Sunday, October 29, 2006

Vamos a Zacatecas, Mexico

En una semana, Mariana y yo vamos a viajar a Zacatecas, Mexico. Tengo que dar una presentacion sobre mi trabajo - por 90 minutos en espanol. Estoy emocianado, porque es una buena oportunidad para entender mas sobre las areas protegidas para la vida silvestre en Mexico. Y, tambien, pienso en escribir un articulo en espanol para una revista cientifica en Mexico sobre mi trabajo. Espero que uno de los biologos al taller pueda ayudarme.

Durante los dias, Mariana puede visitar muchos lugares interestantes en la ciudad. Hay museos, iglesias, una mina, y mas. Y por las noches hay muchos restaurantes y una cosa muy interestante:

"There is a fairly frivolous side to Zacatecas--we are speaking of Mexico, after all--including Callejoneada Zacatecana, a famous tradition of drinking your way through the city's narrow alleys with drums and horns following a mescal-laden burro". Vamos a ver si esta celebracion esta pasando!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Chicago pix - post marathon and family

A few pix from our whirlwind Chicago visit. We had a super-great visit and got to see Laurel and Freddie run the Chicago MARATHON! We also got to visit with Nate and Karen, Sierra, Sierra's Peace Corp friend, Luke, and the Chicago support crew including the race stalwarts Jason and Rick. We got to see Freddie in Band Geeks, had a nice visit with Grandma and Grandpa, and also with Penny and Edie. Add in a few games of pool, some time on the slot machince, some cards, and overall, it was quite a wonderful time! Now, the pix:

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wedding Wine - phase 1

Oh boy, oh boy! Today we started both batches of the red wine for the weddings. Nathan and Karen's is called "Vieux Chateau de Roi" and is described as:

"Full-bodied, yet soft and quick to mature, this is the perennially popular French red wine blend that continues to keep them coming back with its smooth, easy charms. A Brew King specialty blending a host of grape varieties, each contributing to the layers of aroma and flavours that make this so special. Complex and full of character, yet supple and easy drinking."

The wine for Justin and Juliana is an australian Shiraz, described as:

"The grape that was made for Down Under - its hot climate perfect for bringing out the best traits in this popular grape varietal. Australian Shiraz is seductively delicious, with startlingly rich, ripe aromas that deliver right through to the full zesty finish. Amazingly, the style allows for polished tannins early, so the young wine is not rough or harsh. The aged version retains the core fruit flavours of plums, cherries and blackberries, but gains extra polish. Pair this Shiraz with flavourful meals!"

As I said, oh boy, oh boy! I hope the wine tastes as god as they sound in these descriptions. That would be a fun job - writing these.

So, here are a few pix of the process in Phase one. The juice comes in a box, with the yeast and other additivies (bentonite, oak chips, etc.) enclosed in separate packets

We ferment the wine in big buckets, and these buckets are put in a water bath in an even bigger plastic cntainer. I am adding some of the oak chips to the wine. These are to improve the flavor and character of the wine. And next Mom is adding the yeast.

Then we wheel them on their little supports to our bedroom, plug in a fish tank thermostat to keep them at about 70 degrees, and let the fermentation go for about 5-7 days. Stay tuned for more updates!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Pond project

Mom was reading up on ways to make our pond stay cleaner and not have to worry so much about the filter on our pump, and found a plan to make a biological filter system. So, before the snow flies (which may be tomorrow!) we got a start on setting it up. It's a pretty simple design. you pump the water from the pond up into a big bucket/container where it then swirls around through the filter media (spongy things) that have a lot of surface area and we incoluated with good bacteria. This cleans the water and should make our pond stay nicer, easier, longer. The first photo is Mom (aka Small, but Mighty) digging out a hole for the bucket. The second photo shows the empty bucket with the intake and shows how the water will come in and then go down the pipe and out the two end pieces. The third photo shows some of the filter sponges. Mom got some black ones to put on top so it doesn't look so noticeable. We need to do a few more things, but mostly, that's it. Hopefully, our water will stay clearer and we will be in a low maintenance mode.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Nice hike and Fall colors

John Bartholow and I took about a 5 mile hike today in a new Larimer county open space called Eagle's nest. It was really beautiful, the weather was warm (almost 80 degrees!), the fall colors were gorgeous and we even saw a golden eagle!

We came upon some neat rock formations. The one in the photo here looked like a rock monster with three fingers trying to climb up out of the ground. It made me think of the great story I would have told if we had found it when all of you were kids.

Then to top off the nice fall day, I picked the last of our apples and made a yummy apple crisp. Then Mom and I sat on the patio, Regan ate a fair number of elm sticks (she really likes them!), and we spotted a deer bedded down in the old paddock area. Tomorrow a front moves through and Sunday the high is only going to be in the 50's. But today was perfect!