Monday, July 08, 2013

Project Update

The mead worked and worked well and I've moved into new batches with fruit additions (called melomels) including jalapenos and raspberry. Only one disaster so far which is a low count for me as far as new projects are concerned.  I backsweetened a batch of raspberry mead and bottled it without shocking the yeast so fermentation kicked in again and I came home to find the corks had popped and sprayed mead all over the closet. Lesson learned. A very, very sticky lesson learned.

The Compleat Meadmaker : Home Production of Honey Wine From Your First Batch to Award-winning Fruit and Herb Variations is the book that I've now turned to for the specifics on all things concerning meadmaking.  It's considered the definitive source and I have it nearby as a reference no matter what I do, especially since the raspberry fiasco.

I also stumbled across a Youtube video by the Backyard Bowyer that described how build a horse bow from PVC.  It sounded too good to be true but I had the tools laying around and a whole stick of 3/4" PVC was a whopping $3 so I had to try it.

I've always loved archery but it's a costly hobby especially if I'm only shooting every other weekend or even less depending on my schedule. So spending a few hundred on a good recurve bow was always out of the question. But if I can make a decent shooting bow for under ten bucks then it's a bit silly not to.

Enter Nicholas Tomihama with a whole Youtube channel of easy to follow tutorials and reasonably priced books to guide one through the process of making all sorts of bows. In the the span of an afternoon on a weekend I had a Mongolian horse bow that pulls at about 30 to 40 pounds and shoots great. Perfect for the casual, weekend archer.

And finally, bamboo meditation flutes.

I dabbled trying to make flutes for years but always struggled with the tuning and materials. Then I had one of those perfect storms of materials and information that pretty much means I had to try again. I discovered formulas (quite by accident) that described the hole placement and literally the next day I came across a pile of discarded bamboo.  I got out the guitar to map out some pentatonic scales and loaded a spreadsheet with the formulas and went to work with hot pokers and sandpaper and low and behold, I had flutes.

The pentatonic scale fascinates me.  It's fluid and flexible and open to improvisation which is why I like playing the flutes.  I sit, I breath, I make music that is spontaneous and free.

Lot's of projects. A good bit of success. Interestingly, getting the flutes and bows built and having mead aging is a weight off my shoulders. I've been worried about bows for years and for flutes even longer. They're done now and I can move on or go back and build more.  But for the moment I'm moving on.

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