Christmas with the in-laws on Sanibel Island this year. I feel very lucky to have such great in-laws. This Year Vicky made a book for me out of pic's from this blog. I felt a little bad about not posting for so long after getting it but also inspired to post some more. Knowing that even a couple people value pics and words is all the motivation I need to keep throwing stuff up.
I am a little to sucky to feel comfortable golfing with the big kids (Mike and John) so Vic and I went out and had a great time. We decided to keep score off of our puts only to help with par.
Uncle Mike did a great job teaching the girls tennis but Maya found in the end that being the ball girl was much more rewarding. The clay courts are definitely my favorite surface to play on.
Out on Tarpon Bay in Ding Darling sanctuary we had some dolphin visitors. This one had his dorsal fin shortened some how.
Took a trip inside our Sanibel trip to Clearwater (Miami area) and drove over this cool bridge in St. Petersburg? The destination was an animal rescue facility that has the dolphins from the movie Dolphin Tale
Maya helping collect plankton to look at on a combo wild dolphin tour/research boat.
Winter the dolphin needs a new tail every 6 months. Here is one of the earlier ones.
Ella is sweet. There is also an Alligator in the pic.
58mm Chris King espresso tamper is my first Chris King product.
We had a nice sunset out back of the house a few days ago.
Picture day last week. Night before Ella and Maya wanted a pic with my old school pics.
I did two boils this year and could have done a bunch more. I got about one and two thirds gallon total. Second boil yield was a gallon from about 25 gallons of sap. Took it to 218F. 25 gallons took a little over one full tank of propane.
I do the majority of the evaporating on the front porch with the turkey frying burner but finish up inside.
Trees were bursting with sap.
Getting sap out of the woods is hard when the sap is really flowing.
I have been needing to frame and reframe a bunch of Artcrank posters for two years. Felt great to get it done.
Bike commuter legs was my first Artcrank poster from year one or two of the event? I don't really remember. After hours of framing posters this was my last one. I broke the glass just as I was finishing up. Grrrr. Ace Hardware cut a new piece only after the old guy working there said that he was not able to measure and cut the glass with the metric numbers I took in. I suggested we get one of the tape measures on the wall to help. He wants the metric system to go away since "no one wants them pushing it down our throats."
A few pre framed versions of the posters. They are not the best quality pics because my original intent for them was to use my fancy phone stylus to write the dimensions of the posters on each pic. I did it but then found that over the last two years I actually had collected all the frames I needed for the project.
I have been wanting to make a grouping of the Paul Bunyan posters and the bike commuter legs.
I have been needing a new down comforter and found a great solution. Get one from my favorite sleeping bag company, Western Mountaineering. My reasoning is this. It is made with great quality down (850+ fill), it is beautifully made in a relatively small company, it uses ultralight materials, it is a very generous size and is priced cheaper than similar sized and filled comforters. You can get a down comforter that is just fine at Ikea for half the price. I used one like that happily for about 8 years. I like this one way more. Other details include that it is grey on the other side, doesn't look so shiny in person and can be used with a duvet.
I got some Salsa Woodchipper 2 bars, Knard 700x41 tires and suddenly my El Mariachi is a Salsa Fargo/gravel/adventure bike.
Ride is great on the road and the Knards roll faster than I thought. I am excited to see how it does on gravel. Tektros disc compatible road brake levers gotten for $24. Ultra thin Xpedo spry platform pedals are very light, very thin and relatively cheap. Time will tell if they can handle my weight...I mean power.
This Burundi was really nice. Not super complex but very smooth viscous mouth feel like a melted chocolate bar. I kind of over roasted the Brazil but it is more complex with a bite on the front end. Good first thing in the AM coffee.
In case you miss pics of it here is my RK roasting drum. The bbq grill is used for roasting only and the rotisserie is custom made to handle the weight of up to 4lbs of coffee. It spins about one time a second rather than every 20 seconds like a normal rotisserie motor.
Ella helping with moral support while I roast.
Still looking for a new insulation material for my grill cozy. The box works ok. I mostly need wind blocking and then just a little insulation. I have looked into auto firewall material, wood stove insulation, fireplace insulation, hot water heater and welding blankets and other things all over the internet. I found a couple of industrial products that are very expensive and likely not worth the gamble. If any of you see an insulating material that can handle about 800F let me know.
Maya likes to help with the dog poop.
Maya is cute and loves pickled herring (in the red bowl).
It is really hard to get close to a turkey for a pic. I think this guy likes the little bit of open grass in our yard. Every time he hears or sees me move in the house he flys down to the farthest part of the woods a couple hundred yards away. Beautiful to watch.
I have decided I like state forests a lot more than state parks and Paul Bunyan seems like a good state forest. State forests seem to have few if any facilities and you can camp most anywhere.
To hall gear I used a Pulk sled and Heath used his back.
We set up camp and went to bed but then had to pack back up in the night and make our way out of the forest because I was not able to stay warm for some reason. I suspect my thyroid med's are not working right since our gear and a past experience suggest this is very doable. -20F and getting colder while in a relatively remote location meant that I was not willing to try and tough it out. Heath was super cool about being woken up to pack up and leave in the night. I feel bad about it.
No pics of the escape but the moonless night mixed with the super dry air made for stunning star gazing as we marched out of the woods.
Some of these have been on Facebook so sorry for the replay of pics Facebookers.
I have been playing around with sewing and need models. Ella and I designed and made Maya a skirt. We are proud and those are model poses made up by Maya. I have also hemmed some pants, fixed holes in clothes and generally played around with the machine. Learning to set it up, fill a bobbin and thread the sewing machine is the hardest part. Over the past few years I have been collecting wool and other nice materials for sewing projects. Wool cycling hats are my next goal.
We go to the science museum once in a while. The girls always love the science museum in St. Paul more than I think they will. Dino's kick ass.
I recently got a copy of the cooking reference book larousse gastronomique (1960) at a thrift store. In a pic of a "modern kitchen" in the 1960 book was this little pot. Later that week while at Iverson's Scandinavian Imports I found out that the company Ittala made it and it is in the museum of modern art. The internet told me Ittala is making it again but only in black. The name of the pot is a Timo Sarpaneva. The wood handle also works to take the lid off.
I really like to have art that I can use as an every day item.
I need to insulate my BBQ grill that I use to roast coffee. I currently use an old computer box cut open to insulate and block the wind from messing with my roast temps.
My goal is to make a grill cozy that is more permanent. I have been to Home Depot, Mennards, Ace, a fire place store and an auto parts store looking for a material that is good to about 800 degrees. I found this metallic coated fiberglass at Home Depot and made a cozy with it. What appeared to be a metal exterior melted to the grill on my first roast. The internet has a couple of similar looking products that would work at my temp needs but they are often in big rolls and cost more than I want for this project. Back to my cardboard box for now.
Heath taught my girls how to both ski and hold ski's for victory pics.
Made noodles with uncle Mike.
Mazy is a good dog.
I have too much girth for my Western Mountaineering Bison -40 sleeping bag. Midwest Mountaineering contacted them and the owner said he would make a one off bag expander for me. They make a similar product for summer bags but as far as I know they have never made one for a winter bag.
It took over 4 months but I got it and it is amazing. Looks like my bag had a tadpole bag baby. To have the owner hand make me this beautiful item for $69 is amazing. It is jam packed with 850 (likely higher) down fill. The expander is also made with windstopper material on the outside like the bag. It is sewn beautifully like all WM products.
My only regret is that I had to sleep with it part way open much of the coldest winter we have had in years waiting for it to be finished.
It should get cold next year too. With the Gore Windstopper shell I can use the bag with a ground pad and without a tent. I can't wait to use it this weekend. Come on cold!