Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Morning Walk

Vineyard in winter with frost covers vine plants Stock Photo - 1478168

A nice crisp early morning walk through the vineyard. The dogs kicked up a rabbit in the brush, if I still hunted it could have turned it into a delicious dish for dinner tonight.  Perhaps a hunters stew.   The walk and my imagination of a delicious dinner  set my mine into think what I could have for dinner. Without the rabbit Bella kick up, I could use chicken. Here is the recipe

This recipe can serve 4-6 normal people or one hungy old dog.
  • legs, wings and thighs of 2 pheasants or chickens
  • Salt
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 pound smoky bacon, cut into batons or 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 pound chanterelle or other fresh mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 10-12 small  onions or shallots, peeled but whole
  • 1-2 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup Armagnac or other brandy
  • 1/2 cup vermouth
  • 2-3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch or arrowroot
  • Chervil or parsley to garnish

  1. Salt the rabbit or chicken pieces well and let them come to room temperature for 20-30 minutes.
  2. In a large, heavy frying pan, get the olive oil hot over medium-high heat. Pat the pheasant pieces dry and brown them well. Do not crowd the pan and adjust the heat so you get a good sear without scorching.
  3. As the chicken pieces are done, put them into a pot or Dutch oven with a lid. When they’re all browned, pour in the Armagnac and bring to a boil. Add the crushed tomatoes, turn the heat down to a bare simmer and cover.
  4. Wipe the frying pan out well. Bring it to high heat and add the chanterelles. Shake the pan constantly until the mushrooms begin to lose their water. They should squeak in the pan until then. Dislodge any that get stuck on the pan with a wooden spoon.
  5. Once the mushrooms have lost most of their water, add the butter and stir-fry until they begin to brown. Sprinkle them with salt. Once they look lovely, add them to the chicken.
  6. Add the onions or shallots to the pan, adding more butter if needed. Brown them well and add them to the pot with the chicken.
  7. Add the bacon and turn the heat down to medium. Fry the bacon until crispy, then add to the pot.
  8. Pour the vermouth into the pot, bring it to a strong simmer, then drop the heat to low, cover and cook for at least an hour. Check every half hour — you want the meat to almost fall off the bone.
  9. Taste the sauce for salt, and add if needed.
  10. When the meat is ready turn off the heat and ladle the juices into another pot. Mix the corn starch with the heavy cream well, then whisk it into the juices over medium-low heat. Bring it to a simmer and let it cook down until the sauce can coat the back of a spoon.
  11. Pour it back into the Dutch oven with the meat and toss in lots of chopped chervil or parsley.
  12. Serve with mashed potatoes, polenta or crusty bread, and a light red, such as a Beaujolais or Grenache, or a dry rose or big white, such as a Viognier.


Monday, December 10, 2012

In the Barrel


When a new wine flows from the spout of the basket press, filtering through the wooden basket slats, and grape skins, inside the press. I want to just dip a glass under the flow....which I did, of course.    This year’s wines are now in barrel, asleep, shivering in barrels, for the winter. Clarifying, and becoming more stable, changing ever so slowly. I can smell the bed lavender that grows in around the vineyard and each sip reminds me of the warm, dry days of summer. 
 Now comes the hard part... letting it age into a mature wine.  One more sip, I really miss the warm days of summer or maybe I just like wine.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012


Picture of the HMS Bounty sinkingThe HMS Bounty was lost at sea during Hurricane Sandy off the coast of North Carolina. Fourteen of the ship's 16-member crew are reportedly in good condition after a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue Monday. Two others, Claudene Christian and Capt. Robin Walbridge, were swept overboard when the ship keeled over in 18-foot (5.5-meter) waves.
Several hours after the initial rescue, the Coast Guard found Christian's unresponsive body floating in the water. Walbridge is still unaccounted for.

This past July I was lucky enough to be able to walk upon and below her decks. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don't know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring--it was peace. 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Back in Newport

The Tall ships are back in Newport R.I. This week. Sixteen ships came in under full sail today. Their crews will spend the next five days in port giving tours of the ships. This is a replica of the HMS Bounty. It was built for the movie Mutiny on the Bounty.

It was a very hot day in Newport, I glad I got there early because I was able to board most of the ships before the crowds came to the city.

My favorite ship was the Peacemaker. Very well kept, all teak woodwork. Captains quarters below was very spacious.

Stained glass windows in the closets.

It may be old but it fully equipped with all modern electronics.

There was even time for a sea shanty or two.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Offically in Summer Mode

The school year has ended and I am offically in summer mode. I do not teach summer courses although I do spend some time in the lab doing research. However, summer is when I spend most of my time recharging my batteries. Either in the vineyard, conversing with wine lovers in the tasting room, or out on the bay sailing.
        Rhode Island is a summer state, its known as the ocean state and Narragansett is definitely a prime summer resort area. Naragansett has beautiful sandy beaches, restaurants with great seafood, and beautiful Narragansett Bay. This is a special week week out on the bay because the America's cup yacht races are underway. The cup races have been a part of Rhode Islands history for over 100 years. In 1980 it was  lost to Australia. It was reclaimed the follwing year by the San Diego Yacht club and has not been back to Newport, RI until this week.
It was a great series and it was the first time that the boats raced so close to shore. The crowds were treated to spectacular show of sailing at its best.  Next week the Tall Ships will be in port. Until then Stay cool. ~Old dog~

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Sunday Bike ride

We decided to take a Sunday bike ride. We rode the lenght of the local bike path and enjoyed the sunshine.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A Walk in the Rain

A rainy afternoon, so I went for a short walk. The golden chain tree was in bloom and I was afraid that the rain would knock all the flowers of before I could enjoy them.

 Molly was happy to be out, she loves water and rain is as good as going to the pond. as long as she's wet she's happy. The beagles were barking to go in.  Blue would rather sprawl out on the couch with Bella.

I stopped by the nursery to see how some of the baby grape vines I started, in the greenhouse, this winter are doing after transplanting them outdoors. looks like they are off to a good start. Two more years I should see some grapes from them.

Yes, there are weeds. They help keep the roots from drying out. When they become a nuisance I'll cultivate them in for some added compost.
Blue is annoyed. enough with the plants lets go inside.

Monday, April 23, 2012

a time to relax

I spent a wonderful week at the Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge. Every morning I could wake up and see Giraffe, zebra and many more animals walk past our balcony. To my surprise We were there during the spring flower show.  Even though we had a mild winter  it is still great to see flowers in full bloom. I will need to wait another month before they can be safetly planted outdoors at home. The Disney gardeners do a spectacular job with the gardens in all the theme parks.However,  EPCOT seems to have the most flowers and special gardens to see..
They look like a colorful carpet lining the lake. I do not have a great sense of smell,but because there were so many flowers even I could smell them. They even had an enclosed butterfly garden, full of garden paths, plants, and of course butterflies, I even ran into a few Disney friends in the garden to add to the festivities. 
Thumper, Flower and Bambi are all made from flowers. Well I got to bounce Tigger calls.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Retired but still useful.

why not use some of the farm implements we use to grow the grapes as functional art work to look at while we enjoy the wine they help bring into the world.       Some of them have been part of my family for years, rakes, hoes shovels used by my grandfather. when I look at these tools I can remember days where we worked side by side in the hot sun weeding, planting, pruning and  harvesting the fruits of  our labor. Its only fitting that they hold a place of honor in the tasting room.
I can lift a glass of my favorite wine and toast the work of my father and grandfather. A wine will take on flavors from it surroundings. I can feel the sunshine, smell the scent of flowers from around the vineyard and remember actual conversations I had with both of these men in every glass.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Not too chilly

Its a little cooler out tonight, but still too nice to stay inside. We lit a fire, pulled the corks on some wine and enjoyed the company of friends.

Friday, March 23, 2012

It's Friday that means Fish & Chips

I am a creature of habit. Fridays means fish and chips at the fire station. We usually eat inside the fire station with the rest of the locals ans catch up on all the town news and gossip. Today I broke tradition. It was so nice outside I decided to eat by the lake. and watch the sunset.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Heaven has a new Angel

Izzy's Story
Looking at Izzy, you would have thought she was like any other 3-year old running around the playground and chasing her older brother and sister around the house. However, Izzy was diagnosed on October 20, 2009 with stage IV rhabdomyosarcoma at the age of 12 months. Izzy’s family and friends tackled this disease with fervor however on March 12, 2012 Izzy’s fight ended peacefully. Izzy did not let the non-stop chemotherapy, radiation, or multiple surgeries slow her down. We will remember Izzy everyday….she loved anything purple, was an expert with the iPad, and was never seen without polish on her nails! Izzy was and still is truly an inspiration to all those who knew and loved her

Friday, March 16, 2012


 The sign says it all. Fish & Chips every Friday during Lent. Members of the local volunteer fire department have these fish & chip dinners to raises money to fund themselves. Local town folks can call in orders for fish & chips,clam chowder ( or as we Rhode Islanders pronounce it CHOWDA"), They also serve  "Lobsta" bisque, and stuff Quahogs too.  We prefer to eat in the station. The fire crews pull the fire engines out and set up tables so folks can sit and enjoy their dinners while catching up on the local gossip or just spending time with neighbors.

The fire crew is still ready for action! 
After dinner we took a long walk around part of the reservoir.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Bud Burst - Pinot Noir


Spring sees the vines awake from their dormant period over winter. As sunshine increases, the buds begin to burst. The majority of our vines at now at the stage of "full swell". Some are at "bud burst" and a few are showing "first leaf".

This is a risky time in the vineyard as a severe frost can burn the buds. At worse this can result in the entire season's crop being lost. Whilst global warming is generally assisting viticulture, too much sunshine to early in spring means that the vines will be vulnerable to frost for longer.

Various attempts are often made to protect against frost including lighting oil heaters in the rows, spraying the vines with a chemical solution to form a seal around the buds, orLarge vineyards even using helicopters to get air circulation. We can't use the chemicals or the helicopter as were organic so I guess I might be up tonight lighting oil lamps!

Let's hope that Jack Frost won't catch us out!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A Beautiful Day

We began our day attending a benefit lunching for St. Sophia
A  traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner, delicious breads and a vegetarian Irish stew were on the menu. Live Irish music brought out the Irish in all of us. Proceeds will benefit the Scholarship Fund at Sophia Academy. This Scholarship  allows girls facing economic inequities to attend this independent middle school.

The food was delicious, the music was amazing and the afternoon was a success for the school. St Patrick's day is next week and it is always the time I feel that it is safe to start working around the farm. There is still a chance of snow but it won't last because the weather is warming everyday. So after today's luncheon I decided to walk the vineyard to begin my assessment of the work that needs to be done.  
Early March  is time to prune and  tie the vines to the guide wires. I try to walk through the vineyard everyday, but this is when you get up close and personal with the vines. Handle them, train them and sometimes they treat you to a peek at a special type of art work. These winter tendrils appear like a tiny sculptures, gracefully curling and  intertwining among themselves. When I see these graceful curling tendril I can almost hear the Irish music playing in my mind, its as if the vine can dance. It just seems everything is right in the world on days like this.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

I'm glad you're Home

Molly enjoying the sun and waiting for me to come out and play. Its the highlight of my day. when I pull the car down the drive and the three dogs are waiting for me to come home. I am welcomed with yelps and big sloppy kisses. Now, who wouldn't say that  wasn't the best part of their day.
well enjoy your after noon me and molly are going to play with the "stick"

Monday, March 5, 2012

ABBY is Sempre Paratus!

Coast Guard Station Merrimack River’s dog, Abby, “stands the watch” with a station crew member, Jan. 26, 2012. Coast Guard mascots have served just as their human counterparts have, with courage, honor and are "Always Ready" to go to those in need of assistance. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Terrell.

The young men and women of the US coast guard are always ready to help in a moments notice no matter what the situation. These selfless individuals put the needs of others before their own safety. Their motto Sempre Paratus "always ready" should be reassuring to us all that they will be there when we need them. They are human just like everyone else. They have families, love pets, get lonely when away from their families,and feel the pain of the loss of one of their colleagues, yet they put all that aside to serve and protect.  Just "So Others May Live!" God speed Coasties.
when you are in my port we always have room at our inn for you.

Thank you for being there when we need you! Abby is always ready.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

So Other May Live

They were from different places -- Oregon and California, North Carolina and Alabama -- with varied career paths to the U.S. Coast Guard. Some were relatively new, while one had been a "Coastie" for 20 years. Their passions ranged from flying to being in the water. What they shared was a commitment to rescuing others, and saving lives."

Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the crewmembers during this difficult time,"

Friday, March 2, 2012

IS it Spring Yet?

I walked the vineyard today. I'm usually out at this time of year tying and pruning the wines with the thoughts that spring is just around the corner. We had better weather back in January. Lucky enough we didn't suffer any damage to the vines.

Torrential rain in the forecast for tomorrow, hopefully it will wash away all of the snow and we can get on with fun and festivities of spring and summer

Until next time.
~Old dog~

Things I thought I could always count on

Today's students struggle with math and science. What has happened to cause this downfall? They rely on calculators for simple math problems and they can not count your change back without a cash register doing the calculation.
Gone are the days of route memorization of the times tables and doing math problems without using calculators. Long division, order of operations... you may as well be speaking Greek.
The World Championship Slide Rule Competition is held in March, Last year it was Held in Irving, TX and was won by Bennie Tschoerner, who was also 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 champion.
The competition consisted of a set of problems that needed to be solved within a given time limit. The winner who gets the highest number correct wins.
First place was won by Bennie Tschoerner using a K+E 4181-3 and in  2nd Place was Brad Bradfield. There were only 2 entrants in the competition.

Movie buffs will tell you that the scene is all wrong, but one of my favorite scenes is in the movie  Apollo 13 when Jim Lovell is calculating the gimbal angles with a pencil and notebook and asked mission control to check his calculations. All the engineers back at NASA instantly whipped out their slide rulers and started checking his math. Think about it, we sent men to the moon in vehicles that were designed by engineers using slide rulers to calculate all the precise tollerance in their equipment.
Today I'm glad when the the kid at the cash register can give me the correct change back.
Nice Job Bennie and Brad  for keeping your skills sharp.
Bennie can grow a great beard too!

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Happy Leap Day. Here I a ready to make the leap to spring but old man winter dragged me back. I don't like him, he's sneaky. December, January, and February he hasn't shown his face in these parts. In fact its been rather mild here in the northeast 50 -60 degrees on some days. Today he decides to appear, the last day of February. The 29th no less"Leap Day" it happens once every four years and he want to make his big entrance. He won't last though, those three ladies of spring (April, May, and June) will show up and throw his butt out. Enjoy your extra day of the year.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Last Batch

This is the last batch of student's papers that I have to complete grading.  I still prefer hard copies over having student  submit electronically. I know I should be more environmentally friendly but I still perfer a good book over an e-book. Just all me old fashion.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What they See

He takes me to the window, small, dirty, crisscrossed with old chicken wire, and points across the street  to something that seems to be a monster being born not of a living creature but of a building. Seeing this obscene thing is a shock; what is worst is seeing the people passing to and fro beneath it, intent on plotting their day's business or planning their evening's pleasure; they pass to and fro and do not look up
None of the look up. I hear him say it again: "We do not see them but they see us." ~ Stephen king

 This passage is from text written by Stephen King for a book called Nightmare in the Sky

After reading this passage I couldnt stop thinking about my visit to Norte Dame Catheral. I was a rainny day. People say Paris is more beautiful in the rain. It is especially true about seeing Norte Dame, because many of the gargoyles act as downspouts to move the water away from the building. Only in the rain can you see the cascade of water flowing from their mouths.
We began the climb to the top via this narrow, winding stairway. It's quite a workout but it's worth the climb for the spectacular views that await you at the top. My wife made this climb  and she had a heart attack a year before. A slow and steady pace is whats necessary to make it to the top. Stop and take in the views from the little windows. There is no hurry, no time limit.
Gargoyles sit atop the catheral keeping an on going vigle of the city below. Stephen King words come to mind. "We do not see them but they see us." ~  Birds and gargoyles are privilaged to  the most spectacular views of  Paris that you can imagine. Think of the changes they witnessed over the centuries that have past. What would they say if they could speak? Would they leave their post if they could?
Through the eyes of a gargoyle
Think about the changes they have seen come to be... cars, airplanes, medicine, war and peace. Has our society changed for the better or for the worst. Why haven't they said anything  or did they and we just didn't pay attention. Remember..."We do not see them but they see us." Do we not hear them too?

My daughter Lisa caught my attention near top of the catheral and I framed this photograph of her with the gargoyles. The rain had stopped and it was beautiful to just take in the view and wonder what it would be like to be one of these sentenals of the catheral. My daughter let me know...
Lisa the Gargoyle

Later that evening we had a dinner crusie on the Seins as we past Notre Dame I looked up at the gargoyles and I did see them because I know they saw me.

Boun Jour!