Sunday, October 29, 2006

What is dust made of?

Haven't blogged in a couple of weeks, mostly because I've had nothing interesting to write about. But, if I use that as an excuse, then maybe I should have never started the blog....

Nava and I are grand-aunt and uncles yet again - her nephew Shai, and his wife Tamar, had a daughter (first grand niece), Yalli. And, her niece Liron, and her husband Yossi, had a second son.

Finally got around to bottling the Tongue Splitter a couple of nights ago - about 2 weeks after I meant to, but it's done. Have the labels mostly designed - just need to tweak it a bit. Here's the working draft of the label - not quite happy with the text positioning / curve, but it'll end up with these basic components. Big changes are moving the HallerBrau name / logo to the left, and adding some art work of Nava's as the main image. I don't know this guy, but he looks like a hop-head to me!

There's other bloggers who've made Northern Brewer's Tongue Splittler, and blogged about it. Thanks to Nava for sending me the URLs:

Flying off to Bangalore, India next Friday (Nov 3rd), for a 1 week b-trip. Had to get my passport renewed, get a business Visa for India, get a few shots, etc. Should be a fun trip, but don't really have anytime for sight seeing.

And we finally got around to getting a new printer. The old HP Office-Jet all-in-1 was finally unable to ever print good looking results (clogged print heads, I think). After a bit of research, we settled on the Canon Pixma MP600 - it's also an all-in-1, but only print / copy / scan, no fax. It's based on the same 'Fine Print' print head (~3.8k inkjet nozzles) and 'ChromaLife' inks (100yr fade resistant) that Consumer Reports rated top notch, but in between (feature and price wise) the two CR highest ratings (the Canon Pixma MP450 and Pixma MP800).

So - what is dust made of? Mostly the detritus of people, kind of like this blog. Bits of this, bits of that.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Hoped to bottle the Tongue Splitter yesterday, but I decided to do some gardening first.

I planted some Trumpet Vine along fence on one side of the house, next too the garden. After 5 or 6 years, it was so thick it needed frequent trimming to get to the garden. Nava and I started a taking it out a month ago, and clipping it into "salad" (Nava's term) to maximize how much we could get in the lawn recycling tote.

We got about half done over 2 weekends, so I decided to do some more yesterday, when I realized that we didn't need to make salad out of all of it, but could also bundle it, and they would also pick it up.

That saved the effort of cutting every branch into small bits, but now I had to bundle it. Process was separate a 3-4' section of vine on the fence by using the hand clippers and electric trimmer cut any branches crossing the edge. Get a bit of rope around it, tighten the rope, and drag the pile onto the front lawn, where I had room to work with it. Wrap rope around more, tighten, tighten, tighten - need to get it down to a 1' diameter. Cut in half to meet 4' length requirement. Tighten rope again, wrap crappy jute twine around the bundle, 2-3 places, about 20 times (as it break it you sneeze at it). Repeat for 2nd half. Repeat for next 3-4' section of vine, and the next.

Almost 4 hours later, the Trumpet Vine was out, the green tote full, and 6 bundles ready to go. If I had to do this again, I'd think about getting a renting a Wood Chipper, like CherkyB has (well, maybe one that doesn't jam all the time :). Or at least invent some contraption to make the bundling / tightening process go faster.

But, I had a nice morning, out in the sun, got some exercise, and got good and tired. And, in retrospect, if I had known it was this tough to get rid of the Shrub, I would have never allowed it to get established. But that's just the liberal in me talking.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Look at that rack...

Why is siphoning beer (or wine) off of the junk in the bottom of the fermenter called "racking"?

Hell if I know, but Bret and I racked the TongueSplitter into the secondary fermenter tonight. Had a few problems w/ the siphoning process last time, since I didn't have a good seal between the Auto-Siphon and the racking hose, so I used some rubber bands as clamps this time, and it worked just like the good old days. Back when men were men, women were bow legged, and CherkyB lived in Silicon Valley. Speaking of proud, here's Bret, smiling away because we didn't screw up this batch!

Ordered the ingredients to brew up a Belgian Blonde as well. I'm still a happy customer of I got the "Belgian Strong Golden Ale" kit - I started making up my own, but (a) could only order the specialty grains in 1lb increments, and only needed 2-4oz of 4 different ones, (b) it ended up being almost 50% more than the NB kit (probably because I was trying to clone a Belgian ale to much, and even getting European malt extract), which didn't necessarily make much sense.
Now, before CherkyB says none of it makes sense, as I'm just opening a can of condensed beer, adding water and then bottling it. What didn't make sense in this case is I don't want an exact clone of Abbey Leffe Blonde Ale, I just want something like it. I'm not going to (a) brew it exactly the same, (b) I'm don't bother with temperature control while fermenting, and (c) I can't guarantee that I'll let it age enough - if it's pretty tasty in a couple of weeks, it gets drunk.
Kind of like the Peach Ginger Mead adventure. Not my best brew, and I think I can say the oddest thing I fermented, bottled and served to friends and family. Good news is (a) I'm not springing it on as many people as I used to, (b) it may be mellowing some, and (c) if you only try it once a month or so, it's not bad!