Sunday, July 24, 2011

Russian Beer and Other Ephemera from the Farm

I have often wondered why, under the Russian Orthodox tradition, as I understand it (and if I understand it), beer is not prohibited on fast days. I chalked that one up in mirth as a nod to needing to allow folks to "maintenance" a little and not have DTs in liturgy on a Sunday morning in a nation of prolific spirits drinkers.

Whatever the reason, I also note that Russia has only just reclassified beer (and other beverages less than 10% ABV) as alcoholic beverages. This suggests there has been a strong social inclination in Russia to view beer as a quite ordinary beverage, like water, to be consumed regularly.

Well - in any case, one wonders what, in a truly organic North American Orthodoxy, would be appropriate selections of allowed and disallowed items during fasting periods.


Speaking of beer, I've been brewing my own. I have gone the novice/lazy man's route of buying malt extract. I am just not up to cracking my own grains and malting the stuff, for now. I've made some pretty tolerable batches from the Woodforde's Ale kits.

I am looking forward, after a two-year hiatus, to making a sizeable crush for wine this year.


It's been a terribly cool summer - but the broccoli has been prolific as a result. Early lettuce did quite well. Not much else to report on the gardening front.


We expect to be able to sell 5 lambs for slaughter this year, with one kept back for home consumption.


Our chicken flock has now increased to over 20 hens, and one unexpected rooster. No one in the family except me has the heart to cull the rooster, so I guess he's staying to crow and manage his large harem.


One of the many nice birthday presents of the year: the Wondermill Junior Deluxe hand-powered grain mill. Looking forward to the first batch of a batter-style Entire Wheat Bread with freshly milled flour this week.


We bit the bullet this year, after having some roof leaks, and spent money on re-roofing the house, which included new gutters. God-willing this particular essential maintenance item will last us for a long-long time to come.


The Congress is at an impasse, with no good choices before them, having been maneuvered into a corner. While I tend to think the Icelandic approach to the banks and financiers of the world might be a good thing, perhaps it's different when your country has the reigns of the global reserve currency, and could risk losing that privileged status through missteps. This next week will be interesting, as the foreign exchange and Asian markets are already opening.

Debt-based-indentured-servitude abounds in the world; few of us are immune (I'm certainly not).




Blogger Mimi said...

I was struck with the same thing when I heard that news story. The angle that wasn't explored on the story was the religious implications of the decision, if there are any. Does it change fasting regulations? That kind of thing.

Anyway, my husband has talked about brewing his own beer, I'm not a beer drinker, but I think it would be fun. Congratulations!

3:27 PM  
Blogger Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

When I was a very young twenty-something, my wife and I made a pilgrimage to the Whole Earth catalog store in Menlo Park, California, and one of our purchases was a Corona hand-cranked grain mill. We used it for a few batches, and then went back to buying whole wheat flour. We just never made it to becoming authentic back-to-the-landers.

6:36 PM  
Blogger Hilarius said...


Nice to see you pop by, my friend, after a long absence. How are you and yours?

I think if anyone were thinking of brewing in your neck of the woods, James (of Paradosis) probably would be a good consult; if I'm not mistaken he's done some regular brewing.


Yeah - it's so easy to just buy flour at the store (and sooo inexpensive - even good stuff like Bob's Red Mill isn't that dear in the big scheme of a grocery bill). But there is something I appreciate about cranking away, thinking about a time when a Miller was a fairly important job and not just anyone had millstones. When our Lord could talk about millstones 'round someone's neck and it was well understood what that meant.

All that said, I can't admit to being a "back-to-the-lander" - and I'm always suspicious of such things. We are all really dependent on maintained roads, power companies that can navigate them to fix electrical lines, etc., etc., etc. Thus, we are all quite dependent on one another and "modern conveniences" despite any romantic notions of land-based "independence."

BTW - I try to keep up somewhat with your prolific writing/posts, but I confess I can't always manage it, and I don't comment much anymore on anyone's blog as I just don't have much worth to contribute. Nevertheless, I appreciate reading your posts and am encouraged by them.

6:43 PM  
Blogger Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

Times of busy-ness come and go, brother, but my contact with you and yours is daily through prayer, as my friend Aunt Melanie (blogs, Walk in Wisdom, and Walk in Wisdom 2) has written.

Looked at in that manner, our daily companions end up being quite a different set of people than the ones people think we have.

10:45 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

Thank you! I had a big blogreader snafu that resulted it me not seeing a lot of posts.
James does indeed brew his own beer. I don't think my DH has met him, but I'd like to introduce them, I think they'd enjoy each other.
Hope all is well with you and yours

2:56 PM  

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