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THE WONDER explores perspectives, rituals, and observances of modern, naturalistic, Earth-revering Neopagan religious paths. Naturalistic Pagans embrace the world as understood by science (that is, without gods, magic, or the supernatural), and enhance our lives with myth, ritual and activism. Hosted by Mark Green (author of ATHEOPAGANISM: An Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science) and Yucca (formerly of The Pagan Perspective YouTube channel, now of the Magic and Mundane channel).

Named #4 in the top15 Pagan podcasts for 2022! https://blog.feedspot.com/pagan_podcasts/

The Fall Equinox

September 13, 2021

Remember, we welcome comments, questions and suggested topics at thewonderpodcastQs@gmail.com

Suntree Retreat: https://theapsocietyorg.wordpress.com/news-and-events/suntree-retreat-2022/

S2E34 TRANSCRIPT and Recipe:

Reconstituted Yule Metheglin Recipe

Ingredients

Montrachet yeast (1 packet)

Yeast nutrient, 1 oz.

12 lbs. high-quality honey (thyme, thistle, or wildflower honeys are nice for this recipe)

Zest of four large or eight small oranges

5 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces

12 cloves, broken

10 large slices fresh ginger, bruised with a hammer to release flavor

5 gallons water

 

Equipment

Large cooking kettle

Candy thermometer

Jar

Muslin

Rubber band

Food-grade five-gallon fermenting bucket

Brewing airlock

Glass carboy, 5 gallon

Champagne bottles

Caps and capping press

Method

  1. Start the yeast 2 days ahead. Take a sterilized jar and add a tablespoon of honey. Pour on a ¼ pint to ½ pint of boiling water and stir to mix. When cooled to 20°C or below, add the yeast and yeast nutrient. Keep covered but not airtight, a muslin cover affixed with a rubber band or string is ideal.
  2. Put the spices, zest and ginger into a large cooking kettle. Add about 2 gallons of water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, covered.
  3. Put all but 2/3 cup of the honey into a food-grade fermenting bucket and strain the herb liquid through muslin cloth onto it whilst still hot. Stir the honey until dissolved. Top up with water to four gallons total.
  4. Allow to cool to 20°C and then add the prepared yeast starter
  5. A fierce fermentation should begin quickly. After a few days to a week the rate will have slowed and the must can be poured into a carboy and topped up to five gallons with cooled boiled water prior to fitting the air-lock.
  6. Keep in a warm place until fermentation stops.
  7. Move the carboy into a cool place and when ready to bottle, stir in 2/3 cup additional honey.
  8. Rack off into champagne bottles, and cap.

 

Mark: Welcome back to the Wonder Science-based Paganism. I'm your host Mark. 

Yucca:  And I’m Yucca. 

Mark: And it has rolled around to this time of year. Once again, we are at the autumnal Equinox. 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: Which is sometimes called Mabon, although there's great debate. And in some cases scorn about that term. And I prefer to call harvest.

Yucca: Mm. So it's for me, at least it's amazing that here we are all around. It's this year has flown by, but also just seasonally what's happening doesn't quite feel like we're there yet. It's still, the summer has just been really, really dragging. We're still having our hot days. The nights are, you know, you need sweaters and whatnot, but there's that chills just not there yet.

And we wonderfully, still got some rains recently. I just haven't quite turned that corner. Although I suspect in the next few weeks, it'll be like the snap of a finger and it'll all of a sudden it'll be autumn, but it just really isn't here yet. 

Mark: You know, here in California, where I am coastal Northern California we're in really kind of a Mediterranean climate cycle. And. I agree with you this year, that the things that I look forward to kind of signal the change into autumn are still not really happening. There's a particular kind of hard blue that the sky becomes because the angle of the light is different.

And I know the angle of the light is still different, but I'm not seeing that blue. And it may be because of smoke in the air or something else, but could be, yeah, could be. Moisture as well. But I'm just, I'm not seeing the signals. People's gardens are still pouring out tons and tons of vegetables.

And although the nights are coming sooner, it's still feels as though summer really has kind of got its talons in and it's holding on.

Yucca: Yeah. So of course it's, it's going to be different everywhere, but that's interesting that that's happening and in both of our climates, 

Mark: Right because they are so very different. 

Yucca: they are Yeah. so it's always fun to see where we line up and where we're very different.

Mark: Yes. 

Yucca: Tom. 

Mark: So let's talk about this holiday that has a controversial name and all that good kind of stuff.

Yucca: Luckily it is one. We can just simply call the Equinox, right.

So the in-between ones are a little bit trickier, but this one is easy. We can say it's the Equinox. And everybody knows what we're talking about. And of course mentioning that the two hemispheres are different. So for those of us in the Northern hemisphere, we're moving into the dark part of the year.

And those in the Southern hemisphere are moving out of it Right. Going into their spring. Or of course, anyone in there. The tropical areas is having their wet and rainy, rainy, and dry cycle instead of the temperate four seasons.

Mark: Right.

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: Yeah, so it's getting to be time to celebrate again. And before we started recording, we talked about whether to save this episode for next week with when this episode would be released on the Equinox. But it seems like it's a better idea to talk about the Equinox this week, so that if there are any ideas that you have for how to celebrate you can plan for those and, and be ready for it coming up next month.

Yucca: It's kind of get 

Mark: Monday. Yeah, Monday is the is the actual Equinox and that may not be true worldwide. I think it's Tuesday in Australia and Japan and the far east. 

Yucca: To check what the actual time is, 

Mark: yeah.

Yucca: there abouts usually ranging from the 20th to 22nd. They're around in the month is usually when we have the, the Equinox. 

Mark: Right. Right. So, when we talk about celebrating the the solstices and equinoxes and the points between on the wheel of the year we, we talk about what's actually happening, happening. Our natural environment. And we also talk about the metaphorical meanings that these holidays can have for us. So maybe we should start with the first one.

Yucca: Do you want to cover that or should I 

Mark: why don't you go ahead 

Yucca: oh, Okay.

Yeah.

So 

Mark: Okay. 

Yucca: we have, we've inherited the, the view of the world or the frame of reference of the world with where we think of earth being. Circled by these other objects. Right. And it makes it a lot of sense. You go outside, you look at the sky and it looks like the sun rises and goes around the earth.

It looks like the moon rises. It goes around that case. It does, but it looks like the stars. Right. And so a lot of hours. When we talk about solstices equinoxes, it's based on that former geocentric view. We now know though that we are on a planet, that's orbiting a star, not the star orbiting us. And so sometimes our language is still a little bit confusing about that, but what's happening is.

Earth is going around the sun and it's going around the sun on a plane, which we called the ecliptic. And this is confusing because the path that the earth is taking is the ecliptic, but also the apparent path of the sun and the sky is the ecliptic as well. But then we have earth is tilting. It's not straight up and down in that plane.

That's our 23 and a half degree tilt, which changes over very, very long time period. Not within the human time period or the individual lifetime. So for us, we can just think, Okay.

it's to say that's not changing, but we have basically, you can think of the, the plane coming out from the equator, the equatorial plane, or the celestial equator.

And. We have earth going around the sun and then we have that plane and twice a year, those two planes, there's a node where it appears to us that they're crossing over each other. These are both imaginary lines. They're not really there, but that's what the Equinox is, is when the planet is passing through that plane. Now what that ends up doing for the equator is on the equator. It seems like there's equal night and day length. That's not the case for the rest of the world, though. It's pretty close. The closer you are to the equator, but that's where Equinox equal night. That word actually comes in. 

Mark: Right. And so as you get farther from the equator, The proportion of day and night shifts. And so you will have a slightly, somewhat longer day than night or a somewhat longer night than day, depending on whether you're in the north or in the south. 

Yucca: And if you happen to be at the south pole station, then it's a you have your six months of day, six months of night. 

Mark: right.

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: So, that's what's happening in the natural world. That's, that's, what's causing this apparent effect of having these roughly equal days and equal nights and metaphorically speaking, what that often inspires people to think of this holiday as being about, is about balance is about. The, you know, looking at our lives and understanding the need for, you know, the, the proper proportionality of the different things that we are doing in our lives, whether it's our relationship with ourself, our relationship with a partner or partners, our relationship with our family, our relationship with work, our relationship.

Friends and with creative endeavors and so forth. I find this a really useful time to take a look at my life and say, well, okay. What am I not putting enough time into right now? That is That's working to my detriment. And because I am unemployed at the moment, the obvious answer this year is I'm not putting enough time into work.

Although I'm putting a lot of time into trying to get work. But that said, I've also noticed some other patterns. You know, I, I want to invest a little more time in my relationship now than I have been. I think I've been neglecting that a little bit and so forth. So, that's an exercise that you can do for this time of the year.

You know, really kind of try to get the 20,000 foot view of your life and see where's the energy going and ask yourself. Is that really what I want is that, does that feel balanced to me?

Yucca: Yeah. 

And so, because Equinox has happened twice a year. There's a really nice opportunity to return to that. It's just, it's not just once a year, but it's a Ooh, every half, half year, right. We have the, the fall or the autumn, and then also the spring time for looking at that balance. Although it's a good practice to do it anytime of the year, but it's nice to have a place on the calendar that reminds us to do that. 

Mark: Yes. Yes. And another layer of metaphor that I use in thinking about the, the wheel of the year around the, the course of the calendar is mapping the human life span onto that calendar. So for example, well, the spring Equinox becomes a time to focus on the very young on. Toddlers and children that are maybe up to 10 or 11 years old.

I'm not preteens that comes a little later or teenagers comes a little later. But yeah, pre-teens and young children time to celebrate them and really kind of do some activities that are really focused on them. This time of year I considered to be about the elders. The, the matriarchs and patriarchs and other arcs, I haven't heard a gender fluid term yet for, for what that would be.

But if somebody does, please email us@thewonderpodcastqueuesatgmail.com and let us know, because I I'd like to be using the right terminology.

Yucca: And it's just fun to learn new words like that, too. 

Mark: Yeah, you 

Yucca: we could. If there isn't a word, there should be. 

Mark: Right? Right. So you know, those folks who have lived the, the great, the greatest proportion of their lives are coming towards the end of their life. And. One would hope they have learned something. They have gained wisdom in the course of passing through their lives because this is after all a harvest festival.

This is a time when in, in the Northern hemisphere anyway. Gardens and so forth are pouring out. Tremendous agriculture is just producing tremendous amounts of food right now. And it's very traditional to have a kind of late September. Harvest feast of some kind celebrating the end of the harvest and there's and there are many ways and traditions of people doing that all over Europe, certainly.

And I'm sure here in the Americas as well among indigenous people. So. It's a time to understand the harvest of your life in a way as well too, to celebrate those people who have lived long lives. And our experience who's experienced brings us a harvest of memories and lore and knowledge and wisdom and to celebrate them for that, that they bring to us.

Yucca: Hm, that's really beautiful. I love hearing your take and perspective on the holidays and the wheel of fear 

Mark: Thank you Jaco. So you have a a different way of, of mapping the wheel of the year.

Yucca: We do. Yeah.

So instead of mapping the lifetime of an, of an individual human, we look at the wheel of the year, more on a what's happening on an ecosystem scale. Right. So what are the different components of ecosystems? What are the different roles and also the whole biosphere. So not just an individual specific biome, but, but the whole thing.

Right. And we then relate that a little bit to, Okay.

What's going on in our own environment. So here, although it's running a little bit late this year, this is the time when the shift between. The warm and the cold part of the year is happening even though with the light and the length of days. Yeah. That happened at the solstice.

But really it's not until now that that we're going to start leaving summer. And for us summer is the that's. When we have moisture, it's a very dry climate, but that's when the moisture comes. And so if one's to go out and take a walk and look around, that's when you might notice. There are in fact mushrooms that grow here, but they only come up when there is that moisture.

They only come up when the temperature is shifting. So we have those cool evenings, the days aren't so blazing and what's happening is that the, the phase of decomposition. Is starting to really get going. That's always happening, but in the temperate regions and whether a year in an arid or a humid temperate region, 

Mark: Hmm.

Yucca: The decomposition really takes over during the cold part of the year, especially in the forests, in deciduous forests, underneath all of that litter of that organic matter.

And underneath the snow and the ice that's when the fungus is working away, breaking down, the soil is alive. The soil is an incredible system and everything. Might look dormant and asleep, but underneath it's active and it's, you know, fun guy are like, some people say that they're all mouth, cause they really are.

They're digesting on the outside, eating up, eating up. And it's not just the fun guy, but it's also many other organisms. The bacteria. Of course, not all bacteria, not all, all fungi are decomposers, but many of them are, and there are decomposers who partner with our microbes and fungi, like the termites and other insects that are animals, but really there's this whole other part to nature that we don't notice because they aren't happening on our scale.

It's the normal scale. We're weird. We are abnormally giant compared to most life. And what that life is doing is it's breaking things down. It's taking it apart. It's eating and we think of it as death, Right, When something's decomposing, when it's rotting, we go, oh, it's dying and death and all of that, but it's actually feeding its life.

It's both at the same time. 

Mark: right.

Yucca: So this is the time that we really are looking at compost. We're looking at the decomposition and seeing that happening in the natural world, but also thinking about how that can apply to our own life. So I think this connects in a little bit with what you're talking about with the balance, where we can look at our lives and go, what's serving me.

What's not, what can I put in the compost? All Right.

What is not working that needs to be, take that energy, take that focus and use it as feed to transform into something new. So that's, that's what this whole kind of autumn. Transitioning towards the cold. That's what it really feels like along with, of course.

Wow. Look at all the food that's coming in, look at all of the bounty, but what happens to the scraps that zucchini Bush that you have, you're getting loads and loads of the zucchini is that you have no idea what to do with, and you're sick of zucchini, bread and Columbus cheetahs, or whatever else you're making of it.

But that plan. Is eventually dying down. And what happens to that? The plant that bore those fruits, it's going to get eaten, consumed. It's going to become part of the soil and on and on that cycle goes, 

Mark: Right, right. We would certainly notice it if it didn't because we would be buried in leaves. The, when you consider the sheer volume of, of vegetable detritus, that's consumed by the decomposers every year. It, it allows us to live really because. 

Yucca: vegetable, but animal as well, the flesh and Yeah, 

Mark: Absolutely. And you know, we consider it kind of normal while you go to a forest and it's got a few leaves on the ground and you walk around and you enjoy it.

And then when you go there the next year, Has a similar amount of leaves around there, on the ground? Well, if it wasn't for the decomposers, there might be six feet of leaf accumulated there and you wouldn't be going anywhere in the forest.

Yucca: Yeah. Well, we had a really interesting period during earth history where plants figured out this strategy called trees and they started making these compounds, which were much more difficult to break down. And the decomposers at the time. Hadn't figured it out yet. So breaking down those ligaments and things like that, and it took fun guy a while.

They've they? They got it eventually, but we have this big period of time where we had this buildup of lots and lots and lots of Woody material, which eventually what caused huge fires. But a lot of it ended up getting buried and that's where our coal today come. 

Mark: Hmm. And that's why coal is full of fossils. It's full of leaf fossils and insect fossils, and all kinds of, you know, imprinted remnants from all of that detritus that was then compressed and fossilized into the call that we have today.

Yucca: Yeah. So just unimaginable amounts of. Vegetable matter. Right, Just huge. So we call that the Carboniferous because there's so much carbon during that time period. Yeah. 

Mark: right. The, when, when you were talking about thinking about your life and what needs, what needs composting? You know, what. What harvest can we take from what we've been doing? And then what do we kind of give up on and fold back into the earth and hope will bring up something else.

That's very much like my approach to to the harvest season as well, because, you know, we make plans early in the year. We start new initiatives, at least I do kind of. Annual schedule where during the deep of winter, it's, it's less, it's less a doing time and more of a kind of planning and getting ready to do time.

But by the time the Equinox, the autumnal Equinox rolls around. I know pretty well whether a project has succeeded or not. And in some cases, you know, you plant stuff and it just doesn't. It's the nature of cultivating a garden. There, there are things that just fail. They either don't thrive in the conditions that you've given them or the seeds were defunked or something.

Yucca: Or you realize that that's not what you want growing there.

Mark: Right, 

Yucca: Right, And you know, that's, that's great. Mint is delicious, but maybe you don't want it right.

there where it's going to take over everything. 

Mark: Right.

Yucca: Okay. Maybe it's time to pull that up and put it and put it in a pot or just say, sorry, man. 

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: Maybe a different garden, maybe a different time.

But right now this isn't, this isn't what I want to be working on. 

Mark: Right. So that's a, that's a place where our approaches kind of overlap in terms of the decomposers. Because I do think about, you know, With the metaphorical harvest of the year, what is it that needs to go onto the compost pile? 

Yucca: Hmm. 

Mark: What is it that didn't work out or that maybe did work out and turned out?

Not to be what I wanted. All those kinds of things. So that's, that's another, another exercise that you can do at around this time of year, as you're looking at your life and thinking about, you know, how's the energy balance working there in terms of the energy that you invest in different activities, you can also be thinking about, you know, what what am I.

What am I pouring any energy into that is not thriving. And maybe I need to pull the plug or maybe I need to put in even more energy, but you gotta sort of figure it out. If it's not working now,

Yucca: Yeah.

And, and one thing that you could do is actually physically compost. While making those decisions and there's, you know, there's a million, one different ways to compost that are going to be appropriate in different situations. If you're in a, an apartment you might think of like a little worm bin underneath the kitchen sink, or if you've got more space, you might do a traditional pile in the backyard.

Or if you've got lots and lots of land, of course, there's always the trench and trench and, and. Let the existing soil, microbes and worms And all of those get at it. But, but it's the sort of thing that you could be physically doing and having that, that metaphoric meaning as you're doing it.

Mark: And then the last thing that I think of when I think of. Holiday is just the straight-up harvest feast. 

Yucca: Hm. 

Mark: It's a thing that I really liked to do with friends at this time of year. And of course COVID has pulled the plug on all of that recently, although we did, we did have a gathering at our house of a small group of people yesterday, which felt like an early harvest celebration.

They were the people who helped us to move. You know, loaning us trucks and helping us pack and helping us move stuff over and all that kind of stuff. And everybody was vaccinated. So we, you know, it was, it was reasonably safe and it just reminded me of how much I really enjoy being around other people and sharing their company and having conversations and all that good kind of stuff.

If you're in a place where you. No of people who are your friends and loved ones who are vaccinated 

Yucca: Yeah. 

Mark: and, you know, can gather a small group for a harvest feast. It might be really good for your, for yourself at this point, because we've been so isolated for so long. If, if that's something that works for you and you feel comfortable with doing it you know, even, even just a group of like six people for a dinner party can be awfully nice.

And it'll give you a chance to get rid of some of that zucchini.

Yucca: Yes.

And depending on what your climate and what the weather is like this year for you, this can be a really lovely time to still be outside. Right. So have that back porch or park gathering, or, you know, let's go to the national forest or something like that. And, you know, it's still a time that you could do a, kind of a, more of a picnic feel.

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: but you know, the, the idea. Of sitting around a table in the backyard, or even a campfire or with friends and a good cider or, you know, just that, that nice atmosphere is, that's one of my favorite things about autumn. I just, that all that kind of cozy, 

Mark: right. Yeah. And it's it's, I mean, we know that at least, you know, where we are, we know that the elements are going to get more. In hospitable soon. Right. But there is this sort of last hurrah that happens in September into early October sometimes where you can, you can just really enjoy being outside and Celebrating with, with friends.

So I, I really commend that to you. If you can. I know we've been protecting ourselves, protecting our health for so long that people have kind of developed this kind of knee jerk, get away from me, impulse because of COVID. But if you know people who are vaccinated and you know that they're safe, then that can be a great thing to do.

Yucca: Yeah. And, you know, I don't know how it is for you, but there's also something about this time of year, which has that kind of excitement and anticipation for being done with the summer, done with the heat done with that part of the year and ready for the like, Ooh, I'm ready for the chill chilly. I'm ready for the sweaters.

I'm ready for the, you know, whatever it is. The Halloween. Yes. Halloween.

please. The pumpkin's 

Mark: The month long Sabbath.

Yucca: Yes. Yeah. this, the pumpkins and the cloves and cinnamon and all of that. Just, yeah, we're getting there

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: It's going to, Ooh. 

Mark: There's another thing that I used to do. And I'm, I'm thinking about doing it again this year, which is that I would brew a , which is a spice to Meade around this time of year, so that it would be ready in bottles to give us gifts that you'll. 

Yucca: Mm. 

Mark: And I think, you know, we can probably put this recipe in the.

Yucca: Yeah, we could 

Mark: In the notes. Yeah. In the show notes, it's really, it's not very difficult. The most important thing to recognize about it is first of all, sanitize everything, because that's how you, you know, you don't get weird bacterial infections in your in your liquid and you must use champagne bottles. This, this is sparkling need.

It is high pressure. The bottles will explode if they're not champagne bottles and it'll make a big sticky mess and it can hurt people if they're around when the bottle goes up. 

Yucca: I can, 

Mark: please use champagne bottles.

Yucca: I'm laughing right now because do you know what a Winogradsky column is? 

Mark: No.

Yucca: So, really beautiful, but if you live anywhere near a salt marsh or something like that, there are these bacteria. A lot of them are actually Kia that, that live in these different kinds of mud and all kinds of. Environments.

That would be very difficult for us as large aerobic creatures, but you can get the mud and put them into jars and they, and, you know, maybe give them some hard-boiled eggs or some, you know, their sulfur eaters and that sort of thing. So, over time, these, these columns or these jars develop these unbelievably beautiful colors because you're looking at.

These colonies of microbes? Well, I have several of those and we also moved recently and someone helping us move, tightened the lids onto some of my 

Mark: Oh, no.

Yucca: And luckily it, this only happened to one of them, but. They are of course releasing carbon dioxide. And when you have that inside of a glass bottle and we heard from the other room and.

Mud and sticky bacterial colonies all over the walls and the, you know, and it was just like, oh, good thing. Nobody was there because that was shards of glass. And that's the same thing which is going to happen with with your, when you're brewing. Right. 

Mark: right, right. Yeah. I had a direct experience of this once. I used to do two batches of Mead every year. I would do this spice champagne. that we're going to provide the recipe for. And then I did a straight, dry Mead that would come out around Mayday or bell team. And I was at a belting celebration weekend and I brought this need out to donate that I had put it in 22 ounce beer bottles because it was supposed to be a dry need.

It apparently got a little fuzzy. Apparently there was enough sugar to do a secondary fermentation in the bottle. And one woman grabbed a bottle of this and started to run up a hill with it, to her campsite. And it exploded in her hand. 

Yucca: Oh, wow. Was she okay? 

Mark: She got some cuts, but nothing very serious, but it was really a reminder to me that you just don't want to take a chance with this.

Even, even if what you're doing is supposedly going to turn out still, rather than sparkling, it's just so much safer to use champagne bottles.

Yucca: Okay. Now I should say we're, we're talking about. The dangerous part of it. But for people who are interested in getting started, the means insiders are.

really great places to start. They're much. They're very simple in comparison to beer, right? You really, a lot of times it's well clean all your equipment and put your ingredients, but the Easton, you know, you've got your special lid on it and that's and wait. Right. 

Mark: Yeah, pretty much. So, I mean, and the equipment that you need is not all that much. This, as I said, is a spice needs, so it has, you know, orange zest and ginger slices and cloves and cinnamon sticks and things like that. And it 

Yucca: give us the recipe, but do you put those in later on or do you 

Mark: No, I start, 

Yucca: with them? Okay. 

Mark: well at first I do a yeast starter just to, you know, get the yeast population up so that when I pitch it's it's really raring to go. But other than that, what I do is I simmer all of those ingredients with a little bit of honey in the bottom of a big. Like a four gallon or three gallon kettle.

And then I taught that all with the remainder of the honey and water, and then stir that all up and then rack it over into a five gallon carboy and top it off with water so that it comes up to five gallons. So this is this is a a recipe for five gallons of need. Which is enough to keep you for awhile.

Yucca: That's a lot. Yeah. 

Mark: it is it's enough to, you know, give away his presence and have some for yourself. And it's, it's, it's 

Yucca: It depends on how many adults are in your household, right? Yeah. But That's still five gallons is a lot.

Mark: That's a lot. It is. It's a lot. And for those of you who don't know, for some reason, meat is just honey wine. It's wine that's made where the fermenting sugar is from honey, instead of.

Typically grapes in the case of most wine. And it's good. It's very good. And it, at least if it's made well, it's good. 

Yucca: It's, it's one of those that I've found that most of the inexpensive stuff at the stores is not very cheap. Cheap meat is not. 

Mark: really 

Yucca: find cheap beers that are good. You can find cheap ciders, but cheat, Mead tip meat is like cough, syrupy 

Mark: Yeah, it's the, the problem is that both the yeasts and the honey are somewhat more expensive if you want to get good quality stuff. And so if the meat is cheap, that means they went cheap with the ingredients. And so it doesn't taste very good.

Yucca: Yeah, but there are some really, you know, it's, it's worth spending just a little bit more to get the better meat when you are buying it. And then of course, when you're making it yourself, it's, it's one of the much easier ones to make. 

Mark: Yes. And it's, you know, it's a wonderful sort of out chemical process. It's, you know, it's life bubbling away in there making the, the alcohol and the CO2 and it's. It's a science project as much as anything else. And and then you have this product at the end of it. It's actually nice to drink.

Yucca: And if you're going for that witchy aesthetic, It fits in real nice there.

Mark: It does it absolutely does. You've 

Yucca: got your, own BS even better, right. You get your BS and make it with your own. yeah, 

Mark: yeah, yeah. That, that, that would be really exciting. I've I've never kept bees, but I have friends who have in there. I, in fact, I, I have a friend who used to keep bees. He doesn't anymore, and we did exchanges. You know, he, he would give me the bees, the honey that I needed to do a batch of meat.

And then I'd give him half of the need that I made. So pretty. 

Yucca: like a great deal. 

Mark: Pretty good deal all the way around. Yeah. So anyway, today's tangent is about is about Mead making and brewing. And if you're, if you're interested in getting into that and you haven't been doing it so far this, this is a, an easy recipe that is really delicious.

So it's, it's well worth giving it a shot. And the good news is that once you have the equipment to do it, then that's, that's the expense. Right? Other than the honey, that's really the expense.

Yucca: Okay. And that, and for the most part, you can use all of that for your site or two, so yeah. 

Mark: Yep. Yeah. Basically anything with romantic sugar, you can make wine that way too. It's just that wine. I mean, modern wine generally tends to be blends of several different vintages that are all kind of made to balance together and adjusted for flavor. And so. 

Yucca: Mm. 

Mark: I've never gotten into winemaking cause I live in the wine country and I can get a really good bottle of wine for 10 bucks.

So it never struck me as making much sense to try to get 30 years of experience so that I could get as good as the guy that made the wine that costs 10 bucks.

Yucca: Oh, you did mention, did we, did we talk about this while recording that that's another association that you have for this time of year? 

Mark: I did mention that briefly, but yes. This is the time of the grape harvest in my area, which is called the crush. And when you drive the rural roads in the Western part of the county, everything smells like. Fermenting grape juice. It just everywhere you go, it just smells, it fermented grape juice.

And there are giant trucks on the roads that are overflowing with bunches of grapes. It's really a pretty dramatic thing. It's a huge industry here.

Yucca: How has the harvest deer to Sierra heard? It was a little bit of a rough year. 

Mark: Yeah, because of the lack of rain. I know that there are actually a number of vineyards that have been taken out of production because. I mean, ordinarily what, the good thing about a vineyard, there are a lot of bad things about vineyards in terms of diversity and stuff. But the good thing about a vineyard is that once it's established, you generally don't have to water it.

You can dry farm. 

Yucca: Okay. 

Mark: In our, in our local environment, there's enough ambient moisture in the air and enough moisture in the soil that the grapevines will persist, but they have to be established for a couple of years with irrigation first. And we're in the middle of a drought now. So I know that there are some vineyards that have been abandoned and aren't because they, they won't be able to survive without irrigation.

And there's no water.

Yucca: Yeah, you have to have water to put out. So. 

Mark: The, the other factor though, is that the very best wine grapes are highly concentrated in flavor because they grow on hillsides. And so they have access to less water. So it may very well be that some of the flat land grapes are similarly high in quality this year, because with less water, they've grown berries that are smaller, but much more concentrated.

Yucca: And it works that way with the with Chili's too. 

Mark: Does it?

Yucca: Yeah. So there, there's all, there's a whole art to when you withhold water and when you give water to get the, to really get that wonderful spice and the flavor and all of that. 

Mark: Hmm.

Yucca: But unfortunately chilies are annuals, whereas grapes are perennials.

And so when you're mono cropping, annuals you're destroying the soil 

Mark: Yeah.

Yucca: single year. Whereas your grapes mono crops of any kind is a, is a big problem, but less so than that happened to till every year. 

Mark: Right. And we do have more and more people here who are trying to do integrated agriculture, where they'll grow other kinds of crops in the rows between the, the rows of grapes or you know, minimal pesticide use that kind of stuff that are trying to be more in balance with the natural world.

Yucca: Yeah, it seems like there'd be a lot of opportunity for that with a vineyard. 

Mark: Yeah, there is. It's just that there's a lot of expense involved and some of the things that you really need to do in order to be friendly to your local environment, welcome the birds to come and eat all your grapes.

Yucca: Yes. Well, and sometimes your trouble with, if you're growing things between then you're harvesting becomes challenging and yeah. So it's, you know, it's, it's great in principle and I think we need to work there. You know, it's things haven't shifted for a reason. There's there are challenges that we have to work through to be able to make those shifts. 

Mark: Yes. Yes. So that was your second tangent an exploration of the environmental impacts and opportunities for improvement of the wine industry. 

Yucca: Yes. 

Mark: And with that, I think we probably want to go into our final piece of discussion for you, which is that the atheopagan community is holding an in-person event.

Next year. We've mentioned this before. It's called the century retreat and it's going to be from May 13th through 16th. Of 2022 in Colorado Springs, Colorado at a retreat center. 

Yucca: Okay. 

Mark: And we are trying to get a handle on how many people are coming. So we're going to put a link in the notes. In the episode notes where you can go and you can register.

If you're, if you're planning on going you, what you do is the, the event itself for the three days cost $215, and then you select your lodging choice. And that's an additional amount, which can be anything from 15 bucks. If you're camping too, if you want a private room in a cabin, it can be quite a bit more than that.

Yucca: Or not if you're local, Right. If you're in the area,

Mark: If you're local then. Yeah, 

Yucca: It's great. Yeah. 

Mark: It's going to be a wonderful event with workshops and rituals and socializing and just all kinds of great stuff and Yucca and I are both going to be there 

Yucca: Who knows. Maybe we'll record an episode there. 

Mark: we might very well. W yeah, 

Yucca: In person. 

Mark: wouldn't that be amazing?

Yucca: Yeah. At the same table. 

Mark: So. You know, if you, if you really want to hang out with some, you know, non-ferrous pagans and do some non theist pagan stuff really consider coming and joining us, we would love to have you be a part of that event. And as I said, we'll put a link to the the registration page with all the information in the episode notes.

So we hope we'll see you there.

Yucca: And it, it feels like a long time away, but it's really not. So, and that's why we're trying to get that handle on the numbers and see how many people are coming, because it's going to be here before we know it.

Mark: that's right. That's right. Well, happy Equinox, Yucca.

Yucca: Likewise, mark. And thank you for another wonderful discussion. So I can't believe we've we're already, already at the Equinox yet.

Another one. 

Mark: yeah. In fact that makes, that means we've been going here for more than a year and a half yeah. Something like six weeks, more than a year and a half. So it's kind of amazing. 

Yucca: it is. 

Mark: Yeah. All right. Well, thank you so much and we'll see you next week. 

Yucca: All right.