Kegging The Brown Ale

I got the keg cleaned up, sanitized, etc. and filled it with the first batch of the brown ale. It’s pretty tasty out of the carboy so I’ve got high hopes for this one after it’s had some time to age and carbonate.

Declaring War On The Hornworms

While puttering in the garden yesterday I noticed a couple big, green caterpillar like bugs decimating the pepper plants. They got removed and smooshed before they completely tore up the pepper plants. After a little searching on-line I found out that they are either tomato or tobacco hornworms. I also found a natural way to control and kill them, Bacillus thuringiensis, a naturally occurring bacterium that apparently takes them out within two or three days. All of the plants have been sprayed down, both in the containers and the regular garden.

Long Way Round

While I was at Half Price Books I randomly happened across this one and thought it looked interesting. Well, it turns out that it was. It’s a sort of a travelogue/blog of Ewan MacGregor and Charlie Boorman’s motorcycle trip from London to New York, heading east through europe, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Alaska, Canada, and then the U.S., riding on BMWs. It was a lot of fun to read, making me laugh and cry a number of times throughout it. They definitely ran into some rough “roads” in eastern Russia, but did really well getting through and around the obstacles. It shows just how difficult this type of ride really is, especially for a couple guys who don’t do this for a living. It really made me want to get on the BMW and set out for points elsewhere…

The Surgeon’s Mate

The Surgeon’s Mate is the next book in my journey through Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey-Maturin series. In what I think is becoming a trend, it picks up right where the last book left off. Our intrepid captain and doctor are on their way back to England from Canada, being pursued by Americans intent on bringing them back, probably to turn over to the French. I’m trying hard not to publish spoilers because I just don’t think it’s fair to those of you who may not have read the book yet. Suffice it to say that there is progress in Jack’s situation at home, Stephen and Diana’s relationship, and their careers. I’m taking a break from this series so that I don’t get burned out on it, but I’ve got one more to go before I need to go shopping to re-stock.

Sunday Brew Day – Brown Ale

I kicked off a batch of brown ale today. Another new recipe for me, but what the heck, it’s past time to broaden my horizons. Here’s the ingredients:

  • 2.4 pounds 90L Crystal Malt
  • 6.6 pounds light malt extract syrup
  • 10.35 HBUs Cascades hops
  • 9.1 HBUs Brewers Gold hops
  • 4.5 HBUs Willamette hops
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet
  • 1 pack Wyeast 1272 American Ale II yeast

And the procedure:

  1. Steep the grain for 30 minutes at 155 degrees F
  2. Bring to a boil and add the extract, Cascades, and Brewers Gold hops
  3. Boil for 1 hour total
  4. At 15 mins left in the boil add the whirlfloc tablet
  5. At 10 mins left in the boil, add the Willamette hops
  6. Chill, dilute to 5.25 gallons, oxygenate, and pitch yeast

A Day Of Running Around

After getting back from the BMW club meeting I hit the road for points east, namely checking out a chocolate store, Doughmonkey, and a trip to Half Price Books to restock the to-be-read stack.

Doughmonkey was excellent. Lots of yummy varietal chocolates and other baked goodies. I picked up a couple bars of Patric Chocolate, some lemon pound cake, and a small, single serving chocolate cake.

After that I went over to Half Price Books to pick up some books. I got a couple more of Peter Hamilton’s Neutronium Alchemist series, filled in the last hole in my set of the Honor Harrington series, a couple more Jack McDevitt books, two heart healthy cookbooks because I really need to lower my cholesterol, and a copy of Long Way Round, the story of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman’s around the world motorcycle ride.

Finally, a stop at Central Market for some breakfast and lunch type stuff.

BMWDFW Meeting

I got up a little early this morning and went out to the BMWDFW club breakfast to meet some of these people. It was a fun morning, lots of good discussion, humor, and very little attitude.

I’m glad I took the time to go out there to see them and will be sending in my membership money soon…

The Dreaded PST Rust

I sent the PST off to Meade today to get it repaired as it’s showing the dreaded “rust” on the front objective. Meade’s customer service was excellent, no hassle, no nothing. Just gave me my RMA number, shipping info, etc. I packed it up and sent it off at lunch today. I’m hoping to have it back in a couple weeks, but what with the sun being so inactive, it’s no big loss to be without it right now…

The Beemer Is Now Mine

Just got back from the county tax office where I had to hand over some money and sign some more stuff in order to get the title transferred over to my name. The bike’s now legally mine and I’ll be riding the heck out of it to get used to it. Got a few errands planned for lunch today, etc.

It feels nice to have a title with no lien on it. Really nice.

Now I’ve just got to name it…

A Long Drive Home

I got the tent taken down and packed away it and the rest of the stuff I brought so that I could hit the road early. It was a long, hard drive back, fighting a headwind most of the way. That headwind put my mileage in the toilet, which is really going to hurt the wallet, but so be it.

I got home at around 8:00 in the evening, safe and sound if a little bit tired.