December 13, 2011

Books N' Stuff 12-13-2011

Just finished reading Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett.  From the City Watch line of the Discworld series, a fun fiction read in Pratchett's fantastical universe.  Pratchett has a wit about him that makes his creations very enjoyable.

November 22, 2011

Fall 2011 Vineyard Update

Fall update on the vineyard

Ski Season Approaches

I got some shorter skis!

My old skis are some circa1998 Salomon Equipeaxe Dr 150 -197cm.  Their best performance happens on large radius turns and hard, packed snow.  Basically designed for bombing down the hill, not fighting through powder.

The new skis are 2007 Atomic Supercross 10M - 170cm.  Pretty good for most things (I hope), and a massive bit shorter.

November 6, 2011

Four Hot Springs Excursion

Last weekend, we went to several different hot springs.  We trekked to Givens hot springs on Friday.  On Saturday, we headed to Kirkham hot springs, then up towards Stanley, head off at bear valley towards Deadwood reservoir, then to Warm Lake.  From Warm Lake, we drove north to Milepost 16 hot springs.  We then drove north to Lick Creek summit, and dropped into McCall from the East.  Sunday, we went to Burgdorf hot springs, enjoying the brisk fall weather.

October 8, 2011


I've fixed up one of our family's motorbikes.  It's a Honda XL80S.  I've ridden it to work a few times.  Even on some cool and rainy mornings.  It's exciting driving on the road when your top speed is 45 mph downhill.  I also recently picked up an iPad.  I've decided I wanted to use a tablet to make some artwork, as well as whatever tablets are good for.  My first iPaintmash is exhibited here as the motorbike.

Updated Satellite Imagery

Google has updated their satellite imagery of the vineyard.  The Frankenshed is visible, and you can see the orientation of the rows.  Looks like they are almost perfectly north/south oriented.

September 27, 2011

Reading 9-27-2011

I've been reading the Last of the Mountain Men, by Harold Peterson.  It's an interesting window into the lives of those who lived in the Idaho wilderness.  With plenty of information about gold rushes and ghost towns and the hard characters of the old west.
I also have been reading the library's One Man's Wilderness by Sam Keith, a book about Richard Proenneke.  Proenneke was an adventurer that built his own cabin and tools in the Alaskan wilderness.
I also got a copy of Constitutional Government in the United States by Woodrow Wilson.  I'm interested to read about his interpretation of the Constitution which has apparently been pretty landmark for the last hundred years.  I think he was such an interesting president to lead the nation during World War I, help to found the League of Nations, which the congress did not endorse.  Interesting in that there is some parallels to the United Nations and how it's not exactly a elected representative force of our populace.
I also checked out a copy of Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by John le CarrĂ©.  It's apparently an upcoming movie with Gary Oldman.

September 23, 2011

Hettinger Island

The Island now is officially named Hettinger Island.  As there were no previous names on record, it took about six months of government processing to name it.  It now shows up in the national Geographic Names Information System, and probably in a few years in actual maps.

September 7, 2011

New Lappy

We recently celebrated Melissa's birthday.  Part of the celebrations involved having all of her wisdom teeth out.  I'm pretty sure she did not enjoy the event and will most likely pass on having them out again.  For her birthday we upgraded her laptop.  She is now a full fledged college student, so we got her an Apple lappy.  Don't worry, we installed Windows with boot camp (so it runs both operating systems).  I'm of a philosophy of hatred towards laptops, so the Applecare warranty should help me from wanting to smash it to bits.

Reading 9-7-2011

I love Librarything early reviewers.  I've received several books from the early reviewers, and am working to slog through a few that came in over the summer.  It's been a busy summer and as a  result, I wish I had more time to read.  I got the book Come of Age: The Road to Spiritual Maturity by Angus Buchan. Angus of Faith like Potatoes fame.  I also got When Bad Christians Happen to Good People by Dave Burchett.  I also am excited to read some more of those Science Fiction novels I picked up this Spring.

August 24, 2011

Coffee Rant - Kona Classic

 There exists a rip in the fabric of time and space.  The anomaly is centered around the coffee beans grown in the Hawaiian islands.  Kona is the frontrunner of these.  The Hawaiian islands are special to us American coffee imbibers because they are in the tropical belt that coffee plants prefer.  And they happen to be the only U.S. state in that geographical belt.

Kona, being a precious commodity, is often blended with other coffees.  Other things of note that are blended:   House paint, Margaritas, and a peculiar blend of 14% wood pulp and 86% water.

Boiling water percolated over dehydrated grounds, mixed with the blissful shards of the Hawaiian islands.  Flying fish... and possibly a dab of pykrete.

August 8, 2011

Coffee Rant - Iced Coffee

A paradox of the senses.  Something that seems to be so wrong, yet somehow turns out ok.  Iced coffee: an experiment gone wrong?  There has always been those who seek to be 'first' in the discovery of new things.  Those who venture into unfamiliar territory.  Nine times out of eight, these wrong turns end up a failure.  However, in that implausible moment, there exists the spark of discovery.  A new element... a new molecule... a new beverage.
The precise wrong turn that started people drinking cold coffee hasn't been revealed to us by history.  I imagine it was out of necessity... somewhere in a horrific war.  The valiant surviving veteran returned home with a palate for the unusual.  A taste for the tepid flavors of cold coffee.

Or perhaps it was something that only could of been conceived in the Space Age.  The relatively passive discovery of freeze-dried ice cream has led to us to the greater advance in the science of Iced Coffee.  Who knows what strange boundaries are yet to be transgressed in the pursuit of coffee.

Bold and out of this earthy.

July 21, 2011

Frankenshed Tour

A shaky video of the newly relocated, but rather old, Arrow 10' by 14' shed.

July 18, 2011

The Mobile Shed - Part 3

The mobile shed has landed.  After much work, the shed is now relocated to its new home.  It is situated in the middle of a river, on a nice cement pad.  I've taken to calling this shed Frankenshed, since it was taken completely apart and then reassembled elsewhere.
During the shed's re-assemblage, the roof tins go on in sections.  As the roof was coming together was the perfect time to mount the solar panel. It's on the edge that tilts towards the south, getting more sun.  The panel is rather hard to see, being on top of the shed.

July 11, 2011

Books 7-11-11

I've been reading some Terry Pratchett books of late.  I've finished Men At Arms and Interesting Times.  I like the comedic writing of Terry Pratchett, who's been likened to Douglas Adams of the Fantasy genre.  The Douglas Adams whom essentially defined the genre of Science Fiction comedy.  That's a tough comparison due to the calibre of Douglas Adam's comedic tour de farce.  Still, Pratchett is a great writer, who had me laughing out loud at some of the hilarious situations and zany plots his colorful characters find themselves in.  I'm glad I have more of his books to read.

June 24, 2011

Coffee Rant - Bali Blue Moon

Bali Blue Moon coffee is a product of the island of Bali, in Indonesia.  Bali has a rich history of growing coffee, but in 1963, a volcanic eruption caused the island to have problems that persisted for almost two decades, severely stunting the coffee industry during that time.

Blue Moon is a figure of speech that connotates the idea of rarity.  Something that happens every once in a blue moon... doesn't happen very often.  Like finding a unicorn, the Loch Ness monster, or a governmental tax decrease.  Sure, there are stories about Bigfoot, but no one carries size 52 sneakers.

Blue Moon coffee might just be the Fountain of Youth of coffee-dom.  A quest for some mythical water sculpture frozen solid somewheres underneath the Epcot center in the swamps of central Florida.  Explorers have scoured the mosquito infested tropical jungles and the back halls of Hogwarts looking for a rumor of better coffee.

Rich and smooth with a pleasant aftertaste, hints of a tropical monsoon, and Hovitos!

June 19, 2011

The Mobile Shed - Part 2

Finished the concrete floor pad for the shed.  The outer concrete foundation is four inches thick, and the inside area is two inches thick.  We used chicken wire in the cement to help strengthen it.

June 7, 2011

Tripping Westward

We recently returned from a vacation to southern California.  We drove through Salt Lake, to take in a U2 concert.  U2 is on their massive 360 tour which will be winding down soon, and has the distinction of being the biggest show in the history of music.  The stage (the claw) was massive!
From Salt Lake, we drove to Los Angeles and went to Disneyland.  We then attended Melissa's brother's college graduation. Then we promptly turned around and headed back towards Idaho.

June 2, 2011

Books 6-2-2011

I was at a garage sale a while back and scored a trove of Sci-Fi novels.  Orson Scott Card's entire Ender series, some Terry PratchettNeil Gaiman, Neal Stephenson, and some Isaac Asimov.  I've been reading the book Xenocide, continuing onward in the Ender storyline.

May 22, 2011

The Mobile Shed - Part 1

A while back, we ran into a free shed.  We needed to remove it from it's current home, so we disassembled it, and moved it to the vineyard.  It's in the process of getting re-assembled.  But first, we needed to make a place to put it.

Sun Shade Gazebo

One thing we've noticed with working on the vineyard project is the is a lack of shade.  So we've been watching craigslist for an awning type material.  We ending up finding a gazebo.  We reassembled it yesterday, and just in time, as we had blazing sun, and then rain.

Refinishing Adirondack Chairs

Our Adirondack chairs were in need of refinishing, so we sanded them down, re-stained them, and are re-coating them with polyurethane clear coat.  Several coats of clear coat and some light sanding between, and the chairs get a nice glossy glass like finish.

May 15, 2011

Coffee Rant - Three Region Blend

Three region blend is the amalgam of three very different regions of the world.  These regions are united in the fact that they produce coffee.  Often, coffee beans of distinction.

There exists different grades of aluminum:  Aircraft grade, lawn chair grade, and the elusive aluminium (which is only found in the United Kingdom, apparently).  The difference between aircraft grade and lawn chair grade should be readily apparent.  A lawn chair made out of aircraft grade aluminum would probably cost 500 dollars.  A plane made of lawn chair grade aluminum would probably only fly 500 feet.

If you were to blend the main two grades of aluminum together, you might somehow achieve the mythical aluminium... or you might create some sort of Chimera.

Pungent but pleasant aroma.  A smooth cup of coffee, which leaves little aftertaste, but a pleasant memory.

May 1, 2011

Aerial Photos

The weather this spring has been very wet.  The rainfall has been above average every month this year except February.  It's been the wettest April since almost 30 years ago.  Anyway, the rain is good for making things green. It's also good at raising the water level of the river. 

April 2, 2011

Planted vines and trellis poles

Yesterday was an epic day of planting grapevines and trellis poles.  We planted 126 grapevines and 76 poles.  After yesterday's work, we still have the trellis hardware to attach, as well as the anchors, anchor posts, grow tubes, drip line, and wires.   But we're off to a great start, and I'm very happy with the wet spring we're getting.

March 29, 2011


We've picked up our grapevine roots.  The bare roots are waiting in the bag for a chance to get planted, which should be very shortly now.

March 25, 2011

Coffee Rant - McCafe Premium Roast Coffee

McDonald's conquest of the known world is something of legend.  Beyond Napoleon or Alexander the Great, it has invaded all reaches of the planet.  The only place left for McDonalds to expand is to other planets, or perhaps to the bottom of the ocean.

While sea life hasn't been quick to adopt the fast food trend yet; we're confident with the proper marketing that this untapped market will turn into the gold mine that we all know it to be.  Except for the McFish, we'll probably need to rename that...

Characteristics: Rich depths, beautiful, soothing sounds, susceptible to the gravitational pull of celestial bodies, covers ~71% of the surface of the globe.

Coffee Rant - 40th Anniversary Tribute Blend

Forty is a great number.  Forty years wandering in the wilderness.  Forty days in the desert.  Forty days of rain...  Forty winks...  Forty shakes of a lambs tail...  Forty and twenty blackbirds... Forty-forty vision... Snow White and the Forty Dwarves...  Forty hour work week... Forty four magnum... Mozart's fortieth symphony. There are alot of great things about the number forty.

Rico Suave, speeding ticket, and failure to use turn signal.

March 24, 2011

Trellis Wire

Galvanized trellis wire and tension strainers.  Another great purchase off of craigslist.  This should help keep those posts in line!

March 18, 2011

Solar Power

In order to power any timers, solenoids, or other electrical shenanigans, I bought a Solar Panel.  This was probably the first major purchase that wasn't off of craigslist that is related to the island project (apart from the vines, I suppose).  It will be neat to see how the solar power does, and hopefully I won't find any stray electrons!

Water Tower

I have a large container; another craigslist purchase.  This tote should hold somewhere around 330 gallons.   Which should be enough to store all the rainwater... and anything else we find that might need to be stored.

March 12, 2011

Final Rototill Tour

We re-roto-tilled the whole field today.  After finishing the tilling, the rain was just about to start.

Sky Platform

I am thinking the "Sky Platform" will be a good place to let gravity help us water our vines in their first few months.

March 10, 2011

Reading Books 3-9-2011

I recently picked up Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy from the library.  So far, it's a little like a novelization of Unforgiven, if it had been written by James Joyce.
I also finished reading Decision Points by former U.S. President George W. Bush.  An interesting read, which was very enlightening to see the motivations and convictions of the former president.  It was an interesting read, though it seemed strongly apologetic (defensive).  That probably was his point of writing the book.

March 6, 2011

Vineyard Hardware Continued

I haven't shared the varieties that we are planning on planting.  We settled on three varieties.  We chose muscat, chenin blanc, and merlot.
After finding that we are planting more vines than originally anticipated, we picked up 26 more poles and trellis brackets.  Some of the brackets have never been used.

March 1, 2011

Coffee Rant - Yukon

Yukon Gold.  The Yukon gold rush was one of the last great North American gold rushes.  Fifty years after the gold rushes of the California, Oregon, Nevada, etc.  The thick rows of miners ready to explore and prospect for gold in the frozen northland thinned out across the wide expanse of the Yukon.  The great frozen northland took much more planning and preparation to conquer than the relatively temperate climes of the south.  Prospectors heading north in Canada were required to bring a years provisions, and often stripped of firearms.  The Canadian Mounties waited at the tops of passes to make sure the prospectors were in compliance.
Some prospectors found gold, some found silver, and some found very large bears.

Very woody, earthy, with a light dusting of charcoal and soot; like the depths of a gold mine etched into the frozen permafrost.

February 20, 2011

Snowy Riverboating

We took a quick trip down to the island this weekend. Melissa's family was in town, and we had the opportunity to show them our fun hobby.

We also went for a ride around the river while it was snowing, which was a different experience.  The river boat ride turned out to be really fun, though some of the boaters were starting to ice over.

February 15, 2011

Another ⅛ of an Acre

We ended up ordering 50 of each variety of vine, instead of 30.  This is due to a volume discount.  It was significantly cheaper to order the 150 vines instead of 90 vines.  As a result, we needed to til and fertilize some more ground.  Melissa rototilled an eighth of an acre.  that brings us to a quarter acre now.
We also put up some poles.  I've decided to rent an auger machine to drill all the holes, as there will be many to be dug.

February 11, 2011


I recently got a new resident for the island: a wheelbarrow.  Another fine purchase from craigslist.

February 1, 2011

Coffee Rant - Komodo Dragon

     The sun scorched desert.  Not many things live in the desert.  It's deserted.  Dung beetles, sidewinders, mice... might be here or there.  The inhabitants of the desert are hardy, and have well defined methods of protecting themselves.  Cactus have uninviting spines.  Sidewinders have nasty big pointy teeth.
     The wood in the desert is cracked and dry.  Dwellings left to the desert's devices become parched and sun-bleached.  The conditions of the desert preserve some aspects, and decimate others; embalming the remnants of the once living.
     Generally, the things to eat in the desert are slim pickings.  A bite of cactus spines. A mouthful of dusty sand.  It seems there aren't many flavorful things in the desert, though there might be a rare treat of such things as sugary flowers.  The prickly pear cactus has little flavor; aloe vera the same.
Strong flavor of charcoal.  A hint of wood: like sucking on a cedar fencepost left in the middle of the Sahara for aproximately 20 years.

January 29, 2011

Gutters and Trellises

Put a gutter on the shack.  Now it can collect stray rain into a barrel.  

Shiny White Gutter

January 24, 2011

Parzival - January 2010

I've recently been reading through Parzival, by Wolfram von Essenbach.  This book is the epic poem about Percival, written in the first quarter of the 13th century.  I'm reading a translation of the original German.  It contains many of the stories that make up the canon of Arthurian legend.  A fun read, though it requires a slower pace.

     I also recently received a copy of Decision Points by former President George W. Bush.  It will be interesting to see what kind of points were attached to the tough decisions of the previous presidency.