Listening to an old episode of Bonanza while working in my office, and I heard mention of “tarantula juice” , so I did a quick look up during leftover taco lunch, and it is more interesting than I’d hoped.
“For those settlers, miners and prospectors living on the east slope of the Sierra Nevada, the local drink of choice was “Tarantula Juice.” This home-brewed beverage imparted a nasty “bite” due to the strychnine added to it. Strychnine is a poison, but in the early 19th century French scientists had promoted a diluted strychnine/prussic acid mixture as a cure for pulmonary disorders. In lethal doses, strychnine kills quickly.
In Carson Valley, traders purchased a strychnine solution in Placerville, California and then added it to what they called “gin.” Carson Valley gin was wood grain alcohol made from turpentine, oil of vitriol, rosin and essence of laurel. Sometime around 1852, local Nevada fiddle player “Dutch Nick” Ambrose added prussic acid as well as tobacco oil to his concoction and called it Tarantula Juice.
Strychnine is an alkaloid and probably produced an effect similar to the drug methamphetamine. The erratic bursts of nervous energy coupled with heavy alcohol consumption often resulted in violence. The moniker “Tarantula” alluded to more than the drink’s bite.
Historian C.W. Bayer wrote, “As the pleasurable effects of the strychnine whiskey wore off, muscle spasms set in and the celebrant’s skin would crawl as if covered by dozens of baby tarantulas. The name seems to have derived because men ordered two tumblers. The second tumbler remained for early morning — so as to combat the muscle spasms, the lockjaw. Left upon the table until midnight, a spare tumbler of the ‘juice’ killed off the baby tarantulas — that feeling of small hairy arms creeping upon the flesh as limbs began to stiffen.”
Mark Twain mentions miners afflicted with these “spiders” in his book “Roughing It.”
As the moon rose high in the sky, casting its silver light upon the world below, I emerged from the shadows to prepare our meal. With practiced ease and stealthy grace, I gathered the ingredients: beans, veggie meat, flour tortillas, shredded cheese, taco seasoning and taco sauce. The aroma of spices filled the air as I heated up the beans and veggie meat in a pan and added the taco seasoning. Then I warmed up the tortillas and assembled the burritos with care, spooning the beans and veggie meat onto the tortillas, adding shredded cheese and a drizzle of taco sauce before rolling them up. The result was a symphony of flavors, a satisfying and healthy meal that even cryptids like @maximillian_deersteak and myself could enjoy. (If I do say so myself)
Today was the day I had to really dig in and pack up my man cave / office. It had been a long time since I last used this room, as it had become mostly a storage space for things I didn’t need or want anymore. It was a mess of boxes, bags, and piles of stuff about which I had long forgotten.
I am still sorting through the room, just taking a break on the couch before dinner. I look around the room, feeling a mix of emotions. I have spent hours sorting through my belongings, deciding what to keep, what to donate, what to trash. It is to a degree a bittersweet process, saying goodbye to things that have once been part of my life, but now only hold me back. I also feel a sense of relief, knowing that some of my things will make someone else happy. I still have a long way to go before I am finished, but I’ve made a decent start. Moving can be stressful, but also exciting.
I’m looking forward to having more room, and stuff well organized for a change.
No pancakes for me this morning, we ran out of time, and went to do dunkin…which was a major line up. So, off to sonic for lunch! I got a breakfast burrito (no sausage) and tots, while Mrs Mermaid got her beloved footlong with chili and cheese.
FIL smartly got a milkshake and I stole pulls off of Mrs cherry limeade after I drank down my other drink I had with.
MIL got a jr burger and a pretzel.
My tummy is now quite satisfied, but I wouldn’t mind some donuts or pancakes tomorrow.
After, we hit the farm stand and snagged some watermelon and peaches (for mrs), blueberries and jalapeno cheese focaccia (for me), lemons for everyone.
Good restful start to a nice weekend, hope all those who are able have a sweet one too!
We came down from the mountains yesterday, and today we went to visit my wife’s family on the Chesapeake Bay. They live in a charming little town where everyone knows each other and the smell of saltwater is always in the air. I felt welcome among them, as usual. Crab dinner
We had dinner at their place overlooking the bay. The sun was setting and the sky was ablaze with colors. My wife and her mother had crab legs, cracking them open with their teeth and sucking out the meat. I had a veggie burger, corn and baked potato. I enjoyed the conversation, and despite my back tricking up a bit.
After dinner, I offered to help with some tech issues they had. They had a Samsung smart TV that they wanted to connect to a few different streaming sites, but it really wasnt up to the task. I ordered then a fire stick and will set them up with it tomorrow. (I do like how fast stuff gets here, evil Amazon has a few warehouse locations nearby.)
It’s nice to visit the bay again, but I already miss our home in the mountains. I look forward to the return trip. Meanwhile, I can pack up some of the secondary stuff up for the next journey back, and enjoy visits with more bay-pals soon.
Looks like Old Yeti Scotto and his Uncanny Cryptid Zoo Crew are working their way down the mountains, back to the beach for a little while. Spending some quality time with Chessie and the other bay beasts, and gathering the remainder of our stuff before we head back up to the Blue Ridge, where we rightfully belong.
It was a long journey, filled with discoveries of the past and free milkshakes.