i tried some of my refrigerated jiu niang this morning: batch v5 2020-12-19 made with 2 cups of plum blossom brand sweet rice and half a yeast ball and slow ferment is still very sweet. the rice is floating in liquid but not too much. batch v3 2020-12-12 made with 2 cups of rose brand sweet rice and half a yeast ball and instant pot ferment of 36 hours has a lot of liquid and the taste of sweet and bitter and slightly sour with a strong carbonation.

i made another ambitious sandwich for lunch, this time frying the whole wheat bread in some butter first so they don't get soggy when i assemble the sandwich. although it looks quite delicious and nutritious, i'm not happy with it. there's a mushy consistency i don't like, from the guacamole to the egg, to the soft tomato slices, even down to the hickory smoked ham. but my biggest problem is the combined ingredients don't have a strong enough flavor. everything is relying on the ham to bring the salty savoriness, but the flavor just isn't strong enough, even after i pan-fried it a little bit. i think a better choice would be some smoked salmon.

i left the house close to 1pm to bike down to belmont to take out all the houseplants from the grow room (with the exception of the cactuses and reed) and spray them with neem oil outside. today was the perfect day to do it because the temperature was 55°F. supposedly it's going to be even warmer tomorrow (some places hitting the 60's) but there'll be downpours for much of the day, so it had to be today.

i'd forgotten there'd still be snow in the backyard. thankfully the pathway my father plowed with the snowblower had all melted down to the bare grass. i moved out the plants one by one and put them in a row along the pathway, so they wouldn't be resting in the snow.

whenever i have the chance i like to fly the drone, and today was no exception, i quickly set it up in the backyard and had it airborne so i could take some photos and videos of all the plants in the snow, not something you see everyday. only then did i mix up a quart solution of neem oil extract and gave the plants a good dousing. of these plants, only the jasmine in the terracotta pot and the small potted jasmine in the black plastic container had mealybugs, the rest were bug free, not even aphids.

my father had a container of dried up leftover glutinous rice that he was going to try and turn into starter culture. unfortunately leaving it out in the open attracts other bacteria and it's gotten moldy and can no longer be used for jiu niang fermentation.

afterwards i moved the plants back inside. i forgot to check the handful of plants in my parents' bedroom. when i examined the small potted jasmine, i was dismayed to find some mealybugs. i moved it into the bathtub and gave it good spray with the hand-held solution i made a few weeks ago.

i finally left by 2:30pm, making a stop at the cafe to get some meat buns for dinner. my father brought out a large jar of jiu niang that'd been fermenting for over 6 months. i tried it: very sweet but also bitter from the strong alcohol taste. the liquid was not runny, slightly viscous. hardly any sourness, and most surprisingly, no carbonation either.

i spent the rest of the day working on blog post entries for september. i finally finished, which not only allows me to close out that month, but also to erase all the september photos i still have saved on my laptop. now it's onwards to august. if i finish a month a day, i can get 2020 done before the end of the year.

i didn't heat up my meat buns until 9pm. i used the stainless steel cooktop steamer because it gives a more authentic steam heating compared to the microwave. i scooped out 3 teaspoon of hot bean sauce, way more than i needed.

later i tried jiu niang batch v6 2020-12-23, the one i made yesterday afternoon using angel rice leaven. it's only been 1 day, and normally i don't like to open the jar until the fermentation is complete (to avoid introducing bad bacteria), but i was curious to see the progress after only a day. when i opened the jar, there was hardly any smell. there was also hardly any liquid, although the rice grains were still moist. i tried a little spoonful, the rice grains had a faint sweetness, no sour note, which is a good sign that the rice hadn't gone bad. i noticed in the inner wall of the glass jar fine mycelium from the Rhizopus oryzae fungus. i think it's fermenting at the right rate, about the same as the yeast ball fermentation. i was afraid i used too much powder.