We’ve been trying to come up with a name for our next cider this past week. Name brainstorming is always kind of hard for us because it requires devoting a fair bit of time to just thinking, and when there is always so much to be done in the cellar and at the cidery and in life in general, it’s hard to be still and just think.
This cider is made from several really beautiful heirloom apples that we’ve never worked with before, and for our first time, it won’t be carbonated. Still ciders are quite common in England but not so much in the U.S., so it may not always be still because, quite frankly, we’re not sure how people will react to something so unexpected. It’s super tannic with a ton of minerality, stone fruit and clove. It’s going to be so grownup.
So, stillness is the theme and I’ve therefore found myself suddenly seeing it in everything. For one thing, with a new baby and a toddler about to turn 2, I’m not physically still very often these days and I often find myself longing for the chance. Beets is impatient, as toddlers go, and acts like we live in some kind of Jetsons future where all things should be put before her instantaneously upon demand. I ‘m constantly telling her “Wait,” and “You have to be patient”. We’re currently learning how to react to her temper flareups and one thing we’ve found works well is to distract her by asking her to notice things. So as she grew restless on our walk home last night, Nick said, “Beets, look at the sky, what do you see? Do you see the moon? Look at the trees without their leaves, what do they look like?” Before we knew it she was sitting there calmly – still, except to excitedly point out the moon, which had grown a quarter in thickness since we’d last been out looking at it.
If you’re a gardener you’ll be able to relate to the impatience I’ve felt all through January and will likely feel somewhat into February. With the cold snaps everything looks dead and brown. I’ve been itching to grab my secateurs, to prune everything back within an inch of its life, then watch as green darts out from what looks like a bunch of sticks. I walked through my garden the other day, shears in hand like I had my finger on the trigger while knowing I really shouldn’t do anything and feeling a bit depressed about it, actually. But you know and I know that we have to wait. This is the time as a gardener to be still, patient, and trust that there’s life out there yet.
Incidentally in the midst of my gloom I then went to check on our chickens. We have 5 but 4 are juveniles and haven’t begun laying yet. The 5th, Peeta, I had thought was finished giving me eggs and so I’d stopped even checking the nesting box, but something caught my eye and I found I had 5(!) eggs from her. That lifted my spirits a bit – there’s life out there yet!
Back to the name of this cider, Nick has suggested the word “Whist”. It is kind of an old English word meaning “still” or “silence” (it is also a card game which ain’t a bad reference either). Anyway, I like it. I like that we will probably release this one each year around this time, and Januarys and Februarys should be still. I just like how it sounds…without getting too lamely poetic it sounds like the wind through leafless trees, a sound I can hear right now if I just take a minute to be still. -LP