in the late morning i checked the progress of my glutinous rice after 24 hours of fermenting in the instant pot on low temperature yogurt setting. it was the moment of truth and i'm happy to report i have a successful jiu niang fermentation. when i opened the lid i could already smell the alcohol. there was no mold on the rice (unlike last time) and the hollow in the middle was filled with liquid. i sample some of the fermented rice, it was very fluffy and slightly sweet with a bit of sourness, but definitely tasted like jiu niang. instead of taking it out, i left it to ferment an additional 6 hours (for a total of 30 hours) because the instant pot recipe i was following said a 30 hours ferment makes for sweet jiu niang. this means the trouble i had last time was entirely due to the fact that i used an expired yeast ball. with a proper yeast ball, the fermentation should happen quickly enough that bad bacteria and mold don't have a chance to grow and are crowded out by the good bacteria.

bruce texted me asking if i wanted some leftover rice and beans he made. never one to refuse free food, i said sure and went over to his place to pick it up. he made it using 3 cups of rice, which seems like an awful lot (maybe why he had leftover). i saved the rice and beans for dinner, had some granola yogurt for lunch instead. i watched the final 2 episodes of devs. overall i think it's a good series, and i like the happy ending, unlike alex garland's other tech-industry-run-amok work ex machina, which had a less than happy ending unless you were rooting for the robot.

i set out in the afternoon to run some errands. because my upstairs neighbors weren't home (i heard them going out this morning), i decided to a drone launch attempt from my backyard. when you fly drones you start seeing the world a little differently, sizing up locations for proper launches. my backyard would not qualify as a good place. for one thing, the large oak canopy that basically blocks out any clear view of the sky. in front of the house, another large locust tree. if i was thinking about flying around the house, that's pretty much impossible. from the backyard the one window with a clear view of the sky was in my neighbor's yard. so to fly there, i had to first dodge a power line, then avoid hitting tree branches and rooftops, to finally making it out. it was pretty harrowing, a combination of exhilaration and fear. i'm close enough to logan airport that the fly app alerted me to a height restriction of just 150 ft. i was basically just overhead, didn't dare move the drone anywhere that i couldn't see it, panning the camera to take photos and videos. on top of that there were strong winds and the app showed me a wind warning. at one point my phone completely froze. after about 2 minutes it started working again, and i was able to regain contact. luckily the drone just stayed in place in the air; i was afraid it would try an automatic return-to-home, smashing into every obstacle as it came crashing down to earth.

that was enough flying for one day, and i was ready to leave the drone at home, but decided to bring it with me as i went to the community garden to take down some tomato cages. there was one other gardener there, a woman who seemed to be meditating in the sun. she left a few minutes after i arrived and i was there alone. it was too tempting an opportunity so i quickly whipped out my drone and set it into the air. there were a handful of pedestrians going into the park or walking on the sidewalk, none of them seemed to notice the drone overhead. what i wanted was a aerial photo of the community garden, but for some reason i couldn't get the drone in a good place. even though i didn't think i was doing anything wrong, i was still nervous somebody would see the drone and yell at me. initially the fly app gave me a 150ft warning, but that disappeared and i managed to get up to 400ft to shoot a panorama video. i was high enough that i actually saw the ocean. annemarie showed up in the garden while i was bringing back the drone, she didn't seem to notice what i was doing. the DJI mini 2 is inconspicuous enough that most people hardly notice it. it makes a buzzing noise when it's near the ground, but as soon as it's up in the air, most people wouldn't even know what it was to look, and even if they did, the drone is actually hard to pick out from the sky.

i returned home, dumped the drone, and continued with my errands. i went to walgreens to pick up my prescriptions (it meant i wouldn't have to do it tomorrow), then to market basket for the 3rd consecutive day in a row, to pick up the last few things i wanted to get but didn't because i didn't have enough storage space to bring it back. while leaving market basket i saw my 2nd uncle making his way inside. i was too far away to call his name. coming back, i noticed a tree crew was cutting down an awfully large tree in somerville. this is the same property that used to have a magnificent paulownia tree before they chopped it down. i think they're going to build something in that very large yard, and chopping down all the trees is a first step. this would never happen in cambridge, where there's a moratorium on large tree cutting, even on private property. after stashing the bike, i went out again for the last time, to the dollar store to grab some cheap batteries for the electronic mousetrap.

the glutinous rice was finally down fermenting at 5pm, the 30 hours mark. the rice was even fluffier now ("hollow" is a word i've seen used to describe fermented glutinous rice), and there was more liquid at the bottom. the rice also seemed to be floating in the inner pot. i sampled the jiu niang, it was definitely sweeter than this morning. my father told me to leave the jiu niang out on the countertop for a few more days, to allow it to ferment some more. this was increase the sweetness. leave it out for too long however, and the sugar will be converted into more alcohol.

earlier i sanitized some glass jars by cooking them in the microwave (a new way i read about) and boiled their plastic lids and silicone rings. i scooped the jiu niang into two jars. 4 hours later i came back to check, the rice had started to floating to the top. another 4 hours later the separation is even more noticeable. i tried the jiu niang again, it's even sweeter now than before. i also noticed some condensation inside the jars; the fermentation must be producing a little bit of heat.

now that i've successfully made jiu niang, i wonder if i can make a larger batch? my dream is to use up the entire 5 lbs. bag in one sitting, that's probably about 10 cups of glutinous rice. can the instant pot cook up 10 cups of rice? i don't even really need the instant pot to make jiu niang. i used it to cook the rice initially, but ever asian family has a rice cooker, which can cook the glutinous rice just as well. i used the instant pot again during the fermentation stage, but that's just to keep an ideal warm temperature for the bacteria to thrive; glutinous rice will just as readily ferment in room temperature, albeit slower. my father says it takes about 3 days for his jiu niang to fermented properly at room temperature. the instant pot just speeds up the process.

i finally had bruce's rice and beans for dinner. based on his recommendation, i added some salt and hot sauce to make it taste better. i used my t-fal pot for the very first time for cooking (i used it earlier to boil some water to sanitize some lids). brand new non-stick cookware works great, no scorching, food slides around easily. ask me again how they are after a year or two though. originally i was just going to eat half (trying to lose weight after all), but the half portion seemed so measly, i ended up eating the whole container of rice and beans.

i ate while watching the life below zero marathon on the national geographic channel on youtube tv. it's kind of comforting watching the show during the winter, because however cold and bad it feels here, it's way worse up in alaska. speaking of bad weather, it started raining tonight. it's going to rain until tomorrow afternoon before it transitioned to snow for the rest of saturday. it's going to be a real mess.