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Cocktails!

Well, that dinner at Wood Work back in June did it!

A few different kinds of bitters are in the cupboard, a couple different vermouths are in the fridge, some new glassware, cocktail shaker, mixing glass, barspoons, jiggers…. and the momentum hasn’t really slowed down!  Waiting for a couple large ice cube trays, mole bitters…

In my bookshelf, I’ve added some books:

pdt-cocktail-book The PDT Cocktail Book (Hardcover)

12-bottle-bar The 12 Bottle Bar (Paperback)

DEATH-AND-CODeath & Co.

I bought hard copies of PDT & 12 Bottle Bar, but wish I had them electronically as well – to search and look up recipes from my iPad or phone.  I bought the Kindle version of Death & Co., but I think it’s still nice to be able to pick up a book and enjoy the original presentation of the books authors.  Wish buying books was like buying new vinyl albums – where they typically include digital downloads.

The 12 Bottle Bar is a great book to start with, if you’re just buying one book.  The recipes are grouped by the main spirit used in the recipes, and contains most of the classic cocktail recipes.

The PDT Cocktail Book and the Death & Co. books are great reading, providing more back story about a couple of important cocktail bars in New York City.  It’s interesting to read about how some cocktail recipes come about, and they provide information and recipes on making syrups and other ingredients used in some of the drinks.

Now we’re also looking at bar cabinets  – something that will store the tools, glassware, and bottles – that opens up as a prep and serving station.

Another  case of both feet 🙂

More Espresso machine maintenance

Well, I finally got around to getting a replacement control box, and a new pump.  For just over 6 months I’ve been making pour-overs (and enjoying them) – while my espresso machine sat idle.  The control box was behaving erratically, I suspect because of excessive heat within the machine.  Then the vibe pump failed around New Years.

So, I replaced the control box with another Giemme RLO 1E/1S/3C/F, and the pump I ended up replacing with a different one – an MG 071 Fluidotech Oscillating Pump.  This pump is a 70W pump, vs. the 52W Ulka vibe pump – should fill a little more quickly, resulting is shorter cycle times, and hopefully, last longer.  Another really pleasing feature, is that it’s SUBSTANTIALLY quieter!

new-pump

Everything was easily swapped out – and after getting the boiler refilled, everything is working great once again!

I think I might tear it down again though in the not too distant future, and see about rewiring the machine so that I can tidy up the wiring, and relocate the control box in the space where the water reservoir was (I have the machine plumbed in, so no water reservoir is required).

I also found a place where I might be able to get the old control box repaired – would be nice to have a backup that didn’t cost so much!

New Garden

Planted
Planted!

Decided to try a bit of gardening this year – and my son Davis and I built 3 raised garden beds, each 3′ x 5′, from cedar 2×6’s.  We also got some large planter pots, 3 of them, that are about 2′ in diameter, and a couple feet tall.

This past weekend we picked up the soil, and Davis and I filled up the garden beds.  Then Tracey and I decided on vegetables.  Here’s what we’ve planted, mostly from seed:

  • Zucchini (green and gold varieties)
  • Radishes
  • Cucumbers
  • Butter lettuce
  • Kale (planted some seed, and also 2 plants from the garden center)
  • Carrots (a multi-color variety)
  • Green onions
  • Jalapeño pepper
  • Red Chili pepper
  • Sweet Bell pepper
  • Tomatoes (in one of the planter pots)

While at the garden center, we also picked up some flowers and herbs that we’ve planted in large planter pots.  The herbs are in a big pot by the pizza oven which should be handy 🙂

Now we just have to remember to water and weed everything!

 

New tankmates

Recently I added a couple small bristlenose pleco’s to the aquarium.  They are small right now, not quite 2″ in length.  Their maximum size is around 6″, which works nicely – I definitely didn’t want a common pleco, which can grow over a foot long!

They are very good at staying hidden, but this evening for the first time I saw both of them out for a little while at the same time 🙂

pleco-1
pleco-2

The current residents of the aquarium:

  • 4 Denison barbs (or indian flasher barbs)
  • 6 Siamese algae eaters
  • 2 Bristlenose plecostomus
  • 2 Salt and Pepper corydoras
  • 6 Red Phantom tetras
  • 6 Black neon tetras
  • 6 Neon tetras
  • 8 Head and Tail Light tetras

I also added a digital thermometer – much easier to read than the little plastic strip I had stuck on the front glass!

Progress on the tables

Have been negligent in posting updates on the side tables and coffee tables that Keith and I have been working on – Keith has been doing the lions share of the work – and I’ve been helping after I finish work when I can, and on the weekends.

I was experimenting with a staining technique that I saw on a recent episode of ‘Ellen’s Design Challenge’.  A solution of iron acetate is brushed onto the wood, and it reacts with the tannins in oak, darkening the wood as the solution dries.  The effect is quite dramatic!

IMG_0397

These pieces of wood have been brushed with the solution.  The shinier surface the oak is sitting on is my cedar desk, which was brushed with Minwax Ebony stain, and then a coat of semi-gloss varathane.

The solution is easily made simply by ripping up a couple pieces of clean 0000 steel wool and placing the pieces into a glass jar (I used a 1 litre mason jar).  Fill the jar with household white vinegar.  Fold a plastic straw in half and use the ends to push the steel wool down, so it’s completely submerged in vinegar.  Seal the jar, and punch a few holes in the lid – this is important – otherwise you could end up with an explosion of glass & vinegar solution!

IMG_0386Here’s a side table all assembled, and waiting for stain.

IMG_0422

Here are all three tables, stained and getting the first coat of a satin polyurethane.  I’m second guessing myself as to the finish – I may end up adding a final coat of semi-gloss – but we’ll see how the satin finish looks once we get the tables set up in our living room!