Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday Wine Tasting

The wine I am drinking came from Laithwaites Wine Club; it is a 2012, not a 2008.
I really like South American wines, so here goes:
right off the bat = 50
Color is lovely=  5/5
aroma a little weak and heavy on the oak= 7/10
taste, just what I would expect from a malbec and deeper than the aroma suggests= 12/15
finish is really nice, not bitter or icky = 8/10
overall impression based on a ll of the Malbecs I have tried is this is to be expected 7/10
Total =89 points from me

Note: please drink responsibly.  This bottle will take me about a week to finish.  As the week goes on, the wine opens up more and the flavor changes.  I had 1/2 a glass of this yesterday and today's half glass is much smoother.  Let it breathe.

Catching up

Wow, it's been a while.  Life sometimes gets in the way and priorities change.  So, here is an update:

I am still living at the same place.  After 5 years of trying to garden in pottery shards I have decided to truck in dirt.  This spring my garden will have 46 cubic yards of good soil made into permanent beds.  I am shooting for a garden that is 55x55 and using this book to help me get more organized.  My issues with consistence are getting much better, I have seen great improvement over the last two years.  Instead of trying to do it all, I do what I can and my motto is "Do what you don't want to do, then you can do what you want."  My kitchen is cleaner because of it!

A note about the book I am using; it is written by two people who are in a zone 6 / 5 area so if you live in Florida, it is probably not the right book for you.  I live in a zone 4 area, so I have to modify it a bit which is not a problem, but if I lived in a place with 200 or more frost free days I would go nuts trying to make this book work for me.  That said, I really like it.

Today I finished sharpening, cleaning, and oiling my garden tools.  It is too cold and windy to inspect the orchard so I will do that tomorrow.  Yesterday I ordered all of my seeds from Johnny's and I plan on getting more plants when planting time comes.  Here is my garden plan that I tweaked from another book.
sorry it is such a bad photo, I will work on it.
My to youngest are also doing a bag garden from the book so I gave one the 1 year plan and the other the second year addition.  This is a great idea for kids who do not want to spend too much time working on a garden because there is very little weeding and prep involved.

I really like this book and it is fun to use.  I purchased both of them from Amazon after checking them out at the library.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Wonder Years and Amazon Prime

I went to my Amazon page this afternoon and this was greeting me:

Dear Customer,

I have big news for Amazon Prime members - we've just signed a deal with FOX to add a broad selection of movies and TV shows to our unlimited instant streaming service later this fall. The new additions from the FOX library include 24, Arrested Development, The X-Files, Ally McBeal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and - available on digital video for the first time - The Wonder Years. We now have deals with CBS, NBCUniversal, Sony, and Warner Bros, and adding FOX will bring the total to more than 11,000 movies and TV shows available for unlimited instant streaming.

Since launching earlier this year, we have now doubled the number of titles available in Prime instant videos, and there's still more to come. Prime membership remains $79 a year, and of course features our unlimited free two-day shipping on millions of products. Prime is one of the best values anywhere.

I loved the Wonder Years and never thought I would see it again because all of the issues with the'll have to look that up, but here it is.  Very exciting.  We don't have cable, can't get satellite, and only receive 2 television channels, so I rely on the Internet for my TV viewing (which I do a lot while I knit, spin, and process wool).  Amazon, to me, is a much better deal than Hulu Prime.  I watch Hulu, but I won't pay for prime.  It is more expensive than Amazon and Hulu Prime did not filter out adds, so you still have to sit through commercials.  Amazon also has a lot of BBC productions that I love (Bleak House, Pride and Prejudice) and tons of movies (IP man and Ong Bok are even on there).  So, I am loving Amazon.  I also do the Bing rewards thingy, so I get $5 a month in Amazon gift cards which almost pays for the membership.  Neato!

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Favorite IPhone Apps

Since getting this little gadget, I have acquired a few apps that have made things simpler for me.  Normally technology adds another layer of work for me, but this has not.
My top 3 favorite apps are :

Lose It!

With lose it, you set up a weight loss goal (if you have one) and it sets your calorie budget for the day.  You then log what you eat.  I have tried other things (a notebook, Spark) but this program is unique in that I have my phone everywhere I go.  I don't have to log things in a notebook and then hunt for the book, I don't have to remember things I ate for when I get to log onto Spark.  This app also keeps all of the foods I log in a different food search area so I do not have to search all over for foods I regularly eat.  It will also store whole meals that I like to have.  For example, most of the time I either have and egg and toast with some butter on it with my sweet and creamy coffee or I have a bagel with cream cheese with my sweet and creamy coffee.  I don't have to enter each food, I can just pick the breakfast I normally have and it logs all of the elements for me.   Another thing it does is log my exercise. 
I think my favorite thing about this app is its ease of use.  If it is a hassle or even a little bit of a nuisance, I will eventually stop doing it, but this is so simple. 
Lose it! is a free app that I would pay for.  After using it for a while, I see its value. 

My other fitness /  diet app that I love is from Nike

Nike Training Club is an app geared towards women, but I have no idea why.  It has great workouts.  I often watch Biggest Loser and wish I knew how to do circuit training.  I know how to run, I can bike, and I know how to lift weights the right way, but circuit training has escaped me.  This app has a lot of workouts to choose from and they are as difficult as you are willing to make them.  I am very pleased.  They are not boring, they do not have crappy music, you can actually use your own music you have stored on your iPhone.  You can do these workouts anywhere and most of them only require your willing body, no extra equipment.  Again, this makes staying fit / getting fit super simple.  I take my phone everywhere.  If I am at a hotel, I have a workout with me, if I am at my mom's, I have a workout with me. This is another free app that I would pay for.

And... Last, but another favorite, is Stitch Minder

Stitch minder is great for my knitting.  I am currently knitting an Alice Starmore Celtic sweater and this app has been invaluable.  It marks the number of rows I have completed, the pattern row I am on, the number of pattern repeats I have done, and the number of increase rows.  Now, the one thing I wish they would do is allow you to edit the names of fields and add some fields.  The sweater I am working on has charts A,B,C,D,and E.  So, I would like to be able to label one of the fields Chart C and mark the row I am on on that chart because it is different than the row I am on with Chart B and A.  Right now, I use the other fields to mark this, but if I could change the titles of the fields it would be much easier.  Other than that, this is another free app that I would pay for.  Without the added functionality, though, I would only pay $1.99.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Craft Fair

One of the towns closest to me is hosting a craft fair.  They want the focus to be on the craft and demonstrating how to do it, instead of filling space with pampered chef stalls.  There is nothing wrong with Pampered Chef, but many craft fairs get overrun by vendors selling items they had no hand in making which makes people not want to attend. 
This craft fair will have polymer clay jewelry and demonstrations on how to make it, stained glass with some demos, hardinger lace, rose malling, many other artisans, and it will also have me.  I am trying to work out space.  I have not been able to pin down what size space I will have, but, for sure I will bring my 2 spinning wheels.  I will have the Reeves wheel for me to demo and the Joy for others to try out.  My mother is learning how to use the drop spindle, so she will be there showing people how to spin with that.  We will have 13 drop spindles for sale and for demonstrating.  I also plan on having a basket of Suffolk wool and a pair of hand cards for children to sit and card, but that will depend on the space I have. 
The other things I want to have, but I am not sure there will be space is my drum carder.  My 2 youngest children know how to work it and would prepare special batts for people who want to try their hand at combining colors and fibers.  I also want to bring my English Combs that I would bring our at the top of the hour to demonstrate how to comb fiber.  They are too scary of a tool to leave out. 
We will also have fiber, yarn, pelts, and noils for sale along with the spindles.

This is quite a project.  I have never done this before, but I think it is a great opportunity to get people interested in spinning and wool.  I have a ton of prep to do to get ready.  I don't think I have enough fiber or knit items for display.  I am looking forward to it and apprehensive because this is not only new to me, but, also to the people who are putting this on.