DIY

Do It Yourself

More Than Just a Bunch of Wineries

Lagunitas Brewing Co. - The Writing is on the Wall

When you think of Sonoma, CA what comes to mind? Maybe green vineyards or rolling golden hills, but probably not craft beer and hard cider. On a recent vacation in Northern California I tasted quite a few beverages made with barley and apples instead of grapes. Sonoma County has built a reputation on wine, but a revival of hand-crafted beer and cider has grown from historic hop vines and apple orchards.

The Four Day Cocktail

This past week, I spent four days making a cocktail.

If you saw the picture in Bon Appetit, you might drop everything and make it too. Its marbled beauty reminiscent of an Italian cathedral.... Oh sorry! Back to the cocktail.

This craziness started on Sunday with a special trip to our local 'Swapper Jacks' for a stout beer. I did not want a whole six pack because, for lord's sake, it's 90 degrees outside ... who drinks stout when it's that hot? Beer acquired.

Can You Fix It?

Broken - Storm Door Latch and Coffee Grinder

Stuff breaks. This is a fact of life. But, is that stuff fixable?

Here are two recent examples of broken items from our home, a storm door latch and coffee grinder. The storm door was fixed by replacing the inside latch. The coffee grinder wasn't fixable (yes, I took it apart to attempt a repair). The coffee grinder, although it lasted 25+ years, is disposable. The storm door was designed with replaceable parts (latch, handle, screen, etc.)

DIY Coffee Roasting

Roasting Coffee - cooling beans

I am a big DIY nerd. Sometimes that leads to complicated, long term projects that take over your life. Fortunately, some DIY projects are ridiculously quick and easy. Case in point: roasting coffee. While I'm not a coffee connoisseur, I grind my own beans and we have four types of coffee makers (drip, moka pot, french press, pourover). I had read many self-described coffee geeks wax rhapsodic about roasting their own coffee. Frankly, I was leery of over-complicating my simple morning coffee habit.

Why I Garden #39

Santa Rosa Plum Tree in Bloom

One sure sign of spring is our Santa Rosa Plum tree in bloom. With crossed fingers, compost, water and a little help from Mother Nature and Luther Burbank we could have a crop of plums later this year. Barring any late freezes or big wind storms, of course.

More Info:

Prunus x domestica 'Santa Rosa' plum

Slow and Steady Brings Results

Tortoise and the Hare

Over the past several years I've made incremental improvements to the building envelope of our home. Adding insulation above the garage ceiling is the latest in a string of insulation and weather sealing DIY projects. My slow and steady wins the race approach has chipped away at our natural gas usage. But, have I come to the end of the low hanging fruit?

Help Me Obi Kalenobi, You're My Only Hope!

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Young Kale in our cold frame

Happy New Year! Have you bought your collards yet? They are the New Kale and you will be eating lots of leafy green vegetables this year, right?????? Welcome to your annual reset: Bon Appétit's 2014 Food Lover's Cleanse.

From Merry to Mulch

Christmas Tree Recycling

Ours was a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and I hope yours were too. With the passing of the holidays it is time to clear our the decorations, especially the more flammable ones. The family loved having a fragrant and green Christmas tree in our home.

L'air du vinaigre

Hey kids! Would you like your house to smell like vinegar? Have I got the recipe for you!

We had a surprisingly good tomato year this year in our garden. This is extra amazing considering we had a massive hail storm in early July which reduced many of our plants to sticks. The tomatoes bounced back and, boy howdy, did they produce. However, the cold descended before all the tomatoes could ripen. So, we had lots of green tomatoes and didn't have the heart to toss everything on the compost pile.

Our Jeans Keep Us Warm

Garage Ceiling Insulation

A few years ago we insulated our home's attic which made a huge difference in our heating bills. At the time we didn't insulate above the garage because I thought it was unconditioned space. But, the walls between our kitchen/living room and laundry room are poorly insulated - allowing lots of heat transfer between the house and garage. That makes the garage "indirectly-conditioned space" and in dire need of insulation.

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