November 2006

Life seems to toss you a ball large enough and fast enough that you have no time to catch it. Well Monday we had a hard time catching this one. Its about Barley. (You cat people need not read on as you just won’t get it. I know, I used to be solely a cat person until I was blessed with B)

Barley was ill this weekend. He seemed to have lost his appetite for some reason. I was working on my stand all afternoon and he dashed his way down to the basement which he is NOT allowed to go down to. Within in seconds, he found the litter box and munched on a brown morsel left by one of the cats. “NO!” I shouted and tried to take it from his mouth. He swallowed it in a nanosecond. He lost his appetite that evening and on Sunday he never finished his dinner. At 4 am Monday morning, we awoke to a throwing up dog. He kept throwing up for almost an hour. Poor guy. So I called the vet in the morning and I took him first thing.

The doctor checked him out. Looked at his paw; he had a swollen paw and some form of fungal infection from last week. He said that the nausea and vomiting is not really related to anything. Just may have had an upset stomach from what he ate so he pumped him up with some penicillin and some anti-nausea meds. He began to take his temperature and was checking him over with a stethoscope. “Hmm?” I hear the doc say. I ask “What’s Hmm?” He explains that he is listening to his heart and he can hear a murmur. He said he’d never heard this before. We start looking into the charts and see nothing related to his heart, etc. He said that it sounded pretty severe and with him not being a cardiologist, we should seek an evaluation at Ohio State University’s Vet clinic there. Apparently there is one of the only vet cardiologists in the state that does research on Boxer health.

The vet graded his murmur with a grade 3/4 which is very serious as the scale only goes to 6 and 4-6 are fatal at early detections. We made an appointment for next Thursday. When we called they told us that we need to get in soon as possible as this is a serious condition. I have been in communication with my boxer friend Jessica and she has been feeding me with helpful links on what to expect and what this means. She said that this could very well be Aortic Stenosis (AS), or Sub Aortic Stenosis (SAS) which is a genetic defect that is usually detected around 2 years old. Barley just turned 15 months. What I understand is that if you have a boxer with a grade 2 or greater heart murmur, there is a 95% chance that your dog has AS/SAS. Both these conditions can give, as their first symptoms, sudden unexpected death or severe fainting episodes.

I have been a mess since I learned this. I love that little guy. I have never had a pet where I was more in love with than him. Do not get me wrong, I love my cats, but ever since I got Barley, I have been attached to him. He, like my wife, provides me with pure unconditional love. My cats do not even come close. All Barley wants to do is be with us. I can not even imagine losing him. Jess cheered me up with this (which put me in tears) “The reason that they have so many heart problems is because their hearts are so huge and full of so much love.”

I’ll keep you posted.

Well I officially own a brewery now, er I mean I built a brew cart to make beer more efficiently. The project was pretty simple and I did it entirely under $200; most commercial units cost over $1000. I got the idea from a few guys on the BrewBoard who helped me with the details on gas lines and electrical. So far I have completed the frame, gas lines, and all the kettles. Soon, I will add a March pump, and a water filtration system to allow for even less of a complicated brew day. I am posting a pictorial of this project, plans, and an spreadsheet containing costs and parts numbers.

Plans Kettles Hmmm

Building Cutting Frame

Putting it together Frame built

Messy tool bench Painting the burner wind screens Testing the gas lines

Close up of the connectors Burner mounts Cutting a bed frame

Close up of the boil pot burner Painted and complete Hot Liquor Tank

Close up of sight gage Ball Valve and sight gage Painted burner

Propane detail of boil pot Close up of jet Connected propane line

Use the following documents to create your own. You need MS Excel and Adobe Acrobat reader Brewcart Plans 01
Brewcart Plans 01
Brewcart Plans 01
Parts Listing

Great Lakes Tank farmAnother great tournout for the eve of Thanksgiving! All of our closest friends showed up to get a taste of the wonderful Christmas Ale. This year they had a few more great tastes, a Rye Pale Ale and an Ale aged in burbon barrles. My overall impression of the Rye of the Tiger was that it had a wonderful haze that resembled grapfruitjuice. Its spicy rye characteristic was completely over the top, it almost tasted a bit sour. There was enough hop bitterness, but seemed to be more of the spicy rye. They state it is an IPA. I agree.

The Rackhouse Ale which is a “Sweet ale” meaning they made it up because there is no category for “Sweet Ale” was my favoite that evening. It was like drinking a warm glass of malt with a subtle vanilla after note. Served slightly warm in a snifter. I had one. Heh.

It was a great evening. I have lots of pics in the Photography section. Check them out!

We went to Target yesterday and they had some really cute dog toys. Barley has been a good dog lately so we decided to get him a toy. We found this hilarious cigar soft plush toy. It crackels when he bites it. He looks so much like that Looney-Tunes dog gang leader who smokes a cigar.