Archive for the ‘wine’ Tag

03-26-2018 My New 21st Century Addiction   2 comments

I haven’ t posted anything since the start of the year and I’m feeling a little guilty.  Having a blog is like having an ungratful child.  It’s a lot of work for which I receive virtually no gratitude.  I especially miss the less than friendly emails received from my more liberal readers.  My life has been empty without their caustic comments and endless political preaching.  I’ve relegated them to a dustly shelf in my mancave where everything that bores me is stored.

Enough of that . . .  On to other matters concerning my newest and least satisfying addiction.  I’ve known for sometime that I have an addictive personality.  As a very young man I had a tremendous taste for beer.  It got me into some trouble in my teens and I had to finally let it go. No more of that nasty brew.  Then in my twenties I turned my attention to cigarettes and the occasion toke of giggle weed.  Both of which hung on until my thirites when I saw the light and quit smoking everything.  No more happiness weed and no more cigarettes.  I got healthy, hit the gym, and finally (according to my mother) turned myself into a beautiful and productive person.

As the years rolled along I ended my addiction to marriage and lived a rather raucous and crazy few years filled with wine women and song.  Yes I’d finally discovered a taste for wine and women but no matter what I did I couldn’t carry a tune. As is usual the combination of wine and women got me into considerable trouble as well. I finally met, fell in love, and settled down with the love-of-my-life, stopped drinking wine and turned instead to brandy.

The next to go was the damn brandy. While I enjoyed the brandy drinking experience it was rather boring and I had to stop. I hate spending that kind of money on alcohol that tastes great but I get no glow.  No glow means you got to go and it did.  So currently I’ve reduced my addictions to just three.  My woman is here to stay, thats #1, and thank god for a continuous supply of Jack Daniels (thats #2).  I’ve limited myself to just two or three Jack & Pepsi’s a week (and maybe a few more if we have visitors). Things seem to be working out perfectly almost . . .

My last remaining addiction is without a doubt the worst.  I’ve rid myself of a major television addiction 2 years ago when I could no longer stand watching 10 minutes of commercials every half hour. I told Dish Network to cancel my account and signed up immediately with Netflix and Amazon for streaming service.  Unfortuneately streaming is a double-edged sword.  Being generous I estimate that both streaming services are 80% crap and only 20% of their movies are worth watching unless you want to pay a fee.  My newest and worst addiction is to this endless supply of  terrible, crappy, and ridiculous movies.

                                             SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME

I’m in dire need of some sort of 12 step program to get me away from this TV.  My greatest fear these days is that my better-half will find me alone in the dark, slumped over in my favorite chair, clutching the remote.  Dead from dehydration, boredom, and felony eye-slaughter.

 

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06-25-2016 Journal – Summer Day Trip!   Leave a comment

As always my better-half and I try use our time wisely.  She’d been working for more than a week without any time off and it was burning her out. Finally a rare day-0ff arrived and we wanted to make the most of it.  The day was bright and sunny and expected temperatures were to be in the mid-seventies.  Perfect! We packed up the car and headed north along to coast to the towns of Brunswick and Bath, Maine.

The drive went smoothly although the summer increase in traffic was immediately obvious.  It’s always relaxing to just cruise along the coast, watching the boats, and listening to some good music.  We stopped briefly in Brunswick to attend the Strawberry Festival taking place in the town square. A friendly crowd of people enjoying the warm day.

Then we were off to the town of Bath, Maine. It’s most famous feature is the Bath Iron Works. Over the years they’ve build or repaired damn near every American naval vessel.  Just up the coast a short distance is a restaurant, the Kennebec Tavern, located on the water with a great view from their rear deck.

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We were both starving and were pleasantly surprised by the variety of seafood on the menu.  I ordered an extremely dry Malbec wine to go along with my oysters and Caesar salad.  The better-half went outside the box a little and ordered a scallop and bacon sandwich with crispy onion rings on the side.  Everything was just as delicious as it looks here.

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After lunch we took a short walking trip through the town so the better-half could do some shopping.  She scored a few items that will magically appear under the Christmas tree in a few months.

The trip home was uneventful and we were ended the day relaxing on the deck.  Then it was back to reality with garden watering and paying some much needed attention to the cat.  He hates when we leave him alone and he made it immediately obvious by totally ignoring us for an hour.

CATS ROCK !!

05-30-2016 Journal – Sake & Memorial Day!   2 comments

I found myself awake much too early this morning for some unknown reason. I usually like to get moving around 7am but this morning I was awake at 4:45am and wondering why.  Yesterday was a nothing-special day and I had no pressing personal issues  preying on my mind . . . so why? I’ll probably never know but it sure is irritating.

Yesterday was a rainy and overcast day which kept me indoors most of the day.  I decided to get back to my home brewing tasks and to bottle my batch of Sake that’s been needing my attention for more than a week.

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I checked the bottles to be sure that fermentation had truly stopped. Once many years ago I bottled a batch of wine a little too early and was awakened in the middle of the night by exploding bottles.  I can’t have that happen again . . .  what a mess! Wine making isn’t as complicated as most people think but it does require a reasonable amount of common sense.  The minute you forget that fact you’re in trouble.  I began the  siphoning process which takes no time at all and everything went smoothly. 

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I decided against using the standard wine corks with this batch. These screw caps work just as well and require much less work for me.  It also makes reusing the bottles much easier and I won’t need to exhaust my limited supply of good wine corks.

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I was pleased with the overall look and clarity of the Sake and was able to fill twelve half bottles and seven additional full size bottles. More than enough to last me for quite some time.

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I was also able to save and store a pint and one half of the Sake yeast which will allow me to make numerous batches in the future and save me money at the same time.  It’s all about the yeast!

After the bottling was completed the better-half cooked up a delicious chicken and veggie stir-fry dinner. I cracked open our first bottle of the Sake, warmed it properly, and we toasted the great meal and the Memorial Day holiday. 

HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY

THANK A VET FOR THEIR SERVICE

SHOW THE FLAG

(And maybe drink some Sake too.)

05-26-2016 Journal–Miscellaneous Updates!   Leave a comment

As summer looms in my future I’ve been attempting to close out some existing projects to make room for what’s to come.  My infusion of hot peppers in tequila has finally ended with the hot peppers almost bleached white as you can see. I took a small sample and gave it a taste test and was very very hot.  I can’t wait to give it a try in a my first attempt at a Hot Pepper Margarita. I think it will be fine for me and my better-half but I doubt if most people will be able to handle the heat. We’ll see very soon.

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‘The Tequila sucks the color and heat from them.’

My second project has been the Sake that’s almost ready for bottling. Within the next few days I’ll begin the bottling process and finally be done with it. It’s taken a little longer than usual due to it’s refusal to clear.  It’s looking good now and it also has passed my first taste test.

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‘Nice and clear.’

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Today I’ll be making my second visit to the Saco Police Department. I’m trying to renew my permit allowing me to carry a concealed weapon for another four years.  I’ve held permits in multiple states in the past but I have to say the state of Maine isn’t quite as difficult as some others.  My reapplication was only ten pages long and in comparison to some states it’s rather short. I’ve finished the forms, obtained a new and handsome picture of myself, and a check to the city, of course, for $20.00. By far the cheapest fee I’ve ever paid for this constitutional privilege.

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CAN’T LET THE BUREAUCRATIC MINUTIA GET ME DOWN

11-10-2015 Journal–My Favorite Addictions!   Leave a comment

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I’m one of those boring people who feels the need to constantly examine my life.  I look at my past and judge myself, I look at my present and judge myself, and finally I look at my possible futures and judge that too. Also if I’m given the opportunity I’ll judge you as well. So not only am I a borderline addictive personality I’m a bit judgmental.

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I’ve always suspected I had issues with addiction but never tried to delve into the why’s and wherefores until now. My list of addictions is long and began back when I was just an newborn infant. Here’s my list from my formative years in no particular order of importance:

Breathing

Breasts

Breast milk

Diapers

I was able to finally work through those minor addictions without the assistance of an expensive rehab program. I was well on my way to puberty where my list began to grow and become more interesting. 

Breasts

Legs

Butts

Pornography

Sex

Puberty not only changed me physically but also intellectually. I understood at age thirteen that these addictions unlike my toddler list would likely become permanent.  And guess what? I was somewhat correct. I resigned myself to learning to live with my addictions and to make the best of them. It was a dirty job but I stepped up and made the required personality adjustments to deal with them.

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My teen years were interesting and a little frightening. My list again changed but was still manageable:

Sex

Breasts

Legs

French Blondes

Cigarettes

Beer

Pornography

College brought more changes and not all of them good. As the list increased so did my stress levels as you can plainly see:

Sex

Oral Sex

Brunettes

Blondes

Red Heads

Breasts

Beer

Whiskey

Marijuana

Wine

I learned a lot in those years but realized my life was in a rut so I dropped out of college and enlisted in the Army one step ahead of the draft board. This began another long, interesting, and scary adventure. Once more my list expanded a bit:

Sex

Oral sex

Oriental Women

Black Hair

Whiskey

Coffee

Cigarettes

Beer

Marijuana

Speed

Adrenaline

Wine

I returned home a few years later, much wiser and a much less addicted person. I was able to rid myself of many of my stupid addictions over the next two decades. Here are the final results after many years of really hard work:

Any Sex

Breasts

Coffee

Reading

Photography

Computers

Chocolate

Wine

Exercise

As you can see most of the exciting addictions in my life have slowly faded away.  They were fun while they lasted but were discarded when they became dangerous or harmful.  I’m now a much wiser and more boring person and I have to admit as I sit here quietly judging myself, I miss some of them a lot. 

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My list is certainly smaller but less dangerous and easily managed now. I expect this final list will remain with me forever. 

The only addiction that stayed with me from infancy to the present day are “Breasts”. There’s no rehab programs to help me deal with them and I’m pretty happy about that. So thanks again Mom for the one lifelong addiction I’ve enjoyed the most and will continue to enjoy until the lid slams shut. I’d love to see the 12 step program for that addiction.

I know one thing for sure, I’d never miss a meeting.

09-29-2015 Journal– “Hola, Como estas"   Leave a comment

As you can see I’m feeling a bit Mexican today.  Living in Maine has it’s advantages and I’ve listed them many times before.  Unfortunately for those of us who love Mexican food the restaurants in Maine have always left us unsatisfied. Most of the current restaurants that claim to serve Mexican food insist on Americanizing it by cutting back on the heat.  The result is a food that’s pretty to look at but has no zing. You know it’s a bad thing when you’re required to sneak in with a bottle of hot sauce to get the heat to a proper Mexican level.

We’ve been visiting on a semi-regular basis a restaurant that’s only been around a couple of years.  The food has gotten progressively better as time has gone on which makes us very happy.  I’ve eaten good old down home Mexican food in small restaurants along the border in Texas and this place could be one of them.

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Yesterday we wanted to enjoy a beautiful Fall day and while we were out we stopped at Casa Fiesta for lunch.  I was jonesing for some hot Mexican food and that’s exactly what we got.  First they delivered the always delicious nachos and salsa while we waited for our meal.  I consider myself a salsa aficionado and make three or four versions of my own on a regular basis.  This was without a doubt the best restaurant salsa I’ve had in many years. Super hot and super flavorful. 

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We went through two baskets of nachos and two bowls of salsa. I could have eaten even more but I was forced to stop so I had room for the entre. I wanted a red wine with the meal and they offered a nice selection. I settled on a delicious Agua De Piedra from Argentina.  It was smooth and sweet and was perfect for the meal.  I’m not going to bore you with a lot of information that the wine snobs love so much like finish, color, oakiness, and all of that nonsense.  I like wine and make a lot of my own.  For me there are only three types of wine; Good, Bad, and So-S0. All of that other stuff has no meaning for me. If it tastes good . . . buy it. If it tastes Bad or So-So . . . don’t buy it. Easy peasy.

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The meal arrived at the perfect time and was delicious. I feasted on mushroom quesadillas while my better-half had a steak fajita taco salad.  Does this look good or what?

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I was full of excellent food and wine and my head was sweating like I had hoped it would be.  What more could I ask for. We left for home fat, dumb, and extremely happy.

Just so you know my burning mouth stayed with me all the way home. Perfect!

07-07-205 Journal–Moving on to Summer!   Leave a comment

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‘Don’t look at this image, it might be against the law here in Maine.’

With the holiday weekend coming to an end summer has officially been declared here in Maine.  Even with that being said we still sat on the deck over the weekend in hoodies and sweatpants because it was a wee bit nippy. So it’s onward and upward to the many summer activities soon to come.

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‘Hot Bread & Butter Pickles’

We had a stay-at-home Fourth of July this year which we both found rather enjoyable. We relaxed on the deck until dark and then decided to be outlaws and lawbreakers.  For decades it was against the law in Maine to own or use fireworks. Two years ago the ban was lifted and fireworks stores sprung up overnight and everyone happily thought their future holidays could be celebrated with a little noise. Oh how wrong we were.

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‘Strawberry, Blueberry, Blackberry, Rhubarb, and Triple Berry Jams’

It’s impossible for politicians, local or otherwise,  to keep their collective noses out of everyone’s business for more than a heartbeat.  The town politicos then began to play their silly little games by passing local ordnance to ban the use of fireworks once again. It’s just like a bunch of political morons on a power trip to pass another law that can’t be enforced.

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‘Smoking Hot Black Bean & Roasted Corn Salsa’

As dark ascended on the neighborhood the law breaking began in earnest.  It sounded like the first night of D-Day at Omaha Beach in Normandy.  Every neighbor was trying to out do the others and being the weak minded idiots that we are, we joined right in. Sparklers, Zippers, Rockets, Roman Candles . . . you name it and we had it.  All of that noise and law breaking going on and not one police car was ever seen.  They were probably sitting at home in their driveway while their kids set off their own fireworks.  It was a lot of fun, no injuries or deaths reported, and the cleanup the next day was only about twenty minutes.

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‘Honey & Maple Mead’

The remainder of the weekend we were kept very busy.  B & B pickles were made and canned, an assortment of jams were made and canned, and I finished my first batch of salsa for 2015. It yielded thirteen and a half quarts of a salsa that’ll make your head sweat.

We are definitely on a roll for 2015.

07-03-2015 Journal – Wine and Jam Day!   Leave a comment

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‘While we were working the cat was meditating.’

My last posting concerned our short but successful foray with strawberry picking.  Even though we only managed to pick three quarts before the rains came, we still considered it a moderate success.  It also succeeded in motivating my better-half into a jam making frenzy yesterday.  It required another trip to the food store for additional strawberries, blue berries, and black berries with rhubarb harvested from our garden as well. As you can see in this photo the rhubarb plants are out of control and trying desperately to take over the garden. 

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She worked diligently for five hours and the results were impressive.  She made one batch each of strawberry, strawberry rhubarb, and blueberry jam. She also completed two additional batches of tripleberry which has become a favorite of everyone (blackberry-blueberry-strawberry) who has tasted it.

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Of course I did my best to taste them all as they were being made, bobbing and weaving to avoid those painful hand slaps. They were all over-the-top delicious and I can’t wait to add the strawberry/rhubarb jam to my breakfast menu.

While she was completing the jam I was in another area of the house preparing to bottle my first experimental batch of wine for 2015. My goal was to make a wine unique to Maine and one never made by anyone else.  I thoroughly searched the net but could find no references to this type of mead. It was made from raw maple syrup and fresh honey. 

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The final product was a clear and sweet mead with a faint bouquet of maple. It was a good first effort and with some fine tuning of the recipe I may make it again soon.  I bottled three and a half gallons into various size bottles and kept one for myself. I always volunteer to be first to sample anything containing alcohol before giving it to others. 

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After two glasses I felt that special glow I’m always looking for.  Testing with my vinometer indicates an alcohol content between 7-8%, more than I anticipated.  All in all a really successful experiment.

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The batch was corked and capped and will go into storage for a few months and then be tasted again.  Most wine improves with age and I look forward to an older version of this mead to enjoy through the winter months.

04-01-2015 Journal– A Mish-Mosh of Stuff!   Leave a comment

I suppose I could try and pull some lame April Fool’s joke but I won’t. I already got suckered once today on Facebook. Some moron sent an post that Tom Brady had announced his retirement from the Patriots. A-hole me immediately clicked to the site to read the news and got the big flashing screen with APRIL FOOL on it.  It still never feels good making an ass of yourself but you’d think by now I’d be considered a certified expert.

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“Sap collections continue.’

We had a new baby arrive this week and on top of all that excitement I received a formal letter from my dentist to announce his retirement. Every thing seems to balance out no matter how stupid it is.  Life just continues rolling along and dragging us along as well.

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‘Even the court houses allow their trees to be tapped by the locals.’

The flu and virus epidemics running rampant through the family continues apace.  All of the youngsters are over the worst of it but we adults are getting hammered hard.  We’re all hoping to be on the mend for Easter but who really knows.  Maybe grandson #1 will bring us another dose of something from that disease factory they call Day-Care.  I know it’s necessary for the kids to build a strong and healthy immune system by catching all of these viruses but c’mon.  My immune system has never been required to respond to so many different things in  my life.  If I survive all this nonsense I should have an immune system strong enough to make me bulletproof.

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‘My favorite farm stop for spices, jellies, and home grown fruit.’

The sun is shining during the day but our nights remain below twenty degrees and I’m soooooooo tired of freezing my ass off.  I need some warm temps, open windows, and fresh air.  I took the grill out of mothballs yesterday and cooked our first burgers and sausages for 2015.  They tasted great and were cooked perfectly. I was a little worried that the tassel hat, parka, and gloves might make cooking a bit difficult.  What harm can a splash of hot grease do to my new gloves?

With the better-half working an evening shift I think I’ll be chilling a bottle of my pomegranate wine.  Then over to Amazon Prime for a movie or two and some total relaxation.

02-09-2015 Journal–Honey & Maple Mead!   1 comment

The cat and I are still in bed as I write this. My better-half is out in the snow storm on her way to work and I’m waiting by the telephone in case of any emergencies. The snow is relatively light but has been coming down steadily since last night and it’s anticipated to continue for the next twenty-four hours. The roads quite simply are a bitch.

To say I’m a little sick of the snow is a major understatement. I’ve decided that going out to clear the driveway will just have to wait until much later in the day. I’m thoroughly enjoying my coffee and cookies and I intend to stay warm and toasty for as long as possible.

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Having this cold weather keeps the house temperatures in the med to low sixties. That temperature issue gave me fits earlier in the week when I decided to make a new experimental batch of home made wine.  I’ve made Mead in years past which is basically nothing more than wine made from honey.  In keeping with my goals for 2015 I wanted to make something new and different.  After a lot of research I created a recipe that would make a Honey & Maple Syrup Mead. I had to make a few educated guesses with the ingredients but I pushed fearlessly forward.

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The basic ingredients consist of distilled water, Orange Blossom honey, Clover honey, and an all natural maple syrup made with the sap from local trees. My difficulty was going to be able to keep the primary fermenter warm enough to properly activate the yeast.  Our house is usually sixty three degrees but I need temps between 68-74 for the best results.

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I was forced to use a small heater that I purchased many years ago that was once a tropical fish tank heater. It’ been sitting in a box in the garage for a couple of decades. It’s a long glass tube that you insert into the fermenter and it’s thermostat maintains the level of heat you select.  After all these years the little devil worked perfectly.  I then added just a pinch of roasted fennel seeds and rosemary for a faint hint of licorice and pine which I hope will give the wine a little character. 

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Once the wine was siphoned from the fermenter into the glass jugs I moved them all upstairs to store them in the warmest area of the house.  The heat must be sufficiently high because they’re bubbling away as they should be. In a few months I’ll have something new and interesting to sample and it’ll  either be 25 bottles of tasty wine or something God awful.  We’ll just have to wait and see. Making wine teaches a person patience if nothing else.

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I’d like to keep writing but I’m wanting more coffee to help me find the motivation I need to get out of this warm bed and to go play in the snow.