albear_garni: (Default)
Well, it's officially on Friday, but I wanted to wish [info]ednixon a happy birthday!

Happy b'day, Frank!
albear_garni: (Default)
Well, it's officially on Friday, but I wanted to wish [info]ednixon a happy birthday!

Happy b'day, Frank!

The Gate

Nov. 9th, 2009 09:42 pm
albear_garni: (Default)

The last of our grandes projets involves the erection of a deer fence to defend our newly landscaped spaces from said deer. David wanted it to be not visible from the house, so it has wound up being a rather long fence, to say the least. The fence has four gates, three of which are standard issue farm type gates, but the fourth is the main gate onto our property, and required something a little special. It is going to be slightly Japanese in style, although made out of steel tubes. The guy (John) who is constructing and fabricating it for us has turned out to be reliable and thoughtful, two traits that are valued highly around here. He came up with the design for the gate, and we went over to look at it in his shop on Sunday.


Gate Sketch - the arch will actually be made up of two different arcs with different radii.


The gate - way bigger than I thought!


John and the gate

As the deer fence is 7’ high, the gate is also quite tall, and spans 14 feet (with two swinging segments) to allow for trucks to get in and out.   It gets hung temporarily this week too get the hinges set, then it's off to the shop to be powder-coated.  The arch is due to be set over Thanksgiving weekend - woo-hoo!

I think the money flow has finally trickled down to almost nothing....

The Gate

Nov. 9th, 2009 09:42 pm
albear_garni: (Default)

The last of our grandes projets involves the erection of a deer fence to defend our newly landscaped spaces from said deer. David wanted it to be not visible from the house, so it has wound up being a rather long fence, to say the least. The fence has four gates, three of which are standard issue farm type gates, but the fourth is the main gate onto our property, and required something a little special. It is going to be slightly Japanese in style, although made out of steel tubes. The guy (John) who is constructing and fabricating it for us has turned out to be reliable and thoughtful, two traits that are valued highly around here. He came up with the design for the gate, and we went over to look at it in his shop on Sunday.


Gate Sketch - the arch will actually be made up of two different arcs with different radii.


The gate - way bigger than I thought!


John and the gate

As the deer fence is 7’ high, the gate is also quite tall, and spans 14 feet (with two swinging segments) to allow for trucks to get in and out.   It gets hung temporarily this week too get the hinges set, then it's off to the shop to be powder-coated.  The arch is due to be set over Thanksgiving weekend - woo-hoo!

I think the money flow has finally trickled down to almost nothing....

Panellets

Nov. 9th, 2009 09:33 pm
albear_garni: (Default)
A week ago [info]ursine1 posted about these traditional Catalan All Saints' Day sweets called Panellets.  They looked yummy, so I asked him about the recipe.  [info]gorkabear  responded with one for the version made with sweet potatoes, or boniatos.  I tried my hand at making them this week up in Willits. 

Here is how they came out.

 

Needless to say, they were delicious! Made with sweet potatoes (I used not too sweet yellow fleshed ones), ground almonds, and sugar, after being baked they wind up with a chewy consistency somewhat like marzipan. Although there are a couple of variations for finishing them, I coated mine with pine nuts before baking. Like [info]gorkabear , I would probably make them a bit smaller the next time.

Panellets

Nov. 9th, 2009 09:33 pm
albear_garni: (Default)
A week ago [info]ursine1 posted about these traditional Catalan All Saints' Day sweets called Panellets.  They looked yummy, so I asked him about the recipe.  [info]gorkabear  responded with one for the version made with sweet potatoes, or boniatos.  I tried my hand at making them this week up in Willits. 

Here is how they came out.

 

Needless to say, they were delicious! Made with sweet potatoes (I used not too sweet yellow fleshed ones), ground almonds, and sugar, after being baked they wind up with a chewy consistency somewhat like marzipan. Although there are a couple of variations for finishing them, I coated mine with pine nuts before baking. Like [info]gorkabear , I would probably make them a bit smaller the next time.

albear_garni: (Default)
As we have learned, living off the grid has its challenges.  We are now on the third iteration of our solar system, and are hoping that this is our last (except of course, for adding more solar panels).  We spent last Sunday with our solar engineer, Doug, installing the new battery bank.  The batteries (48 volt service) are made by a company called Hawker, and with four banks installed, should provide 3-4 days of power storage.  It took a quite a while to get the batteries moved, as each of the battery banks weighs over 600 pounds.  As a comparison, the batterie they were replacing weigh 150 pounds each.  Our engineer rented a hoist to get them off the trailer and to lower them into place, and I came up with the idea to use teflon furniture glides to then slide them into position.

We drove back to Berkeley that night exhausted, but happy, and celebrated with dinner at the truck stop in Ukiah (not as interesting as it sounds, unfortunately).

We stayed in town this weekend, for Halloween.  Maybe more on that later.


Our engineer on his trailer with the all important hoist and the batteries.

Below is a series of photos showing how the system has changed over the years.


This is the original 12 volt system that was in the house when we purchased it.  We couldn't run anything over 600 watts at one time; finding a toaster that met this qualification was a bitch.  The propane fuel back-up generator ran a lot.


The second system, with a Trace sign wave inverter, Outback Charge controller, and larger batteries.  Still 12 volts, it gave us more storage, and enough power to run the washer and dryer without running the back-up generator.  The white box is an on-demand Buderus Hot Water Heater, for the radiant heat system and general hot water.



The lates and greatest system, with an Outback inverter and Outback charge controller.  A lot fewer things on the wall, but over 2,000 pounds of batteries still boggles my mind.
albear_garni: (Default)
As we have learned, living off the grid has its challenges.  We are now on the third iteration of our solar system, and are hoping that this is our last (except of course, for adding more solar panels).  We spent last Sunday with our solar engineer, Doug, installing the new battery bank.  The batteries (48 volt service) are made by a company called Hawker, and with four banks installed, should provide 3-4 days of power storage.  It took a quite a while to get the batteries moved, as each of the battery banks weighs over 600 pounds.  As a comparison, the batterie they were replacing weigh 150 pounds each.  Our engineer rented a hoist to get them off the trailer and to lower them into place, and I came up with the idea to use teflon furniture glides to then slide them into position.

We drove back to Berkeley that night exhausted, but happy, and celebrated with dinner at the truck stop in Ukiah (not as interesting as it sounds, unfortunately).

We stayed in town this weekend, for Halloween.  Maybe more on that later.


Our engineer on his trailer with the all important hoist and the batteries.

Below is a series of photos showing how the system has changed over the years.


This is the original 12 volt system that was in the house when we purchased it.  We couldn't run anything over 600 watts at one time; finding a toaster that met this qualification was a bitch.  The propane fuel back-up generator ran a lot.


The second system, with a Trace sign wave inverter, Outback Charge controller, and larger batteries.  Still 12 volts, it gave us more storage, and enough power to run the washer and dryer without running the back-up generator.  The white box is an on-demand Buderus Hot Water Heater, for the radiant heat system and general hot water.



The lates and greatest system, with an Outback inverter and Outback charge controller.  A lot fewer things on the wall, but over 2,000 pounds of batteries still boggles my mind.
albear_garni: (Default)

Happy birthday to [info]sfopanda, a wonderful (and very talented) man!  Here's to many more!
albear_garni: (Default)

Happy birthday to [info]sfopanda, a wonderful (and very talented) man!  Here's to many more!
albear_garni: (Default)

Last night, I treated David to a birthday meal at Chez Panisse. If you haven’t been, Chez Panisse is Alice Waters’ famed restaurant. It is said that the local foods movement started with her and this place. We’ve been many times over the years, and have experienced the ups and downs of new chefs and style adaptations/clashes. We dined “downstairs,” in the fix prix dining room, which, I think is the best way to experience the place (even though you don’t get to have any of the pizzas, which are only served “upstairs” in the Café). 

 

We hadn’t been in a while, so it was a little startling to see that all the staff had changed over. However, their professionalism and knowledge won us over, especially the sommelier, a woman in her 30’s, maybe?

 

Here’s the menu:

 

When it came time to select something to drink, we realized that we really didn’t feel like drinking a whole bottle, so the sommelier suggested that we split glasses, and we went with her recommendations. They were all pretty amazing, and paired perfectly with the food.

 

With the leeks we had a 2007 Sancerre, Les Monts Damnés Chavignol, Thomas Labaille

 

With the sea bass it was a 2008 Morgon, Marcel Lapierre

 

And with the duck we had a 2007 Côtes du Rhône, Brézème, Emil Texier. It turned out that this was composed of only Grénâche grapes, but was amazingly complex and deep.

 

We passed on the dessert wine, unfortunately.

 

It turns out that we spent the hours before our appointment at home watching “chopped,” so we decided to be the “Chopped” critics at Chez Panisse. 

 

An appetizer of house-cured picholine olives came first, lightly brined, with garlic, rosemary, a hint of nutmeg and a coating of local olive oil – yummy!

 

First course: NOT chopped. The fine mince of cornichon pickles and capers brought out the best of the vinaigrette dressing, and the perfectly hard-boiled egg and proscuitto were a good foil for the braised leeks.  Does that woman EVER use mediocre ingredients?

 

Second course: Chopped. The sea bass, although perfectly pan sautéed with a crispy skin, seemed to lose the essence of being tea smoked, although the sautéed spinach and mushrooms were delectable.

 

Third course: NOT chopped. Slices of perfectly grilled duck breast, slight rare, were paired with a piece of duck confit, and a “deconstructed” cassoulet with at least a dozen types of beans, lardoons, and of course the cracklings and bread crumb gratin. Tied together with a yummy pan reduction sauce and that Côtes du Rhône made for a reason to use every last piece of bread to sop up the juices.

 

Dessert: NOT chopped. The quince apple tart was more like a strudel, but with this very rich pastry dough instead of filo dough. Add a wonderfully honey-tinged caramel sauce and the vanilla/calvados ice cream, well, we ate it all!
 

Although we passed on the Blue Bottle coffee (special Chez Panisse blend, of course) we didn’t pass up the candied orange rind dipped in chocolate and miniature macaroons.  We also passed on the cheese course - just too stuffed!

 

All in all, it was a very good meal.


albear_garni: (Default)

Last night, I treated David to a birthday meal at Chez Panisse. If you haven’t been, Chez Panisse is Alice Waters’ famed restaurant. It is said that the local foods movement started with her and this place. We’ve been many times over the years, and have experienced the ups and downs of new chefs and style adaptations/clashes. We dined “downstairs,” in the fix prix dining room, which, I think is the best way to experience the place (even though you don’t get to have any of the pizzas, which are only served “upstairs” in the Café). 

 

We hadn’t been in a while, so it was a little startling to see that all the staff had changed over. However, their professionalism and knowledge won us over, especially the sommelier, a woman in her 30’s, maybe?

 

Here’s the menu:

 

When it came time to select something to drink, we realized that we really didn’t feel like drinking a whole bottle, so the sommelier suggested that we split glasses, and we went with her recommendations. They were all pretty amazing, and paired perfectly with the food.

 

With the leeks we had a 2007 Sancerre, Les Monts Damnés Chavignol, Thomas Labaille

 

With the sea bass it was a 2008 Morgon, Marcel Lapierre

 

And with the duck we had a 2007 Côtes du Rhône, Brézème, Emil Texier. It turned out that this was composed of only Grénâche grapes, but was amazingly complex and deep.

 

We passed on the dessert wine, unfortunately.

 

It turns out that we spent the hours before our appointment at home watching “chopped,” so we decided to be the “Chopped” critics at Chez Panisse. 

 

An appetizer of house-cured picholine olives came first, lightly brined, with garlic, rosemary, a hint of nutmeg and a coating of local olive oil – yummy!

 

First course: NOT chopped. The fine mince of cornichon pickles and capers brought out the best of the vinaigrette dressing, and the perfectly hard-boiled egg and proscuitto were a good foil for the braised leeks.  Does that woman EVER use mediocre ingredients?

 

Second course: Chopped. The sea bass, although perfectly pan sautéed with a crispy skin, seemed to lose the essence of being tea smoked, although the sautéed spinach and mushrooms were delectable.

 

Third course: NOT chopped. Slices of perfectly grilled duck breast, slight rare, were paired with a piece of duck confit, and a “deconstructed” cassoulet with at least a dozen types of beans, lardoons, and of course the cracklings and bread crumb gratin. Tied together with a yummy pan reduction sauce and that Côtes du Rhône made for a reason to use every last piece of bread to sop up the juices.

 

Dessert: NOT chopped. The quince apple tart was more like a strudel, but with this very rich pastry dough instead of filo dough. Add a wonderfully honey-tinged caramel sauce and the vanilla/calvados ice cream, well, we ate it all!
 

Although we passed on the Blue Bottle coffee (special Chez Panisse blend, of course) we didn’t pass up the candied orange rind dipped in chocolate and miniature macaroons.  We also passed on the cheese course - just too stuffed!

 

All in all, it was a very good meal.


albear_garni: (Default)


Happy BIrthday to my not on LJ husband, David!  It's officially on the 20th, but I couldn't wait!

xoxoxo


 

albear_garni: (Default)


Happy BIrthday to my not on LJ husband, David!  It's officially on the 20th, but I couldn't wait!

xoxoxo


 

albear_garni: (Default)
Happy 54th Birthday Greetings to [info]dhpbear!  He's catching up to me!
albear_garni: (Default)
Happy 54th Birthday Greetings to [info]dhpbear!  He's catching up to me!
albear_garni: (Default)

And you were there, and you were there, and...




The grand finale on California Screamin' - me and [info]fogbear in front, and [info]putzmeisterbear behind.  As it was my *first time* I was graciously invited to take the front seat.

It was fabulous!
albear_garni: (Default)

And you were there, and you were there, and...




The grand finale on California Screamin' - me and [info]fogbear in front, and [info]putzmeisterbear behind.  As it was my *first time* I was graciously invited to take the front seat.

It was fabulous!
albear_garni: (Default)

A couple of weekends ago we had the privilege of being invited to the wedding of a daughter of one of our Mendocino neighbors.  We've become pretty close to her since our buying the property, and she to us.  It truned out to be a full country/hippie wedding, with about 175 people attending, a huge tent, henna on the bride, a dance floor, and a prayer tent.   

As for food, the appetizers and side dishes were catered, and the rest contributed by the attendees.  Planned, not pot-luck, of course; think 30-plus humongous lasagnas, loads of  barbecued chicken and a steer hind quarter.  All of this outside, under the sun (and later) the stars and moon.

In any case, the couple getting married are two of the nicest people I know.  They made for an especially handsome couple, a fact not unoticed by everyone there.  But what caught my eye was the fact that the groom decided to wear flip-flops, and well, I just had to take a photo.

 


 

albear_garni: (Default)

A couple of weekends ago we had the privilege of being invited to the wedding of a daughter of one of our Mendocino neighbors.  We've become pretty close to her since our buying the property, and she to us.  It truned out to be a full country/hippie wedding, with about 175 people attending, a huge tent, henna on the bride, a dance floor, and a prayer tent.   

As for food, the appetizers and side dishes were catered, and the rest contributed by the attendees.  Planned, not pot-luck, of course; think 30-plus humongous lasagnas, loads of  barbecued chicken and a steer hind quarter.  All of this outside, under the sun (and later) the stars and moon.

In any case, the couple getting married are two of the nicest people I know.  They made for an especially handsome couple, a fact not unoticed by everyone there.  But what caught my eye was the fact that the groom decided to wear flip-flops, and well, I just had to take a photo.

 


 

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