seeing that the next batch of rain won't arrive until a few hours later, i paid a visit to the homebrew emporium on mass ave in west cambridge. what a great store! they pretty much had everything i needed for my distillation experiment, with the exception of the still and grains. not only that, but their prices were much cheaper than what i could get online, which surprised me. i should've came to these guys first before ordering my yeast and airlocks. i first asked if they had any bungs (never thought i'd be doing that). they carried an assortment, with or without holes. i ended up getting 2 #10 bungs designed for plastic better bottles. when i measure them at home the #10 was too large, but maybe these were different. they were $1.95 each, which is a price i wouldn't be able to match online when i factor in shipping (cheapest online is $1.75, but not including $8-10 shipping). next i asked if they had any glass test jars. they had those too, at $5.95 each. the cheapest i could find online is $15+. i looked around to see if they had any proof & tralle hydrometer. they had some triple scale and thermometer, but not the one i wanted. so i asked. given what i'd already picked up, the clerk warned me that distillation is illegal.1 i murmured in agreement. having said that then, he showed me where they hide the proof & tralle hydrometers. these sold for $6.95; cheapest i could find online is $12.45.
i biked home carefully since i had glassware in my bag. i stopped by the church next door to take some photos, then went across the street to pemberton's farm to check out some plants. i wanted to buy a rosemary, something i do every season, and more importantly this year since several of my old mature rosemaries died this winter (left outside). they seemed a little price at $4.69 a container, and just a single common variety. i may try a few other places.
back at home, i put my bike away in anticipation of the eventual rain. i moved 2 of the road bikes as well, but not before taking a few photos first (for posting on craig's list when i sell them). the only bike still outside was the stripped jetter frame with one wheel. i don't even bother locking up that bike.
those #10 bungs? they totally don't fit on my 5 gallon plastic water bottle. so i'll need to return them tomorrow and exchange them for something smaller. ideally i'd want to bring the bottle with me, but i might need to stop by the post office first.
i wanted to test out the hydrometer. so i filled the test jar with water, then dipped the hydrometer inside. it was pretty accurate, floating at 0% alcohol - which makes sense, since normal cambridge tap water doesn't contain alcohol.
i then decided to try something with alcohol, so i poured out 100mL of vodka and filled the test jar. the hydrometer floated at 40% alcohol. both the glass jar and the hydrometer seem like they'd break easy. it'd be nice if i can get a bumper guard for the test jar, so should it accidentally topple over, it'll be less likely to chip and shatter. playing with all this scientific glassware takes me back to my chemistry days (10th grade and freshman year college). i love the smell of a chemistry lab, makes me feel nostalgic. so all i need now is a still and mash material.
it was moving day for my plants: around 4pm my parent came by to pick them up. i went with them to belmont. it was late enough that there wasn't time to plant anything; besides, it started raining again, so all i could do was take them out of their boxes and put them in the raised beds temporarily.
in a race against the rain, i also did a few quick repairs on my mother's bike: installed a new front reflector to her old ross 10-speed and added a bike bell to the yellow ross 7-speed.
i brought my pulled pork which we had for dinner. afterwards i got a ride back to cambridge. i took the zeki tablet pc so i can return it for my parents.
the swift reliant binoculars? it actually shipped out today, ebay sent me a notification. UPS tracking says it'll arrive by friday. the double charge on my credit card is still pending however, i'm still a little worried about that. later in the evening i ordered some senokot laxatives for my mother through amazon. in order to qualify for free shipping, i padded my order with a pair of bushnell powerview 8x21 binoculars for $13. this is kind of insane since i already have a binocular order arriving in a few days. but these bushnell pairs were so cheap, it'd be nice to have a small backup for those times when i don't feel like bringing my regular binoculars. they're nowhere as good, but what they lack in quality they make up for in convenience. i paid with credit points anyway, so essentially i got these for free.
i haven't even begun my distillation experiment yet and i'm already researching another fermentation project: homemade kombucha! growing a scoby baby, and drinking up all that yeast and bacteria and enzymes and other organic byproducts. i don't think i've ever had kombucha tea before. it's supposed to be both sweet and sour? actually, i do have some kombucha green tea teabags, but that's not a good indicator of what the actual product would taste like.
1 maybe i shouldn't be so nonchalant about what i'm doing. granted, i'm not making moonshine to sell, and the amount is very small (just a few jars at most). however, just to be on the safe side, since my blog is in the public domain, henceforth my moonshine-making endeavors will be known as a distillation experiment.