Brewing Thoughts

February 12, 2008

Coming Out of Hibernation – Brain Dump

Filed under: Family,Food,Homebrewing,Politics — jidd @ 12:03 pm

What? An actual post?  Well, if any of you out there are still reading this page… (other than the comment spammers that is) it’s time for an update.  I’m just going to dump all the things that have been lingering in the back of my brain that I’ve wanted to post about.

Family
So, what’s new?  Hmm… Melanie will be 4 months old tomorrow.  I can’t believe how much she has changed already.  We haven’t weighed her recently, but she’s gotta be up around 13 or 14 lbs now.  She’s gotten out of the “lump o’ baby” phase and has gotten playful and is starting to have personality.  So far, her eyes are still a beautiful bright blue and her hair looks more auburn all the time.  I’m not sure where her blue eyes came from, but I hope they stay that way.

Melanie’s dedication is at church this weekend.  My folks are going to be down from Oregon, so we’re in full house-overhaul mode at home.  Between taking care of Melanie, taking care of her grandparents, and trying to get the house in order poor Courtney hasn’t hardly gotten any rest at all lately.

Home
Speaking of getting the house in order…  1 year after moving in I finally got around to getting the front door fully operational.  Back when we moved in, our Realtor got the house re-keyed for us (thanks Margy!).  However, the locksmith said that our 85 year old front door lock which was without a key was irreparable, so we’ve just used the side doors that come off the driveway as the main entry.  As Courtney will attest, I don’t take “It Can’t Be Done” very well.  I set about researching this door lock and finding a way.  Last weekend, for the first time I was able to walk out the front door, lock it behind me, and use a key to get back in through the same door.  It’s the small things.

The landscaping is still, well, nearly non-existant. A while back I had some guys come in and drop a few trees and grind the stumps.  One tree was alread dead, one was a fruiting mulberry that made a huge mess, and the 3rd was a gnarly old fig tree stump that just kept sending up runners and refusing to die). The same guys graded the front yard and cut it down a few inches to accommodate new sod, and did most of the trenching I needed done in order to install sprinklers.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve never done sprinklers before and made a few mistakes along the way.  Not the least of which was ripping out about 15′ of our main water line thinking it was an old sprinkler line.  Anyhow, between being sick, being busy, or having rain every weekend, they’ve been stuck at about 80% completion most of the winter.  But I did get a few tree roses planted along the walkway. =)

Food
I am finding myself increasingly distracted by all things food.  Well, maybe not quite all things, but enough.  As most of you know, I’ve brewed beer for a few years know.  Well, I started a few years ago, took a hiatus, and am now getting back to it. I have a passable batch of Belgian White on tap at the moment, and plans for an Irish Stout and a Red Ale as soon as time permits.  Also, within the last year I’ve started roasting my own coffee.  There is really something wonderfully alive about fresh coffee that hasn’t sat on a shelf slowly dying for who know how long.  Also, I have a batch of homemade Lemon Cello underway.  Not strictly “lemon” cello, I made it from a combination of Meyer lemons, regular lemons, and a little bit of orange. It should be ready sometime after Valentines Day.

Besides that, lately I’ve been making homemade yogurt, granola, chicken stock, chili powder, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting.

Most recently, I’m fixated on meat.  Not just  your standard steak, chicken & pork chops. Au contraire.  I want to cure, smoke, brine, age, grind, and eat my way through a pile of carcasses big enough to fill a cellar.  But wouldn’t that would mean that I’ll need to build a smokehouse and root cellar?  Sure, but for some reason I don’t find this daunting.  Wouldn’t any sane person think of this and say, “but I can buy sausage, bacon and pastrami at the market/butcher.”  Why doesn’t my brain work that way?  I see a slab of bacon at the store and dream of how much better you could make it at home.  German sausage? Yeah, I love the stuff.  Why can’t I just be content to eat it at the Sale or buy it from some guy in Reedley? Sure, zwieback seems to be the holy grail of Mennonite food for some reason.  While I don’t have anything against the stuff, I’m just not that interested in making it.  Surely sausage making is a higher calling.  Surely, my desire to do this indicates some sort of mental illness.

Politics
Hmm… another area that I have some firm opinions about but haven’t had (taken) the time to fully indulge recently.  But here are a few briefs: 1) Ron Paul – I don’t know much about him other than that he is supposedly a libertarian in republican clothing.  Being libertarian myself, I really need to look into this more.  I think it’s safe to say that his changes at the oval office are laughable right now, but in general anyone that can bring libertarian principals into the discussion and public eye is a Good Thing©.

On a related note, this is an interesting article on how much our government’s war on marijuana costs us every year.  Very bad things happen when you artificially criminalize something which fundamentally should be a matter of personal choice.  Just like during Prohibition, our government has created a situation where obscene amounts of taxpayer money are spent to enforce a law that is simply unjust and completely contradicts basic American principles.  Black markets are created, taxpayer money is wasted, lives are ruined, and for what?  Our national panties are in such a knot over marijuana that we’ve utterly abandoned an amazingly beneficial crop that our government used to beg farmers to grow.   If you have time, give that first article a read.  It is brief, and it does a pretty good job of putting into perspective the scale of the resources that are spent on this menace.

Anyhow, if you’ve made it this far, I apologize.  I’m sure there is more, but I’ve subjected you to enough abuse for now.

Cheers,
JD

April 19, 2007

But Where is All the Beer?

Filed under: Homebrewing — jidd @ 7:02 am

Finish Your BeerSigh… So, as some of you know, we bought a house. Yee haw. We’re trying to get things together for a little Cinco de Mayo shindig. The beer fridge is in place, the taps are ready to go. But alas, there is no brew in brewville. I have ingredients for 4 batches (Irish Stout, Witbier, Mild Brown, and a tweaked Irish Red). They are just sitting. Waiting. Calling to me… But for some reason things like backed up sewer lines and “getting moved in” have taken precedent. Blast the responsibilities, I want to brew!

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