Hobby Farm

Tonight my house smells like a brewery, as I just finished my first attempt at crafting my own beer. It’s going well so far, and while I didn’t commit any large-scale disasters in cooking up my wort, I am a bit concerned that the fermentation isn’t kicking in yet. At 90 degrees, I may have added the yeast too early. It will be another two days before I know definitively, but I seem to have inherited my mother’s knack for killing yeast.

Nevertheless, if this project is successful I will have five gallons of beer at my disposal. I feel the risk is one that is both worthy and calculated.

Meanwhile I’m in the process of charging the battery to my scooter, which I can’t seem to keep juiced up. They recommend not using the electric starter on the scooter when going on trips shorter than twenty miles, and since I’m not yet commuting from The Dalles down I-84 at a suicidal 30 mph, it’s difficult to squeeze a twenty mile trip out of Hood River.

Thus, I’ve been kick-starting the scooter for the last couple weeks hoping that the alternator will charge the battery back up, but every time I neglect the poor girl for more than two days the battery goes right back to zero. Once that happens I can’t, for the life of me, get the darn thing started, and when I finally do it belches blue smoke.

I am told that the smoke is the result of the scooter still trying to burn through a batch of chainsaw oil, before it can reach the “really good stuff” that it has been topped off with. I am also told that the scooter automatically handles its own two-stroke oil/gasoline ratio, which to me borders on pure alchemy. Everything I know about scooters I learned from a homebrew enthusiast, and everything I know about homebrewing I learned from a scooter enthusiast.

The only reason I had time to brew beer today was because the wind cut out early this evening. Otherwise I’ve been out kiteboarding the last three nights in a row. Bea and I will cut out of work immediately after closing and head down to The Spit (also known as The Sandbar, The Delta, The Boneyard and The Honeypot) for an evening session, and try to make do with whatever wind the gods throw our way.

I have a new kite and board this year, a Cabrinha Omega and a North Jaime Pro respectively, and even though I’m still getting used to them I can already tell that they’re a major upgrade from my old gear. The kite depowers like a dream, which keeps me from getting dragged downwind into the The Boneyard’s gnarly skeletons every time a gust hits. The smaller board edges upwind like crazy, and keeps me from getting blown into the Marina, or under the Hood River Bridge for that matter. Seriously. Bridges are for trolls, not for kiteboarders.

I still have the grab handle on my kiteboard, partially because it’s helpful, partially because it’s hopelessly uncool, but mostly because I love the look I get when I tell people that I’m working on “sick board-off tricks.” That line alone goes a long way in reinforcing my second reason for keeping the grab handle.