Monday, February 18, 2008

Callamarino Sarsaparilla


Today the kids made root beer with Tyree and me. The result was a bit spicy for them right off the stove, but it's supposed to sit for at least 10 days. We plan on making a vanilla cream, too.

New Addition

Conor has been saying that he wants to learn to play the piano. Tyree found this great electric piano that sounds pretty convincing and has a nearly full keyboard and weighted keys. We found it at an obscure thriftstore where it was going to be in their auction, but they couldn't figure out how to move it. It can be plugged into a midi and used with a computer. We ordered some learning software that had really good reviews. They sold it to him for 1/4 of what they were going to ask in the auction.






Isabella has had some piano lessons and we're hoping she'll enjoy the software, too. I plan on trying it out, myself.


They were actually composing soundtracks together.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Tyree is painting at the studio tonight.

So we're at home learning how to use my busted camera.



I think he's doing a pretty good job, myself.




My turn.



I will bet anyone 5 dollars that he is reading all six of those books on his headboard at once.



Beer and Caucus.....

equals a productive weekend. It's a good thing neither of us are actually heavy drinkers. We both just like making things. Our friends Jill and Ted have been in Asia for a year and are traveling home for a few days before heading off to Alaska next. Our aim is to drown them in homebrew at their homecoming. Tyree says to me "Never teach an Irishman to make his own alcohol."




Tyree cools down our 2nd batch, a Belgian Ale. It had these awesome giant beet sugar crystals that went in it. You have to cool it down before you can pitch in the yeast. The airlock keeps it sterile (ish)





Before attending our caucus (which had a record turnout and over 50% off of the attendees' first caucus), we discovered that the recycling bin behind the Temple Bar was a good place to get decent beer bottles (i.e. no twist-offs). Oddly, no one even looked at us twice.




It's like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir of beer bottles, isn't it?




A finished bottle of Cerberus (3-headed) Stout. We have to wait 10 more days to sample!
(I block-printed the labels myself.)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Secondary Fermentation

Tonight we racked the beer into a second carboy to get the sediment out. It smelled and tasted pretty awesome. I think this first batch is going to be really good. We ended up with about 4 gallons after we left the muck behind.


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Homebrew Label?


Conor actually came up with the name. He also thought of Achilles Ale, Poseidon Porter and Legion Lager. There's a good boy.

Success!


Here is a picture of the loaf that I baked this morning. It was similar to yesterdays loaf in both texture and flavor. Still not perfect.






This is the dough that I mixed this morning. It spent all day rising and then proofing. It's looking better.




I just pulled this out of the oven. I am so happy. I can hardly wait for it to cool. It was cooked on a stone after rising on parchment. It smells incredible.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

BEER!

Anyone who reads this regularly knows that it's Tyree's birthday on Monday. He got his big present a little early from me because I thought he'd enjoy having it over the weekend.

He now has everything a person needs to brew their own beer. And so we did.



Here is the beer gear.






What in the world is wort?






A man, a pan, a plan. Irish Stout.
(ok....it's a pot)




We'll keep you posted on this project.

Then there was the bread saga....

I gave up on my own starter. I just don't know why it wasn't working. Maybe it had too many other micro-organisms to battle with in this old house. I surrender.

SO.

My friend Diane, who has been volunteering at the YW for a LONG time, gave me some of her starter. I think she said it was from Alaska and was 10 years old or something. When I feed it, it looks like this:


Which, in case you've never seen a wild sourdough starter, is very good.
It kind of smells like citric acid and wine.








And when I bake with it, it looks like this. Which is awesome and much closer to what I've been striving for. A crackling, thick crust and a moist, chewy, airy crumb. A few more tweaks and I'll be a happy customer.



Conor's Room....


Here's a finished picture of the new desk in Conor's room with his new computer. It's a little crowded in there, but the long term plan is to build a lofted bed and put his desk below. Something similar to this, only built by us.

People keep giving us slightly broken computers and we (mostly Tyree) keep bandaging them up and our network gets bigger. I think we're at capacity now with 2 desktops and a laptop. My personal laptop gave up about a month ago, but a moving woman gave us one (that I'm using now) with a few quirks. I just back up a lot.