Last week I sat down to do a blog post and found that there was already a post in my drafts folder. Apparently, I had put the post before into drafts and then never posted it. So, I posted that as my post for the week. For some reason the date of the post is the date it was put in the draft folder and it looks like last week had no blog post.
I had decided that I would do a blog post on July second to make up for the post I had missed. My plan was to do a post about my second Belgian ale experiment. In order to research that post I went over to a friend’s who is also a homebrewer. In the midst of tasting my different experimental beers and several other and then going out to a taproom, I realized I would not be in a condition to post tonight. This has been a roundabout way of saying that I’m not going to write a post tonight and I’ll do it next week.
Have a great Fourth of July. And, if you really want to read something by me here’s a couple links to posts the reference the Fourth of July:
Back in March I wrote about my plans to experiment with Belgian Ales this year. I had brewed a test batch up using different malts. I brewed four different varieties. All four used Belgian Pilsner malt as the base malt. One of the four was just Pilsner. The other three had different malts added, Caravienne, Munich and Abbey Ale malts. I brewed a small amount of those three malts and added them to separate carboys.
Those ales were fermented, bottled and were ready to drink. I labeled each bottle according to the malt that was used. There was C for Caravienne, A for Abbey Ale, M for Munich and P for Pilsner only. Lining up the bottle I realized that I had brewed a CAMP beer.
Now it was time to taste. I have to admit that I’m no expert at tasting and being able to describe what I taste. My most frequent tasting comment is, “I like this beer.” I did a pour of all four beers and sampled each one. Using my criteria of how much I liked each beer I ranked them. My slight favorite was the beer brewed with the Abbey Ale malt. The beer brewed with the Munich malt was my bottom ranking. Not that it was bad, but in comparison it just didn’t compare. After a day and thinking back on the tastes the Pilsner alone seemed to stand out in my mind as the best.
I invited a couple of homebrew friends to taste the beer and give me their opinions. They both agreed with me that the Munich malt brew was the least favorite. Although, one of them said that if I had asked him to sample just that he would have said it was a good beer. He favored the Caravienne. My other friend favored the Pilsner alone.
We had an interesting conversation, sitting around tasting beer. But I didn’t have a clear idea of what I would brew next. After some reflection, I decided that I wanted to brew a Golden Belgian. The only one’s of the four types that would match the color profile needed for that would be either Pilsner alone or Munich malt. And it was clear the Munich malt had not been preferred. It was on to brewing a new batch with Pilsner malt alone.
That experimental batch has been bottled and is waiting to age before I taste that batch. I’ll write about it soon.
I spent the weekend in Decorah, Iowa to attend my son’s graduation from Luther College. Andrew is now a college graduate. Wow!
Andrew graduated with a major in Religion and a minor in Theater. He’ll be working at Camp Wapogasset in Wisconsin again this summer. Then when he finishes there, he’ll start his job at Christ Lutheran Church in Blaine working with children from birth to grade 8 and their households.
I shouldn’t be amazed, because he is a wonderful man. But I have such vivid memories of him being little that it feels like this has happened overnight.
Because when Andrew was young, he would often say, “tell me story about when you were little,” I thought I would tell you about when Andrew was little.
Andrew started out very little at 5 pounds when he was born a month early on his mother’s birthday, on the same day as a lunar eclipse during the time that Comet Hale-Bopp was visible in the night skies.
He enjoyed having stories read to him as part of the bedtime ritual. After the story we’d say prayers and good night. Then he’d roll over on his side. I’d tuck in his covers. Then put my hand on his back, rub a small circle and pat his back.
Many times, on weekend mornings when everybody else wanted to sleep some more, Andrew would get up and start playing in his room. When I’d hear him, I’d get up and go into his room so he would play quietly instead of calling for us. Usually, I could lay on his bed and sleep a little more. One time when I went in to do this in the winter I crawled into his bed and pulled his blanket around me. It was small and didn’t quite cover everything. As I laid there, I felt Andrew come up and pull on the blanket. I was cold and didn’t want to lose the blanket, so I held onto it. Andrew gave up pulling. Then I felt his small hand rubbing a circle on my back. Then he gave me a small pat before going back to quietly playing.
On Monday I decided that I needed some time off. After doing a bit of work that had to be done, I got in the car and drove north to my usual day trip destination – the North Shore. Something about being up by Lake Superior reinvigorates me. Even the air feels different. While it was a long trip in the car, I ended up feeling relaxed and refreshed.
I’ve been going up to the North Shore since sometime in the 1970’s. Yet, it wasn’t until a couple years ago that I realized I could drive up there, take a couple hikes and drive back all in the same day. I enjoy seeing waterfalls roaring with the spring runoff. Or walking through the woods in the fall after the leaves are off the trees.
I usually try to do something I haven’t done before on these trips. Monday was no exception. My new place was the public access boat launch at Taconite Harbor. It was interesting to see. They have a gigantic parking lot. There was a small exhibit with some artifacts from when the taconite mine was in operation. Having seen the taconite processing facility from the road for years it was interesting to see if from the water side. The facility if closed now, but it would have been cool to see ships coming into dock and fill up with taconite. The power plant they had is still in operation, so there are still occasional ships that come.
I also try to make sure I hike up at least one river and make it to the shore of Lake Superior. I did both of those Monday by hiking to the mouth of a couple of the rivers I hiked up.
Since there’s nobody around to take a picture of I end up taking selfies. It’s lot of work to take a good selfie. Try to hold your arm out to hold the phone in front of you. Try not to get that arm in the picture, so it’s not so obviously a selfie. Hold the camera up; if you’re looking down, you’ll get a double chin effect. Don’t squint in the sun. Get the camera to take the shot. Oh, and yes, don’t forget to smile. It’s lucky I was at the North Shore doing that, anywhere else and I probably would have been stressed out.
I hope you have a place where you can go. A place where you can relax and be at peace. A place where you can say “this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it” and truly mean it.
Easter should bring thoughts of resurrection and new life. This year it brought church fires and bombings.
I read about the bombings in Sri Lanka and all the deaths and I try to comprehend the pain I felt after Debbie died multiplied by hundreds.
I read about a landmark in Paris that I have visited nearly destroyed by fire and I remember landmarks in New York destroyed.
I read about a man arrested for burning black churches in Louisiana and I wonder how someone could be bitter enough to deliberately burn a church.
I think about those who worship money, power, fame and hate; and I despair.
I read about donations for rebuilding the black churches in Louisiana going up after the Notre Dame donations were publicized and I find encouragement.
I walk my dog and find that in spite of everything, beauty still exists in this world and I see the hand of the Creator.
I think about the people in my life and I feel grateful and blessed.
And maybe that’s enough to know.
I’ve been trying to post on every other Tuesday. However, yesterday I blew it. I put “Do Blog Post” in my calendar on a repeat, but sometimes even that doesn’t help. I was just about to go to bed last night when I realized I hadn’t posted anything. So, better late than never. As a result of not having thought about what to write about I’m just posting some miscellaneous notes about blogging.
From the stats I’m looking at it appears that my readership is growing. I’ve noticed a few symptoms that are probably related to that.
I had decided to set up an email account for the blog. I went into gmail to set up a new account and found that someone had already taken the email with my blog name. I suppose they think I’m going to pay them for stealing my brand. Fat chance. If you want to email me, you can use email@example.com. I’ll put that on the contact page for the blog.
I’ve had a couple random comments show up to older blog postings. Both were clearly attempting to market products, so I deleted them both.
My last post was about the fact that it was coming up on five years since my wife had passed away. Part of what made that hard was that a couple years ago I had decided that at five years I would shut down her Caring Bridge site. When I looked at it, there were still people looking at the site. For now, I’m going to leave it up. I may transfer the posts to this site at some point.
Thanks for reading!
I stare at the title I just wrote and wonder how it can be. On Friday it will be five years ago that Debbie died.
Five years of changes. In the last five years my daughter Alicia married, my son graduated from high school and will graduate from college in May. I’ve taken up writing and have been blogging for almost three years. I’ve been to Tanzania. I’ve seen a total eclipse of the sun.
And yet, nothing’s changed. Debbie is still gone. I still miss her. When my contacts dry out I can still moisten them by remembering those final days.
Some people might feel that five years is too long to grieve and I should be “over it” by now. The truth is you’re never entirely “over it” any more than you could get over having a limb amputated. Your life goes on and you learn to live with loss.
Life goes on. While that dark cloud is always hanging around, it’s not always cloudy and raining. There are days with sun, days with joy, days with new experiences. Things change.
And some things don’t change. I will always have gratitude for everyone who has helped my along the way. Every expression of concern or support, every hug has helped. I am blessed by my family and my community. Thank you all.
I recently read a book about brewing Belgian beers. And now, of course, I want to brew some. In my head I’ve developed a schedule for the year for experimental batches, that would help me come up with a recipe that I can use to make a big batch for sharing.
Last night I began. I figure this batch will be ready in mid to late April. I’m experimenting with different malts. Belgian beer usually uses a pilsner for the base malt and then different types of malt can be added. I brewed four beers using my OJ containers that will yield about four bottles each.
The first is uses just the pilsner base. The others use the pilsner base but added one different malt. One was Munich malt, another was Caravienne, and the last was Abbey malt. Other than that, the beers are the same, so any differences will be due to the malts. When they’re ready to drink I can do a taste test and compare. That will help me decide what malts to use. I may get fancy and mix two of the beers together to see how they taste.
After that I’ll pick my malts and brew again sometime around the beginning of May. That batch will be testing some more grains and sugars. That would mean another taste test in June.
That would be followed by brewing at the beginning of July and testing various hops. Tasting in August.
Then, at the beginning of September I would brew with different yeasts and taste test in October.
Finally, I would brew a larger batch in November.
That’s the plan. But then again, we all know how often life goes exactly according to the plans we try to make. : ) #retroemoji
I’ll keep posting about my experiments and what I come up with for a final recipe as I go along.
We’ve just set a record in Minnesota for the most snow in the month of February. So, of course, my mind wanders to thoughts of warm weather and baseball. Spring training has begun for the Twins; our real spring can’t be too far behind that.
Or can it? It’s also the time of year when false optimism reigns supreme. Every fan feels their team has a chance to have a great year. Since I became interested in baseball, I have been told every spring by Sid that the Twins have a good team with a shot at going all the way.
Baseball has always been my favorite sport. While it’s a team sport, it’s also a one on one person vs. person confrontation between the pitcher and the batter. It’s the only major sport where points are scored by a person. Instead of a ball or puck crossing a line or going into a net, in baseball a run scores from a person touching home plate.
There’s also more of a sense of the history of the game. I have the feeling that while some NBA fans would recognize who George Mikan was, they wouldn’t be able to tell you much about any of his feats on the court. While a large share of baseball fans would be able to tell you the story of an obscure player named Fred Merkle.
But for now, I’ll just say I enjoy being able to look outside and see mountains of snow at the end of my driveway and dream about baseball and summer.
I’ve always been interested in our family history, but not to the point of doing anything like family trees and things like that. However, I’ve started a project that I’m finding enjoyable.
My Mom has many photographs in the house. We went through a lot of them when we looked for photos to put out at Dad’s funeral service. I don’t know who a lot of the people in the photos are or the stories behind them. So, I’ve been sitting down with my Mom and going through the photos and having her tell me about them. I use my phone to record everything and then I take pictures of all the photos so they can go together.
Mom says she enjoys doing that. It brings back memories for her. I love to hear all about things, not only the photos but the stories behind them. One photo was of Mom and the other women she worked with at Cargill. That led into a discussion of what working was like in her day.
I’ve got ancestors from both sides of the Civil War. There was a Great-Uncle who was “passing”. Meaning he was African-American, but he was light enough to pass as a white person. However, he and my Great-Aunt never had children because they weren’t sure what color they would be.
I’m learning family history and what the times were like in the past and I am delighted to share the time with Mom.
I’m attaching a photo from a wedding album. Going around the table are my mom’s siblings; Louis, Mary Gayle and Terry; the Bride and Groom; my Grandfather Al and his Mother Pauline (“who was NOT happy about her daughter’s choice for a husband”); Mom’s Uncle and Aunt; finally, on the far left my Mom, Patricia.
Tim Kane's memories, musings and updates.