Saturday, December 31, 2011

Getting ready for the New Years Plunge

Cheers everyone! Have a safe New Years Eve. I'm  getting ready for tomorrow's New Years Plunge in to Narragansett Bay. Enjoy your evening.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Paw Prints 2011

   Molly, my yellow lab lumbers down the trail without any observance to a schedule. She leaves her tracks in the sand and quietly take a seat next to me.
    Trail are about signs and landmarks. Animals leave their signatures and mark their passage with scat, urine, bones, heaps of fur, feathers, sheds of skin, and of course footprints. Bella, one of my beagles reads the trail data like the lines of a story. As she runs by, her nose to the ground she adds her set of tracks to the trail.  On a hot scent, she sounds the alarm and alerts Blue, my other beagle. He quickly joins in the pursuit, leaving behind his own contribution to the trail. We become part of the story, matching all the other legs and feet that have left odoriferous and warm directions scribed into its surface. I use vision and reasoning to read the trail. The dogs use vision, smell and instinct, but we all contribute-compacting the earth with a new verse. I don't know how the story ends, but its been interesting and enjoyable so far. Its the journey that makes life interesting not the destination.
The new year is rapidly approaching. So, this is a good time to reflect what makes our journey through life interesting and enjoyable.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Hello All,

Tonight I had a delicious dinner.  Stuffed grape leaves. Its a simple meal that has been made for centuries. I first walked through the vineyard and pick small tender leaves from the vines. I enjoy walking through the vineyard, it not only lets me survey the vines but its a great way to unwind after a day in the lab. Besides,  I know we are going to have a great dinner once I get back to the kitchen. Susan and I begin to prepare the grape leaves by washing the leaves. Once the are cleaned I begin to mix the stuffing.
Lamb and rice stuffing
The stuffing consist on 1 pound of ground lamb. 1 cup of uncooked rice. a teaspoon of allspice, and a 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
Start by placing a teaspoon of filling near the stem of the grape leave.(The stem is removed) and roll the leaf toward the tip folding the sides in as you roll. Continue rolling until the stuffed leave looks like a cigar. One pound of Lamb should make about forty stuffed grape leaves. Place the stuffed leaves in a pot in tight layers.           once all the leave are in the pot add enough water to cover the leaves. To prevent the leaves from floating and falling apart while cooking, place and inverted plate on top of the leaves and weigh the plate down with a rock. Add chopped garlic, salt, and another 1/4 cup of lemon juice. Cover the pot and bring the water to a boil. once the water comes to a boil reduce heat, to a low simmer and simmer for forty minutes. Use Tongs to remove rock and plate. remove grape leaves allow to cool. Serve with fresh lemon and yogurt.
~Old dog~
I've been having a little trouble posting comments to some of your blogs. I am out here reading your posting wishing you all well in all your endeavors. I will keep trying to make comments until then God bless.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Just Relaxing


                     Its has been a while since I have posted anything, The truth be told,  by the time I finish doing everything I need to do around the farm, I am just too tuckered out to write.   Any one that has owned a farm or a home knows that there is ALWAYS something that needs to get done, mowing the lawn, fixing the sink, or painting something. On top of all the chores I have around the farm, I just finished teaching for the semester. So, those of you that have kids...imagine having 128 of them. It suffices to say that life comes at you fast, if one was to quote TV commercials. 

     I still wake up at 4:30am. Some old habits are hard to break. I enjoy a good breakfast. Today it was an asparagus and onion frittarta and a cup of strong  coffee.  Then its my routine to take the dogs for their morning walk. Its off down the path through the woods to the pond. I once read that paths are the birthplace of writing, they certainly are the birthplace of reading. Trails are always about signs  and landmarks. Animals leave their signatures. They mark their passages with scat, urine, bones, blood,footprints, heaps of fur, feathers, and shreds of skin. Every animals or hominid that passes leaves its mark on the earth, like an endlessly uncoiling scroll. All this waits to be observed, sniffed-read-by others. The dogs and I take to this uncoiling surface with the same understanding. We read the trail data and feel the pull of its narrative like the lines of a story. We become part of the story, matching all the other legs and feet that have left odoriferous and warm directions scribed into the surface. I use vision and reasoning. The dogs use  vision, smell, and instinct, but we all contribute-compacting the earth with a new verse. keeping the path alive. I don't know how the story ends, but its been interesting and enjoyable so far. It the journey that make life interesting, not the destination.  I'm ready to turn another page and head down a different path. I usually choose to follow paths that are less traveled. I cannot wait to see what new adventures await. You are welcome to come along. until the next time
~old dog~

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Praying for Stability

When the world is spinning off it's axis.. and powers beyond our control try to set the pace for our lives,I believe that there is a higher order to appeal to.
      I do not affiliate to any organized religion, but I do believe that life is not left to gamble with. There is a natural order to adhere to. Take a walk, clear your mind and live!

Monday, April 18, 2011

woodland Ramblings

On my walks with the dogs, I always come across  dead or fallen trees. I find the the decaying trunks of these trees interesting, because they can be the home of many things. Rabbits, moles, mice and a whole hodgepodge of insects.

     Sometime if I am lucky, I'll stumble upon a stump like this one that has decayed  into an interesting shape, or a natural sculpture.   You could  even  consider them a nature's Rorschach test. What do you see when you look at this?
Hmmmm!  This log reminds me of the "Sorting hat from Harry Potter". I wonder how that would be interpreted, But I'll leave that up to you.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Cold day for a swim

After chasing the ducks out of the pond Molly decided it was a good day for a swim.  Its almost impossible to keep her out of the water, even when the air temperature is only 50 degrees.  My water bottle severed as a perfect substitute for a retrieving dummy. The ducks flew to the other side of the pond but Molly still kept her eyes on them in case they tried to come back.     
   Its been too wet to work out in the fields around the farm or vineyard and the weatherman is calling for one to two more inches of rain tonight. so I'm content to play with Molly for a little while longer.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The love dog

Molly waits for me every night. when I pull down the driveway, she is sitting waiting for me to come home. I do not even get the car door open and that anvil of a head pushes through and I am enveloped in  pure, unselfish love.

~ My sunshine doesn't come from the skies,
It comes from the love in my dog's eyes~.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Old Friends

  I spent many hours sitting under this grape vine when I was a kid.
It is now one of my oldest vines.The original vine was planted by my grandfather around 1920. My father took a cutting back in the early 60's and it grew in his yard for over thirty years. We enjoyed delicious jelly, some fantastic wine and tasty fruit produced from this vine.

When my father passed away in the late 90's, I took a chance and transplanted this vine at Yellow Dog Farm. It occupies a place of high honor and we still enjoy the rewards from her fruit. I have made many cuttings from this plant to increase the vineyard.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Signs of Spring

It looks as if old man winter has finally left. What a mess he left around the farm. It will take some time to clean up after him but I am excited to begin. It was a gorgeous spring day today, so I decided to take a walk through the vineyard. The vines have started to sprout.  I will spend many hours walking through the vineyard, pruning, tying up vines,  and talking to my vines encouraging them to be the best they can be. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Something New At Yellow Dog Farms

It was a balmy 55 degrees here today. The snow is rapidly melting and the grass is starting to appear  from under the blanket of snow left by our friend "Old Man Winter". I went out and sat on the patio after dinner tonight and enjoyed a good cigar.

The aroma of  fresh earth rose from the exposed grass and I could hear the cry of baby squirrels in their nest from the old oak tree near the patio. My senses have been aroused and I have a feeling that spring is just around the corner. I can help but imagine what opportunities  this summer will bring.

There will be something new on the horizon at Yellow Dog Farms. Lemoncello. My wife Susan and I had this delicious digestivo many years ago at our favorite restaurant, Saraceno's, in the North end of Boston.  After a wonderful  meal of some of the best Italian food since mama, our waiter, Marcello, brought out this delicious drink. It's called a disgestivo because it is said to aid in the digestion after a heavy meal.

My wife Susan and I traveled all throughout Italy. It was on the island of Capri where we discovered many lemoncello stands. This refreshing drink is served chilled and is very refreshing on a hot summer's day. We were introduced to a nice Italian family, the Paganos. They have been  making  lemoncello  for three generations and we had an opportunity to tour their farm. Orlindo, the head of the family treated us to a fantastic lunch in his lemon grove and we talked about how this delicious elixir is made.

The wonderful yellow coloring comes from the peels of lemons and reminds me of our yellow lab Molly, and namesake of Yellow Dog Farm.

We peeled over two thousand lemons to produce our first bottling of our lemoncello. It will be made in small quantities until I can test the market in our area.

I have been at the drawing board all week trying to design the label for our new venture. 
Until my next posting...Cheers

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


It actually took a full week to recuperate from the wedding. Molly and I have spent the last three days hiding in my office. The phone has not stopped ringing, people have been calling to tell us what a wonderful time they had at the wedding.This is especially great to hear.

Sunday was a sad day because the kids had to leave to report back to their respective Coast Guard stations.

Joseph had a fifteen hour dive back to North Carolina. twenty minutes from his apartment he received a call from his ship that he had to report as soon as possible because they had a rescue mission.
Gwen is on her way back to her base on Kodiak Island in Alaska.  A 26 hour journey.

This newly married couple won't be together again until October.  Their devotion to duty is truly inspirational and they accept their separation as part of their duty. Until then we all throw ourselves into our work so we do not dwell on the time apart. Soon our daily task will over take our minds so we can endure the time apart.

Having this time together was truly a joy that does the heart good. When the day came to say goodbye many tears were shed and it was a reminder to live everyday as if it were your last.
"To the newlyweds all my blogger friends,"
Peace, Love, and Happiness. All the days of our Lives,
~Old dog~

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The wedding of my son Joseph and his beautiful bride Gwen was a spectacular day! The sky was clear, blue and sunny. The music during the ceremony was amazing. Michael Simmons and three other members of the RI Philharmonic provided wonderful classical music for the ceremony.

It Could not have been a more beautiful day. I wish Joseph and Gwen all the best that life has to offer.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Busy Week Coming Up

Gwen Flying mission in Alaska
This will be a busy week for us. My son is getting married next weekend. Gwen flew in from Kodiak Alaska today and Joe drove in from North Carolina last Monday.They are both in the military and it is not often that we have an opportunity to all be together.  It does the heart good to have them both home in Rhode Island.
 I wish I could freeze time because the next few day will pass in the blink of an eye and they'll be gone and back on duty. If you have a loved one close by...give them a hug, tell them you love them and enjoy the few precious moments you have together. If you were all here it would be time for a group hug!
enjoy Life it passes too quickly!
~Old dog~

Joseph about to embark on a turtle rescue mission in North Carolina

Saturday, February 5, 2011


I had a dream about the warmth of summer, the spectacular colors of Autumn, and the exquisite taste of the grape!
I usually do not get a good nights sleep, three to four hours a night. It's a curse of having an over active mind that never rest. I usually do not dream, or at least I do not remember them.  However, when I do they are great dreams, a gift from the subconscious, or are they premonitions of the future?

 May all your dreams be pleasant.
~Old Dog~

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Down Time??

Old wine bottles I've collected
 It may seem like there is a lot of down time in the winter, but the winery keeps me busy. This is the time when I blend wines to make a new product,

I'll blend many different wines and store them for later use, to make sure that the blend ages well. Some wines, when blended, taste great for a few days or even a couple of weeks; but over time I'll notice that the taste "turns away". I'll usually re-taste the wine about a week or so after the initial blend, and again after a few months, to make sure it is compatible for long storage times.
  "it a tough job, but somebody has to do it.  Its always a good idea to ask some friends over to help you judge the blends. Otherwise, you'll end up drinking all the resulting blend yourself (yipee!), either way its a great way to spend a snowy afternoon.
       Believe it or not, there is actually a scientific approach to blending wines - but don't worry, it's really rather simple. If you can add and subtract, I'll show you a method of blending that involves using a visual math tool known as the Pearson Square.

The easiest way to illustrate how the Pearson Square works is to do an example....
For our illustration, let's say I'm blending because I would like to lower the level of alcohol in the wine. I have some Merlot that is 15% alcohol, and I would like to blend it with another wine so that the new wine end up with a target alcohol of 12%. The other wine's alcoholic content is 11%.

Let's begin by showing you what the Pearson Square looks like:

Pearson Square
The center of the square, shown by the letter "C", represents the "target" value I want to blend for (in this case, I want to obtain a wine of 12% alcohol).
The upper left corner, shown by the letter "A", represents the known alcohol percentage of wine #1 ( Merlot, which is 15%).
The lower left corner, shown by the letter "D", represents the known alcohol percentage of wine #2 (another Merlot, which is 11%)

To use the Pearson Square, we merely substitute numbers for the letters in the diagram, and then do some simple subtraction. Find the difference between the values in the corner and the center "target" value, and place the answer in the opposite corners. This value is always the absolute value (no negative numbers allowed!) of the difference.... so, for our example:
15 minus 12 equals 3, and
12 minus 11 equals 1

Here's what the Pearson Square looks like now:

Pearson Square - Example calculations
Voila! As you can see, we need 3 parts of the 11% wine to mix with 1 part of the 15% wine, and we will end up with our "target" wine of 12%. Pretty neat, huh?

I use this same sort of logic when I want to raise or lower pH, acidity, sugar levels, specific gravity. I just put the target value in the center, the known values for the two wines in the left corners, and do some subtraction to obtain the mixing ratios.

I only blend small quantities of wine until I achieve the desired effect. There is no need to make a lot of something that I'm not be pleased with. I only blend wines that were made in the same year. This will ensure that the new wine will last for a while.  I always keep detailed notes on my blending attempts so I can duplicate the blend in the future.

It's time to get back to work, the rowdy crow is yelling, "more wine, more wine!"
~ Old dog~

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Hearts of gold

A friend of mine knows how much I love my yellow lab Molly. so she sent me this picture of a yellow lab sleeping in a flower planter. I think it proves the old saying that Labs have...."a head of stone, a stomach of iron and a heart of gold! They truly do exude love!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My First Vintage

This is my friend Frank or "Frankie" as we called him. He is responsible for my first soiree into wine making. He was a kind and gentile old man, that loved to work in his yard, tend his gardens and share a glass of wine with friends. His special vintage was dandelion wine and this was the first wine I ever made.

We would venture off into the countryside in search of fields, that have not been sprayed with herbicides, and full of dandelions. Frankie instructed me to pick only the yellow flowers and place them in a basket. No stems, because the stems would make the wine bitter.
This old timer knew how to forage. The flowers would be used for the making of wine and the green leaves  were collected and taken home to be sauted with a little olive oil and garlic to be enjoyed with crusty Italian bread, some provolone Cheese and of course a glass of wine.

We would pick two bushels of flowers. When we returned home, the flowers would be washed and the wine making process would begin. After washing the flowers they were placed into four large crocks and approximately ten gallons of hot water was poured over flowers. Next yeast was prepared and poured into the mix along with five pounds of sugar to each crock... and the fermentation begins. This is where one learns how to be patient. The fermentation process takes weeks, the mixture will ferment and bubble, the yeast converting the sugar to alcohol.

 Waiting is the hardest thing in the wine making process for a first time wine maker. You're excited and want to sample the fruits of your labor. I couldn't stand the anticipation any  longer, so after four weeks, I sampled the wine. "It was delicious".  The fermentation process was complete, "so I thought". I siphoned the wine into bottles and corked them.

Two weeks later explosions ripped through the cellar. It seems the fermentation was not finished and the pressure built up to the point of no return inside the corked bottles . Eighteen bottle ruptured sending wine and glass shards across the cellar. I approached the remaining 38 bottles with the caution of a bomb squad technician and uncorked them. The wine was poured back into the clean crocks and allow to complete the fermentation process. Four weeks later the bubbling stopped and now the wine was ready to be bottle.

If the explosion never happen I would not have come up with a proper name for this wine. Since it is dandelion wine and the explosion so severe...I named the wine Roar of the Lion.
Frankie past later that year, so every year on his birthday, I uncork a bottle of this wine and toast his memory. Sadly, I only have five bottles of this vintage left.
So to Frankie and all of you out there...Salute! May he smile down from heaven on us all.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Thank you Cherie for presenting me with this Stylish Blogger Award, It very rewarding to know that people  enjoy what is presented on my blog. I"ve always enjoyed making observation of  the world around me and I thank those that read my blog and make comments. To all my facebook friends: view the beautiful photographs on Cherie's blog and see the beauty of the world through another's eyes.

Now what I have to do are these 4 things:

1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award

2. Share 7 things about yourself

3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers

4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award!

Seven Things About Myself

1.I have a wonderful son and daughter.
2. I have learned life is too short to drink cheap wine!
3. I am a painter, sculptor and scientist... The Renaissance man.
4. I'm not bad in the kitchen and can prepare some darn good meals.
5. I am a dog lover.
6. I try to learn something new everyday.
7. I get to share everything in my life with my wife of thirty five years.

Now for the fun part.  I would like to pass this award on to the following bloggers:

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Snow Fence

I call this picture "snow fence" It may not be a particularly beautiful picture, but I think its interesting and sometimes interesting is better.

Horse Play Part 2

True love

Let it snow!


A happy time

And a good time was had by all!

Horse Play

 A good old fashion, nor'easter  can be dangerous. These blizzard can last for days and can bury us under feet of snow.   
We had another visit from the old man last night and he left us with twenty inches of snow.

After shoveling for six hours I finally could spend some time to enjoy the day. I paid a visit to my neighbors.

They are both accomplished equestrians. Their barn is adorned with the many ribbons they have won in competitions, but today was different, today was just fun and what they call good, old fashion horse play.
Make way for Comet

And the fun begins

Riding tall
 This was a fun afternoon. We survived another blizzard, cleared out from under tons of snow, spent time outdoors with friends and family. Now its time for hot coco with marsh mellows. Lets see what tomorrow will bring.
 Until then "Enjoy life",
~Old Dog~

Monday, January 10, 2011


My favorite place to walk is in the vineyard. Throughout the seasons, I will experience different feelings while  roaming through the vines. 

In the winter when the vines are exposed I experience a feeling of  being  well planned, organized and orderly. It's the same feeling an artist has just before he sets his brush to canvas.
I talk to the vines as I walk and I become attuned to my surroundings. The vines will speak and make suggestions as to how this years vintage should be handled and I listen.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Canis Major

Out past the city limits there is very little "light pollution"and it is much easier to view the night sky. Canis Major the greater dog and Canis minor can be seen at Orion's heels. These two constellations are known as Orion's Hunting dogs pursuing the Lepus the hare.
~Old Dog~
Canis Major
The great Overdog
That heavenly beast
with a star in one eye
gives a leap in the east

He dances upright
All the way to the west
And never once drops
On his forefeet to rest.

I'm a poor underdog,
But tonight I will bark.
with the great Overdog
that romps through the dark.
~ Robert Frost~

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Morning Mist

It was a balmy 50 degrees today,
resulting in a very foggy morning. Our small town, Scituate,  is where the reservoir for most of the states drinking water is located.

 On mornings like this, when the water temperature and the temperature of the air are different, a fog will emanate from the lake. This can have dramatic effects for those who take the time to stop and observe what nature provides. The town's name is derived from an Indian word meaning " Big Mist". It's not hard to understand what the Nipmunc  Indians were thinking when they named this area.

 At the break of dawn, the quiet can sometimes be deafening in a small town. The only sound today,  was the rush of the water falling over the horseshoe dam.l

This dam was designed to give the maximum surface area in a confined area so that a largest volume  of water could flow in such a small space. Hence, it's  shape a horseshoe.

 In fact the story or History of the Situate  reservoir is quite interesting.  Built in 1914, Seven whole villages were flooded to create the reservoir. All the Homes, Mills, and schools were destroyed and historic cemeteries moved to create the states water supply. But this is a story for another day. I'm just going to sit and listen to the water and soak in the views for a while .

~old dog~