August 2005

For almost a year now I have been dreaming of rewiring parts of the basement (where I work on projects) to get proper lighting. Well it is finally done and there were no fires! It was not as bad as I thought it would be, and to be honest I enjoyed doing it.

That was Saturday, but Sunday was nice. I took my beautiful wife to Kent State to show here where I fell in love with design and art. Give me a shout out Kent folks. Check out the pics.

Every year I make pickles. I got this recipe from my step-mothers family but modified it a bit as I had problems with mold the one year. I believe that these are a bit more “brined” then actually “pickled.” I also made Firecrackers– carrots and jalepenos with onions, oregano, thyme. Same prociedure.

For 1lb of pickles:
1lb of pickling cucumbers, med size
2-3 stalks of pickling dill
1T kosher salt per cup of water
1T vinegar per cup of water
1 head of garlic

Jars Drying Rack ashin

Pickles! Garlic and hebs Making firecrackers

Close up of jars Finished product Let them sit

Clean and wash your jar. I used food grade sanitizer, but you can boil a pot of water and submerge the lids and jars. Dry on a clean towel. Place garlic and dill in jar, add cucumbers, 1 row at a time. Repeat with dill + garlic until you reach the top. Make a solution of brine by adding a cup of 150deg water and salt and vinegar per recipe above. Pour water in jar until you reach the top. Do not allow anything protrude the water. Cover with lid but keep loose and let sit on counter covered with a tower to keep out light for a week. Place in refrigerator.

*Note: Feel free to omit the vinegar. You may experience molding, remove mold after a few days and then add vinegar. This adds acid that bacteria can not live in. If you do it this way, real fermentation will exist and you will have authentic pickles. I lost many batches to molding so I add vinegar in the beginning.

Well after about 10 more pounds, 500+ more beers, I am back to get another sleep exam. This time, done by a specialist from Case Western. Should be interesting. I met with this physician today for the consultation. Basically, the test I had in February was ok, but he felt the data was not thorough enough. I know that with being overweight, enjoys drinking beer, and lack of the good fibrous diet of years past has much to do with my apnea. On the positive side, I have been to the gym at least 3 times a week if not more for the last 3 weeks. Prior to that it was like one or two. I really want to shed the tonnage, but difficult as I am getting lazy again with cooking and sticking to a healthier diet. I am not a chow bucket or anything, we hardly have sweets in the house! I drink plenty of water, I run at the gym at least 5K, my meal proportions are smaller than most. I bet it is slugging beers back with the boys that ruins this temple. I am sure being 33 has much to do with it as well. Bottom line, next time you see me tell me to stop pounding brews or make fun of me that I have a fit and gorgeous wife and that she deserves a slimmer piece of meat. Heh.

I recently wanted to make something other than beer and Mead was the next best choice. Traditionally a Mead contains approximately 15 lbs of un processed honey. Local grown honey is best. A Melomel is a berry and honey wine. Usually 13-16% ABV (alcohol by volume)

I was blessed with my good pal Dan P’s blackberry bush. He dropped about 3 lbs of Ohio grown blackberries. I plan on infusing this Mead with them. Here is the recipe.

Blackberry Melomel
10lbs Clover Honey (yes from Costco)
3lbs Wildflower Dark Honey (local)
2lbs of Mixed berry fruit salad (left overs)
4 gallons clean water
3tbsp DAP (yeast energizer)
1pk Danstar Wine Yeast D-74 White wine

Sanitizing buckets Cleaning honey bottles Honey

Pureed fruit Adding honey Final Fermenters

Heat water to 140deg. Add honey and pureed fruit salad. Make sure you remove the pot from the stove as you add honey, as it may scorch. Keep warm for 10min. Remove from heat. Let cool overnight in fermenter and add energizer. Take your gravity reading, mine was a bit low as I used too much water. (I adjusted in the recipe here.) Pitch yeast when it is at least 80deg or less. Wait. Wait for 2 weeks or until gravity reads 1.020. Then rack this onto fresh blackberries or any type of berry. I simply took the berries, froze them to break down the cell structure. Heated them and some more honey, about 2# at 150deg for 15min. Let cool and then pour into the fermenter for another week. Then I “rack” it to another fermenter for the second stage of fermentation. This needs to be repeated for at least 3 more times. Mead takes 1 year to make.

After at least 4 rackings, and 6-8 months of time, you are ready to bottle. I am using ice wine bottles for gifts.

Eds Piece

For Ed’s birthday I created a piece of art for his living space. 40″ x 40″ and blue. It is a piece dedicated to transportation. ed deals with the logistics side of UPS and he really likes driving trucks, so I created a piece for him using images and type as media. I stretched the canvas over a broken apart skid (palette) that was left here at work. I also used tar and polyurethane to represent the roads and the conditions on the road.

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