Sunday, January 31, 2010

Pumpkin-Raisin Wine!

6 gallons of pumpkin-raisin bottled today. That made 32 bottles of varying capacities, freeing up my 6-gallon carboy for another batch of something later on. I also have 3 gallons of a blush made from 8 cans of Welch's frozen grape juice concentrate bubbling away, and 3 gallons of Wild Grape Eiswein ready to bottle. 2010 will be a busy year if I intend to hit that 200 gallon/year family limit imposed by the BATF...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apple announces the iPad!

I'll take one with the extra absorbent wings, please.

Those are great for first aid kits or when the hemorrhoids really flare up.

Oh, it's not one of those?

You mean it's just an Apple Newton v2.0?

No thanks.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Hoar Frost!

Yeah, that's what it's called. When fog condenses onto stuff that's below freezing in surface temperature, you get some really interesting frost formations. What's bad for airplanes is somewhat striking on ground-based objects.

The Jeep's antenna:

Wild grapes and plums in my back yard:

Pine boughs loaded down:

Pan back to see the frost on the pines, larger scale:

Raspberry wine

I had a few pounds of fresh raspberries from my folks' farm that I'd frozen last year for use later on. I needed the freezer space, and had a couple empty 1 gallon carboys sitting idle, so why not?

Mush 'em up and scoop 'em into the carboy:

Add sugar, water, yeast, etc. - then wait for the magic to happen!

They're sitting next to a couple gallons made from fresh McIntosh apples that I made into applesauce. Those in turn are sitting next to 6 gallons of pumpkin-raisin wine, almost ready to bottle and distribute:

The 2010 wine season is in full swing!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Majestic Birds

We spent today with my folks at the family farm, delivering wine and tech support for a cranky Linksys router. Upon arrival, we were startled to see some rather large raptors winging their way overhead. Apparently, with the removal of the dams on the Baraboo River, fish have been able to move more easily up the river. The bald eagle population has taken notice of this, and to date, about 85 of the majestic birds have taken up stations where the fast-moving water of the Baraboo River prevents ice from forming. (The river drops nearly 40 feet in elevation from behind my parents' farm to the Circus World Museum just a couple miles downstream)

We drove along the river towards Portage to get a better idea of the invasion, and we saw several of these big birds, both juveniles and adults, making the best of the fishing. One juvenile was down on the icy banks working over a gizzard shad he had just caught, when a fox rushed him - ostensibly to steal the catch. Suffice it to say, the young eagle simply took to the air with his meal, leaving the fox with nothing for his efforts but an eagle-generated breeze. Impressive, and I'm going back with my "serious" camera next weekend to get more pics.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The $19.00 Kershaw

Last November, REI ran a special sale on Kershaw Storm II knives, marked down to an attractive $19.00 each.

I'm normally a Benchmade kind of guy, but I simply couldn't resist at the price listed. I use my pocket folding knives (usually a Benchmade Eclipse) every day at work, home, and afield, so I was intrigued by the Ken Onion design enough to buy a couple of them.

It's been about two months now, and I've thoroughly abused the one pictured below, with little sign of it giving up any time soon. It's definitely heavier than my Benchmade, and although I had misgivings about the stainless alloy, the 3.5" blade has held its edge quite well, even when ripping through cardboard packaging, etc.

Save for my little CRKT KISS serrated folder, I shy away from liner lock and frame lock knives. This Kershaw Storm II may have changed my prejudices against the design - it's pretty darned solid, once you get over the stigma of having your thumb in the path of the folding blade as you move the lock aside.

All in all, a darned good knife for the price. I just wish I had purchased a few more...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Smashing Pumpkins break...

Ever drive home with just you and several hundred watts making you forget about your day at work?

Today was one of those days for me.

What better than Billy Corgan and crew with "Everlasting Gaze"?







Sunday, January 10, 2010

Irish Nachos!

It was hovering around zero degrees today, and once I got inside from letting the dogs run around outside, it was time to warm up. I fired up our Emerilware/T-Fal deep fryer so that the peanut oil would level off at a nice 350 degrees, then went to work.

1. Slice potatoes w/skin into rounds, similar to cottage fries.

2. Deep-fry potatoes until crispy.

3. Place in skillet with sliced jalapenos and shredded Colby/Jack cheese, then bake in 350 degree oven until gooey.

Voila'! After a bit in the oven, you have Irish Nachos! Enjoy! (I know we did...)

If you can't win the argument, just threaten to punch 'em in the face!

So as I follow the threads posted by Tam and Roberta, we discover Douchebaggery at its finest. Thanks to Mr. Weerdbeard's investigative technique, we also discover that the "pleasant" fellow in question also has ambitions for public office:

How Deep the Rabbit Hole?

More info and a nice poster regarding this particular character, here:

Rob Russell is staying classy!

You're one hell of a guy, "Rob". I'm a conservative, and would also be more than happy to give you my address. Hell, I'll even give you the first few swings, free of charge. That rumor about me being retired career military with a wall full of combat decorations? It's just a rumor. I'm a pussycat, really.