I cannot be mad at the golden globs of sunshine that reflect nothing but sultry beauty and hint at a waiting good time.
Coloring within the strict boundaries of life appeals to many; me included. I am a determined woman who lives by a fairly rigid code of what I will and will not venture to do. I do not usually hesitate to say “no,” and few would call me a go-along gal. It is no surprise that when Frenchy Cannoli provided me the opportunity to begin a totally different career making hash, I was not eager to jump on it. Rather, I saw this new undertaking as a diversion from my plan to create a media empire from the bottom up. Thankfully I did eventually acquiesce as that decision did indeed change by path, propelling me to heights within the cannabis industry that I could have only fantasized. Being a hashmaker has brought me to other countries and immersed me into other fascinating cultures which have deepened my relationship with cannabis and the ambassadors and advocates for this plant.
I have experienced quite an arc of disgust, tolerance, acceptance, and outright embracing of cannabis. Initially, as a product of Nancy Reagan’s ‘Just Say No’ era, I was completely opposed to the use of cannabis for anything. After learning the truth, I became a cannabis warrior committed to spreading cannabis positivity. I am proud to have grown this mighty plant for 14 years. With unwavering resolve, I grew cannabis before it was an idea that it would ever be allowed. The illegality of my actions could not trump the responsibility I felt to put my passion and know how into furthering the acceptance of this plant. I truly believe that cannabis can and will save the world.
Four years ago, with my husband and cats, I moved to California to join the above-ground cannabis market. I was fortunate to meet Frenchy at the 2014 Medical High Times Cup being held in Santa Rosa. It was at this event that I was introduced to real hash for the first time. Not long afterwards, Frenchy offered me the chance to make Hashish. I could not have known what saying yes to that proposal would do for me. Being Frenchy’s first personal student has opened a significant number of doors for me, both domestically and internationally.
When visiting Irún in the Basque Country (between Spain and France) for Expo Grow 2015, I first encountered the Yellowstone. After being recognized from Instagram by Victor of R-Kiem Seeds, I was invited to enjoy a dab or two off of the Sublimator at his booth. Fully ensconced within this hash culture, jars of resin were everywhere. I marveled at one particular bit of hash that had turned to oil without ever being pressed, or made into rosin. I remember being completely dumbfounded. By now, I have seen several examples of this behavior, my creations included, but at the time I was unaware of the possibility. I made such a fuss about the Yellowstone that the following year, Victor told the breeder, The Kush Brothers Seeds, who graciously gifted me and my husband Nicholas a large bag (at least 200 seeds) of Yellowstone genetics.
Living in Oakland, California, under the restrictions and allowances of Proposition 215, SB 420, and Measure Z, I was able to use my rooftop to grow dozens of cannabis plants outside. I intended my 2017 outdoor garden to be full of Spanish genetics. I popped four Yellowstone seeds and tended to her explosive growth in the California air. I was really looking forward to the balance of relaxation and euphoric cerebral highs afforded by the Cheese and The Darkside ancestry. She had thin, bright green leaves, and tons of medium-sized lime-green buds clustered along her many branches. While growing, she had a tropical aroma layered with spice and sandalwood.
After harvest, washing the Yellowstone was a breeze. At 13% yield, the return was more than satisfactory. The patties in my bags were thick and tan-colored. Even wet, the clean heads tantalized with their unmistakable gleam. There was gold in my bags; ready for the enjoyment. My only twinge of regret came from not having at my disposal a freeze dryer which would ensure the lightest color and I would be able to sample in 24 hours. Therefore, I had to dry the old school way – sieving onto parchment. Though I was eager to be able to try the resin, but I would just have to wait. After four days of checking the drying process it was ready.
I open each of the pizza boxes that have protected the resin for the past several days. Immediately a sweet cheesy aroma reaches my nose. There is no denying these particular genetics. Most of the parchment paper is covered in twinkling resin that resembles champagne diamonds. I feel tempted to leave the resin in this state, but I want the benefit of partial decarbing the resin. By pressing the hash using Frenchy’s hot water bottle technique, I can convert a significant portion of the THC-A to more readily available THC.
Being that it was grown outdoors and then air dried in a chilled (but less than ideal) climate, the resin is a deep amber color. Though the Hashish is not lightly hued, it is absolutely gorgeous to me. I cannot be mad at the golden globs of sunshine that reflect nothing but sultry beauty and hint at a waiting good time.
As the resin is very clean, the pressing process happens quickly. Placing the resin in a turkey bag, I methodically roll a hot bottle of water over the surface; heating and flattening the trichome heads. Sooner than expected, a thin, translucent disc has formed. I pause for about 30 seconds to allow it to cool before swiftly ripping off the resin in 4 short tugs. Still warm, the resin slowly attempts to fold over and stick to itself. In a deft move, I spread the resin on my left hand and begin to roll the Hashish into a cannoli; the shape which Frenchy used to prefer. Placing it on parchment paper, I discontinue my intense manipulation of the resin. To be at its best, it actually needs to rest.
Two days later, I figure the resin has had enough time to settle down. I am ready to sample it. The cannoli still appears light and flaky; nucleation (buttering) has not taken place. I bring it close to my nose and inhale the telltale sweetness of the Cheese parentage followed by tangy fruits. I break off a medium-sized piece and the resin cracks like shatter. Using the newly adopted cold start method, I drop the chunk onto the banger and then begin to torch the bottom. Unlike the practice of old, concentrate is now placed into the banger/trough/bucket, heated and then inhaled within seconds. The action of getting dabs now takes less than 30 seconds and is much more dialed-in than before. As I expect, the Hashish starts to bubble slowly before sliding all over the banger. I am quite pleased to see that my efforts have yielded full melt bubble hash which will leave only the slightest trace of residue. It would have broken my heart to not have similar results to the Yellowstone sample I had seen three years ago.
The vapor enters my lungs so silently that I look at the banger to see if I have hit it at all. I exhale, and am pleasantly surprised to see the huge cloud that tumbles out of my mouth. Too busy admiring the dab action, my brain seems to have barely acknowledged the inhale. However, I soon feel my face getting hot. My eyes start to water, but the tears do not fall onto my cheeks. Is has been a while since I dabbed and I am feeling the stark difference between smoking joints and vaping dank. I am getting zings straight to my dome. Nicholas has been watching and after his dab he is charged up to do absolutely anything. For him, that means to go out and socialize. I am not so sure. I feel good right here with my tart sweetness and blissful calm rolling over me like a soothing blanket. He persists, babbling about the unusually warm weather, and after saying ‘no’ more than once, I finally relent.
Though I am initially reluctant, preferring to stay in my warm apartment on this side of the Bay, Nicholas and I eventually venture out to San Francisco to enjoy a time-worn weekend past time. On Sundays especially, thousands of people congregate on the 16 acres of rolling hills of Mission Delores Park. Since the 60s, people of all walks of life have settled on the green slopes; indulging in the freedom that is the bastion of San Francisco existence. Today, as we walk across the pedestrian bridge we take in the magnificent, unobstructed view of downtown SF. The fading sun glints against the towering glass buildings and the sky is bathed in a mixture of purple and pink; lending a surreal texture to the panoramic view. We stop at the top of the steps where a group of tattooed guys blaring the latest Reggaeton are trying very hard to look tough in an effort to impress a group of young ladies who are paying the barest amount of attention. I pull out a fat joint of Yellowstone weed and Hashish and, to the astonishment of the men, begin puffing so hard, the area quickly fills with smoke. Glancing over at the ladies, I see they are smiling at me in appreciation. I guess they are not so blind after all.
We walk down the stairs and into the lush green park. Everywhere I turn, park goers are engaged in a myriad of activities. Several groups of people seem to be playing a nonsensical games of simply running down the hill without falling. Costumed men and women prance about as if Halloween had been extended. Many genres of music blares from every corner. Lovers tune out the presence of everyone and cozy up to each other; and the jugglers with their multi-hued props enrapture everyone around them. It is a visual circus in which I am mildly interested, but in which I do not quite feel a part. Amidst all of the hubbub I spot a relatively quiet patch of grass and we sit down. All of this stimulation reminds me it is definitely time to up my THC level.
I take my pipe out and admire the orange and yellow colors that swirl over the piece. I cannot help but smile recalling that it was such beautiful and charming glass that provided the last push for me to try cannabis in the first place 16 years ago. After years of saying no, I had said yes and jumped into the completely new world of cannabis appreciation. I am lost in reverie for a few minutes when Nicholas softly jabs me in my side. Tilting his head to the diminishing sun, he silently urges me to take a dab.
I look around, wondering if anyone will notice and/or mind if I show my blowtorch. Less than five paces on each side of me, people are pulling on their joints and cigarettes; and at least one person has the screwed up face of someone who is chewing and putting forth the intense effort to swallow magic mushrooms. Here and now is as good a time and place as any.
I fire up the torch and cover the rod with blue and orange flame. As it glows, my anticipation grows. I touch the heated dabber to the resin perched on the side of the pipe and immediately the hash begins to bubble furiously. Turning the quartz rod to and fro, I delight in watching the resin melt before my eyes. I pull on the pipe harshly and bluish-grey smoke slides easily into my mouth. The flavor of warm oranges like marmalade teases and tempts me before being chased down with a deluge of peppercorns and sweet chili. With no inclination to cough, I let the smoke out and the slightest hint of lemon/lime is left behind. I love to smoke cannabis that is layered with both bold and subtle flavors. Each time I inhale, I get a slightly different concoction.
We sit in quiet comfort watching the light fade as we pass the pipe back and forth. Perched high above the city, I sense there are countless opportunities at my fingertips if I only have the courage to say yes to all. As a gust of wind blows by, I can feel I have about 5 more minutes of tolerance of the increasingly chillier temperature. Just as I am about to call it quits, we are approached by a beautiful woman looking both surprised and excited. She begins to gush about seeing me in the park and how honored she and her boyfriend would be to learn more from me. With my head filled to the brim with Yellowstone-induced confidence and curiosity, I quickly accept when invited to her house. Mind you, I do not know her at all, but for some reason, I feel unusually comfortable venturing into her private realms.
The next day, bolstered by the Yellowstone Hashish, I head out to see the couple. When I arrive, waiting for me is a smorgasbord of sensual delights to make me smile. The woman, Ananda, offers me coffee and snacks while her boyfriend Gabriel sheepishly sits up at the table; peering between his hash creations and mine. I have brought over some whole plant fresh frozen self-pressed Strawberry Lemonade Hashish made from material from Genetix Nursery. Just as I was fascinated by the Yellowstone in 2015, so is the hashmaking couple delighted by the oily Hashish that needs no pressing. I pack my Daniele chillum with Yellowstone flower topped with Yellowstone Hashish and explain the nuances which have made the Strawberry Lemonade so special.
I am not sure if it is the length of time that I spend there, natural relaxation, or the Yellowstone, but within 30 minutes, all signs of nervousness have ceased. We have been passing the chillum and apparently, the calm and tranquility has been appreciated by all of us. By the time I leave 3 hours later, we have a tentative working relationship established and plans to host parties together in the future.
My next stop is at a close friend’s house to introduce her to cannabis for the first time. I normally would not assent to smoking with a total newbie (I have had lots of bad experiences), but when she asked me, I had been smoking Yellowstone like a chimney, so my answer was a cheery “Yes!” She opens the door with the fear in her eyes. Her facial expression betrays her imminent decision to scrap the whole idea altogether. I smile and she invites me into her warm living room. I know she must be feeling awkward and struggling with the past beliefs which have prevented her from trying cannabis up until now. I take a seat on her plush leather couch and turn to her with a small smile. I am keenly aware of her worry and anxiety. Since the Yellowstone Hashish has been so good at opening me up to new experiences, I roll her a small joint of Yellowstone flower and calmly instruct her on how to inhale properly. In between my instruction, I puff on my chillum which has been pre packed with Yellowstone flower and Hashish. As conversation continues, I sense I am on her same wavelength, but significantly more magnified. After about 15 minutes, she reports that she does not feel wildly changed, but she does feel very calm and chill. That’s good news to hear. As I have realized over the past few years, sometimes, having a smoke is just about calming the storm, rather than reveling in shooting fireworks. My chillum puffing is quite intense. The spicy notes combined with the balmy citrus are a rocket of joy into my brain. On each inhale, I feel myself expanding from the inside out. By now, I am practically a pro at letting my boundaries down. My friend is reacting similarly. Always one to keep a tight rein on her emotions, she is revealing to me her private fears and concerns as I nonchalantly take massive hits off of the clay pipe.
We smoke on and off for another hour and our bonding is very pleasurable. She does not commit to smoking again, but I know that this experience has been good for her. When I leave, she is smiling a little and she assures me she is well. Not two days later, she calls me asking me for more. She has said yes to cannabis and I am over the moon.
For some, saying yes with no questions is a big commitment. Those of us who maintain tight control over every aspect of our lives should be willing to let loose a little in order to take advantage of the millions of opportunities for excitement and spontaneity in our lives. I am thankful that the Yellowstone Hashish provides a doorway through which countless new experiences can be had and multitude of memories made. After all, who can grow by always saying no?
Bred by KushBrothers Seeds
Grown and Produced by The Dank Duchess
Words by The Dank Duchess
Originally published by Weed World Magazine issue 138