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Monday, March 12, 2018

More Brewing

Do you like ginger ale? Do you like doing and making things for yourself? Then you'll love this.


¼ cup dried ginger
¼ cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled, your preference)
1 tbsp molasses
1.5-2 cup white sugar
1/8 tsp yeast nutrient
1 gal water (approx.)
1 pkt yeast


Place 1 qt water, ginger, molasses, and ½ cup sugar in pot or pan, and heat gently to a low boil. Boil for 15 minutes.

While the boil goes on, add yeast nutrient, lemon juice, remaining sugar, and 1 qt water to a 1 gallon jug (plastic or glass).

When the boil is done, place the pot in a cold water bath, and cool below 110 degrees.

Add this to the 1 gal. jug, and add water to bring it to a gallon.

Add yeast, and seal with an airlock. Wait one week, or more (until bubbles stop appearing, and beer begins to clear).

Gather 5 bottles (with tops), of 750 ml to 1 liter, and divide your ginger beer evenly amongst them.

Add ½ tsp white sugar to each bottle, and seal tightly.

Wait one week for the bottles to carbonate, and enjoy.

Options – If you have brown sugar, you can use brown sugar instead of the white sugar and molasses.
There are several options for an airlock. There are airlocks available that fit into a drilled stopper. You can also use a balloon with a hole pierced.
I used dry ginger powder, because that’s what I have. You can also use fresh ginger. Just peel it, grate it, and double the amount used.
Again, I used yeast nutrient, because I had some. You can also use 1 tsp of cream of tartar, or 3 raisins. The idea is to provide the yeast with needed trace elements.
Your choice of yeast is up to you. Standard bread yeast works fine. You could also use any variety of brewing yeast, for beer or wine.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Apparently, I'm A Minority

I was originally going to post this on Twitter, but I have too much to say, and I don't do well with character limits.

I've been looking at some national polls, and I was surprised to learn that most people approve of the job President Trump is doing. I'm not in that group.

I want to be fair. I'm also not part of the firebrand anti-Trump brigade. My view is that he won, fair and square. For better or worse, he is My President. He hasn't even finished the first year of a four-year term. He is not a politician. I feel he needs some time to learn his way around. At this point I would give him an "Incomplete".

For those of you who like everything he's done, I'm NOT on your side. I do not approve of his actions on taxes, healthcare, immigration, or terrorism. I don't like his speeches, or mannerisms. I simply don't like him, period.

That said, I do not think Mrs. Clinton would have been an improvement.

On the one hand, i am very interested to see how this will all ply out. On the other, I want, as much as possible, to stay in control of my own life.

I would welcome any reasonable discussion, without name-calling. You can comment below, or you can reach me at

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Veteran's Day, 2017

It's way too easy to slap a frame on a random photo. When my son, Joe, told me, long ago, that he wanted to join the National Guard, it was just after 9/11. I said that I though it was an honorable thing to do, but I hoped he realized we lived in a different world, and we didn't know what the future might bring. His answer should be engraved somewhere. He replied that he knew what might come, but he thought it was important. I have tears in my eyes as I write this. Joe, you're my hero

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

I'm SO Happy To Be An American

I just watched the singing of the anthem before game 6 of the World Series.

I thought of Francis Scott Key, stuck on a British ship, straining to see the flag over Fort McHenry. Washington had been sacked. The White House had been burned. The war was not going well. The survival of our young nation hung in the balance. If London had the resources available, we probably would have been crushed.

Someone once told me the United States is always a work in progress. It's never about who we are, but who we aspire to be. The Civil War, Prohibition, both World Wars, the Civil Rights movement, and much more, were always about us trying to be a better nation, a better people.

Now, whenever I hear the anthem, it brings tears to my eyes. I think of what we've survived, what we've gone through, what we are going through.

And I think, we've survived so much. We'll survive this.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Things I Miss (Part III)

Running and hiking; other than the fact they both use the legs, what do they have in common? Well, for me, It was the combination of the destination and the journey.

In both, there's a goal you're working towards. On a hike, you're going to the next campsite, or a historical site, or a notable landmark, or just a spot to cook lunch. In running, there's always the finish line. It could be a formal race, with a timekeeper, and an official placement. Or. you might be on your evening run, finishing up with a relaxing moment, and a cold drink.

A few of you might think I've lost my mind, but I really enjoyed the journey, as well. On a hike, there was always something to look at; a tree I'd never seen, a rock formation, a lookout with a spectacular view. I enjoyed distance running for much the same reason.I was competing only partially against the other runners, more against myself, my last run, my inner demons. There were smells, sights, sounds you could never get from inside a car.

In both running and hiking, I could feel a closeness to the natural world I couldn't get any other way. Breezes, dead leaves, freshly mown grass, newly poured asphalt, old firepits, The burst of autumn color, the peace of winter white; these are all things that made travel by foot my chosen method for the longest time.

Some things are just too far away to walk to. My last installment addresses that. I loved to drive.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Things I Miss (Part II)

When I decided to cover the Great Outdoors in this section, I realized I was giving myself a rather large task. But, I couldn't see a nice way to split things up. So, here we go!

In 1964, shortly before my 11th birthday, I joined the Boy Scouts of America, Troop 55, Watertown, Connecticut. Before this, the outdoors consisted of the backyard, and the playground at school. A whole new world opened up.

Camping, cooking over a fire, sleeping outdoors in a tent, getting up, dressed, and washing up in the cold, all new and exciting experiences.

I was in Scouting from 1964 until the mid '80's, and they include some of the best times of my entire life. From a young, new, clueless Scout, to an Assistant Scoutmaster, and leader of my own troop (twice), the lessons I learned stayed with me and helped me in every facet of my life.

I have often said that Scouting teaches young people to be self-reliant, moral, good citizens; and disguises it all as fun. This was something I have held onto my entire life. I feel, very strongly, that work and learning should be enjoyable. As a manager, and as a teacher, I've tried to put this into practice, with some success. I've had former employees tell me I was a boss they liked and respected, and former students have remarked on how my lessons have stayed with them.

Many of the successes in my life can be traced directly to my experiences in the Boy Scouts, and the lessons I learned there will always stay with me.

While writing this, I realized there is a way to split this up. In my next article, I'll talk about hiking and running, two activities I enjoyed, for similar reasons.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Things I Miss (Part I)

One thing that has changed this year is that I am finally coming to accept myself as disabled. I think that's a plus. It relaxes some turmoil in my brain, and allows me to see myself for what I really am. Also, I can let go of the things I can no longer do, and find new roads to follow.

I was prodded to write about the things that were no longer part of my life. Why did they matter? Why does it matter that they"re gone?

My 64th birthday is 9/11/17. From high school to the turn of the century, I enjoyed bowling, both alone, and as part of a team. The competition was only partially against the opposing team. Part of it was against the pins, the lane, my last game.

I enjoyed the competition, especially in close games, where every frame, every ball, could change the course of the match. If you have never gone through the experience, the feeling if very difficult to describe. I really enjoyed being a teammate you could depend on. I would get up for my turn, and get told, "Joe, we need this strike (spare, pin)." Being the person a match could turn on was a feeling I will always treasure.

There are sounds and feelings that will always stay with me. There's the soft "thunk" when you lay the ball perfectly on the lane, the sound of the ball as it rolls and spins its way to the pins. When the ball hits the pins, right in the 1-3 pocket, there's a sound that I remember fondly, but can't really describe. All the pins hitting each other, and falling down, in a fraction of a second, is a great sporting moment, and one I'm glad I got to experience.

Was I a great bowler? Not even close. There were many many others, much better than I. I'm very happy to say that, at times, I was pretty good. It's now part of my past, my memories. But, they're good memories, and ones that will always make me smile.

For my next installment, I want to write about the outdoors. There are a whole bunch of activities that are now beyond my capabilities.