An entire goat arrived today by post. It is a little strange, but stranger still is that it arrived from Western China over the New Year celebration. Everything stops dead here during this holiday season. Web sites say they will not ship until the 14th. But, it is the 18th you say, so you mean in March? No, the 14th of the month. Huh? When Chinese New Year (CNY) comes around the solar calendar goes out the window and everyone refers to the lunar dates…it is confusing…here try this:
CNY: A year in the Chinese calendar begins on the second new moon after the winter solstice, unless an intercalary month moves it to the third new moon.
Correspondence between solar terms and lunar months
The month is a lunar term, and the Chinese calendar is a lunisolar term. So the month name is corresponding to the solar term.
Generally, the midpoint of the solar term decides the month name.
Winter solstice decides Dongyue. Great cold decides Layue. Rain water decides Zhengyue. Vernal equinox decides Eryue. Grain rain decides Sanyue.
Grain full decides Siyue. Summer solstice decides Wuyue. Great heat decides Liuyue. Limit of heat decides Qiyue. Autumnal equinox decides Bayue.
Frost’s descentdecides Jiuyue. Light snow decides Shiyue. And a month without a midpoint of solar term is an intercalary month.
But, the nodes and midpoints of the solar terms are decided by true sun position after 1645, and the dys between the midpoints near to the perihelion may be 29 days. But, the month length may be 30 days.
It means that there’re possibly 2 midpoints in a month. If one of the two midpoints is winter solstice, the month should be defined as Dongyue compulsorily. The month before/after Dongyue may be not corresponding to the solar term. for example:
The ligth snow and winter solstice in 2033 is occuring in the same month. The month should be Dongyue. But, the months before/after the Dongyue may be not corresponding to the solar term.
1. There’s no midpoint in the month before the Autumn equinox, is Bayue aginst Intercalary month.
2. The month with autumn equinox is Jiuyue against Bayue
3. The month with frost’s descent is Shiyue against Jiuyue
4. There’s no midpoint in the month before Vernal equinox is Zhengyue against Intercalary month.
It’s an exception. Certainly, the exceptions are rare. In the 600 years from 1810 to 2409, there’re 7421 months. only 11 months meet the wrong midpoint of the solar term, and 19 months(except the intercalary month) miss the midpoint of the solar term.
Got it? I didn’t think so, neither do I. It doesn’t really matter. We will all get it in fifty or so years when China runs everything. The mighty J decided we needed a real lamb from his driver’s village in Western Mongolia. He was told it would be impossible because everything was closed and no one was shipping. So, he browbeat the shipping company to send it anyway cost be damned. He and China are surreal. Can you imagine a UPS customer service representative getting a call from a customer saying they want a package delivered on such and such a date and the agent trying to tell the customer that they are closed for some holiday and being browbeaten and asked what it will take to get it done? Let me speak to your manager…and so on and so forth until it happens. I would like to have been a fly on that wall.
We opened the Styrofoam coffin and there was the most beautiful lamb, dead thank God (you never know with J.), and frozen. We laughed and shook our heads. Morning plans scuttled, I had to deal with it. It had been gutted and emptied and skinned. The fat was beautiful and there was a wild gamy smell we don’t find much in lamb anymore. I miss that. I took the little guy apart (sorry no pictures) and tonight for dinner we will have the entire rib cage and chops grilled over an oak wood fire. They are marinating in olive oil and fresh garlic, rosemary and thyme. Polenta and stir-fry greens will accompany it. I would kill for a great glass of red wine, a Pauillac, an ’82? Oh well…I should find out what awful white lightening they serve out in Western Mongolia and get some. I had a New Year’s experience last week with a grain alcohol with deer whip soaking in it. I don’t remember a thing and my brother’s landlord who hosted the event was in worse shape than I was. I went from sober to comatose in about an hour and ten minutes. Scary!
Marinade for lamb:
Zest of a half lemon chopped into a bruniose
2 Racks of ribs from shoulder to butt (ribs untrimmed shouldbe 26 ribs including floating one)
5 sprigs fresh rosemary (stems removed)
10 sprigs fresh thyme (stems removed)
Fresh black pepper
One head of garlic smashed
1 cup good olive oil
Kosher salt for after grilling
Split the racks into double chops leaving the entire rib for gnawing. Trim any excess fat you don’t want to eat. They will look like long little lamb-sicles. Place on a non-reactive container, stainless steel, or plastic. Add all ingredients except the salt and let it sit for a half day.
Get a good fire going and wait until coals are red with a coat of ash. The fire is a 4 second fire, which means that you should not be able to hold your hand over it two inches away from the gill for more than four seconds. Grill the chops turning only once to the desired doneness. I like them rare to medium rare…so about 3 to five minutes a side. Serve immediately and let the cave person come out. EAT WITH YOUR HANDS and GNAW…drink whatever you will.