31 January 2007

More "Fairer"

Entering the Fair

Fairly dark compared to earlier post

"Fairing" fast 'round

Fair Kingly Cabbage

"Fairis" wheel

Leaving the Fair

23 January 2007

Manatee County Fair

Above: overexposed purposefully, and to good effect if my opinion is to be noted.

reflection in the late afternoon's light.

uh.... flags?

A ride. None of us rode it.

Hula Hoops

Oh, and my Winter Solstice Spice Ale (WSSAle- pronounced: wassail) won a blue ribbon.

15 January 2007

Brew V

Above and below: A bucketload of strawberries. Stemmed and bucketed by my children. I knew they were good for something.
19 1/2 gallons now. Left to right: rear: Mead Day mead, Citrus Flor, strawberry-apple; front: Live Fast-Die Young Mead, Special Secret Wine Inside, concord pyment, Chappel Wine, and the white grape-cherry.

Chapple Wine sitting in warm water. An attempt at bringing it back to life as a drier wine. It did kick start it, but it didn't last. It is what it is, I suppose. A note for the curious: that is a ghetto airlock. I keep it for old time's sake. Necessity is the mother of invention, and there was a time when $2 for a replacement was just not available.

14 January 2007

Brew IV

The astute observer may have noticed that I never mentioned what was in the half-gallon jug in my previous brew post. It was a jug of Welch's white grape cherry juice. I removed a cup of it and replaced it with a cup of sugar before pitching champagne yeast. I have tried a few Welch's wines but found they were a bit thin, so I thought I'd chaptalize a little and see how that works. Misty is the one who suggested the flavor, and I of course agreed- I dig cherries.Well, this is it, up close and personal.

The concord pyment.

"Citrus Flor" So named for the fact that I picked the fruit up off the forest flo(o)r (not really a forest, but I've always been a fan of poetic license) in my back yard. And I pitched a flor sherry yeast.

"Live Fast, Die Young" mead. Made with slightly less honey than usual for a fast fermentation and will be carbonated and drunk immediately, or as they say in wine: young. Yes, less honey means a lighter color, but the main difference between this and the Mead Day mead is the type of honey that was used. The smaller was made from Florida wildflower and the larger from Florida citrus, palmetto, and wildflower.

Reverend Olson's (that'd be me) Chapple Wine.


You thought I forgot about the xmas vacation photos! You thought you were going to get away without seeing them! I know everyone loves to see everyone else's vacation pics, so here you go:

We'll start in Indiana. We went a little out of the way to stop by the cemetary where Misty's dad was buried. When in cemetaries, I'm always struck by the way we choose to treat the fact of death and remember those who have died.

John's Butcher Shoppee was our preferred meat-monger shop back in St. Louis. Make note of the barren trees and grey skies.

We took the kids, at Aunt Jeanne's suggestion, to a rather well to do home. Their whole yard was lit up, including the tennis courts, and they had paths marked by lights on the ground on which the general public could walk to view the whole thing. In my opinion, this one stood out the most. Also, my batteries ran out halfway through, so it's also the best picture I got.

Though you really can't tell from the picture, this is another graveyard. I took this photo while standing by my dad's grave.

Kevin took this one as we crossed into Florida. You've got to love those green trees & blue skies!

If that wasn't slapped together arbitrarily enough for you, just wait for the next installment of our trip pics :)

10 January 2007

Brew Magic

Above is a rather close-up picture of the HAMS Mead-Day mead. I love that color. I hate camera flash, so I tried flashing through one of the airlocks picured below and it came out interesting. To me, anyway.

This is a concord grape pyment. It is the most active fermentation I've got going right now. For those out there without experience: see the stuff above the liquid, stuck to the glass? That is remains of the initial fermentation boom, and it is why you shouldn't fill your jugs too full. Trust me, I know this to be true.

This is a group shot. 13 1/2 gallons worth.from left to right they are: 1 gallon of concord pyment (which is a grape/mead mixture), 5 gallons of Mead-Day mead (s.g. 1.142) sitting in a prohibition era carboy (it's bottom is marked with- I believe -"1927", but I'm not picking it up to check any time soon), 1 gallon of a weaker mead (intended for near-immediate consumption and sharing as a sparkling mead), 1 gallon of Reverend Olson's Chapple Wine (for religious purposes, I'm sure), and 5 gallons of citrus wine (my first attempt) made from two different varieties of grapefruit and oranges from my backyard.

It may look like a lot, but trust me- it doesn't last long, especially if you share!

Oh, thanks to Tom for the gallon jugs.