Friend & Farmer Tempranillo

  • Producer: Friend & Farmer
  • Location: Castilla La Mancha, Spain
  • Year: 2019
  • Price estimate: unknown (from our cheese & wine box)
  • Tasting notes: A purple-ish ruby color in the glass and opaque even at the rims. Aromas of dark fruit, licorice and chicory. Alone, the taste is sour, tart and sour like an underripe plum. With the cheese, chocolate and sour cherry come out and only a hint of the sour remains. Short to medium finish.
  • Conclusions: By itself, I was not a fan of this wine. I wasn’t certain how I would drink it, but once paired with the cheese, it really came into it’s own. Good, strong flavors that compliment food. Not my favorite wine, but as long as I’m eating I wouldn’t turn it down.
  • Notes: My local cheese shop does a monthly cheese and wine club that we decided to try after years of just doing there regular monthly cheese. This was paired with Jasper Hill Clothbound Cheddar and it did go really well with it. I personally liked it with the gouda we picked up for our cheese plate even better – the chocolate notes in the wine complimented the caramel notes in the cheese really well, but not in a way that made either sweet. Just a nice wine with cheese.

My Cursed Socks

Don’t get me wrong, I love these socks and intend to wear them frequently once it gets cool again, but I really felt like they were cursed as I made them.

Usually I can make a pair of socks in about two weeks. This takes into account working and the limited hours to actually knit during the week, and long knitting sessions on the weekends to make up for it. I really enjoy knitting socks and seeing them come together, but man is it frustrating when things go wrong.

I started these socks in January. At the start things looked good.

img_20200202_161305When I got to the heel, usually my favorite part to knit, I tried a short row heel. Oh, it didn’t work. I followed the pattern, and watched a video or two on how to knit short rows, but it wasn’t coming together for me. So I ripped the heel out and started over, this time with my regular heel flap method. Then I realized as I started the gusset that I forgot to turn my heel – you know, make the little cradle for your heel. Rip out the heel again, only this time, I can’t get the stitches back on my needle right. Deep breath and rip the whole thing out.

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So I started over. I loved the pattern, loved the yarn and loved how the socks were looking, so I just went for it. I don’t know what happened, but I ended up starting over 6 times. There were issues with the cuff, issues with the number of stitches, issues with dropping stitches and issues with loosing my place in the pattern. But I persisted and I ended up – finally – with a complete sock . . . that was too small. I inadvertently went down both a size for the sock and a needle size. I had intended to do one or the other and somehow did both, so now I had a completed sock that I could not get on my foot.

This is when I took a break. I just couldn’t do it again right away, so I went for the slipper socks as a nice diversion and to get my knitting mojo back. It worked and when I started again, I was in a much better place. I did end up starting over twice more, but in the end, they came out great and fit really well. They are put away for the time being (it is already 90 here). The lesson I’m taking from these is persistence pays off . . . and know when to step back for a little while to get perspective.

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Bedrock Wirz Riesling

  • Producer: Bedrock Wine Company
  • Location: Cienega Valley, CA (grapes from here, winery in Sonoma)
  • Year: 2018
  • Price estimate: $22 from winery
  • Tasting notes: Dark straw in the glass. Notes of apple cider and petrol on the nose with a little green grape. Tastes of melon, apple, and lime. Finish is long with a little vanilla and citrus.
  • Conclusions: Beautiful, easy drinking wine. This is one of those wines that reminds me why I have way to much Bedrock wine in my house. Every bottle is fantastic and both easy to drink and complex at the same time. I could have sat for hours sipping and parsing flavors, but it is just as easy to sit and enjoy good wine, food and conversation with friends with this wine. Not sweet at all, but just enough to balance the high acidity that riesling is known for.
  • Notes: Usually I get my Bedrock wine during their allocation period a few times a year. This is one of the wines I got sometime last year. It is also a wine we picked up when we were at the tasting room in July. I had forgotten what I ordered earlier in the summer, and just loved this so much while we were there, we got a few bottles. When all the shipments came in together in December, we had double the riesling, which made me very happy indeed.

Bathroom Renovation part 4 – Almost Done

I our initial plan/timeline for the bathroom renovation, spring break was going to be the time for me to just enjoy the completed project. Maybe get a few things like new towels and rugs, but the actual renovation would be complete.

Unfortunately due to a few delays (wrong cabinet which delayed the counter measurements and glass fabrication) the bathroom is not done yet. It is usable at this point (yay!) but not complete. We have the glass for the shower to be installed and a few minor things to fix/adjust. Now with the virus and social distancing and limiting contact I’m not sure how that is going to impact the bathroom, but in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t a worry.

The counter with the sinks went in, as did the matching window sill and the end cap for the half wall by the shower, faucets, mirrors and lights went in next and Bob and I added a privacy film to the window. Outlets and light switches got their covers back and we are now in holding mode. It looks good and is usable so we’ve moved our stuff back in and have begin working out the little things – like where to hang towels and who gets what drawer.

img_20200306_063948I’m hoping the final touches will be done soon, but if they aren’t, that’s okay. Whenever it gets done it will be great. The bathroom feels so much bigger now, and the shower is just lovely. I’m still gaga over the tile, especially the shower floor tile. Even Alinea likes it, I think.

Slipper-ish socks

At the end of January I cast on a pair of socks that seemed pretty straight forward. Two weeks in I began referring to those socks as the cursed socks. Progress was not going well and I was getting frustrated and feeling not so great about knitting in general, so I decided to take a break from those and knit myself a nice, warm, thick pair of slipper type socks.

I used the purple wool that we picked up in Scotland years ago. It’s thick, warm and knits up really neatly so I thought this would be perfect yarn for slippers. I made my first attempt at toe-up socks and tried a new type of heel. Sock one came together quickly and the heel actually worked for me. (Sweet tomato heel for those who knit socks.)

In short order, I had two pretty darn good looking, well fitting, warm and cozy socks. I was so happy to have a completed knit again and my knitting mojo back.

Once these were done I did go back to the cursed socks. This go around is a little better, but there are still issues I’m working out. Hopefully they will be done soon, but in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my new socks.

 

2012 Five Vines

  • Producer: Viszlay Vineyards
  • Location: Sonoma, California
  • Year: 2012
  • Price estimate: $54 (we did not pay that much for the bottle)
  • Tasting notes: Ruby red in color with a touch of pink at the edges. Aromas of dark berry, raspberry, bramble and cut grass. (Yes, in a red.) Very smooth on the palate with notes of black cherry, chocolate, raspberry, tootsie roll and a little herb note with some forest floor (but not unpleasant). Very nice chocolate finish.
  • Conclusions: Excellent wine. This bottle was incredible – even better than the bottle we opened before and surprisingly better than the bottle we tasted at the vineyard last summer.
  • Notes: This was one of our pick ups from our trip to Sonoma last summer. We loved this wine and I almost pegged it as a Cab Franc, but it is a blend with varietals I don’t usually enjoy – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah etc. But this … oh this was just amazing. Super smooth and so much depth of flavor. This is why I drink wine.

Inadvertent Sock Monkey Socks

I’m still on the sock kick. These are the fourth pair I’ve made (I’ll post number 3 later – there is a story behind these) and I have to say, except for one incredible screw-up that wasn’t noticed until the socks were actually completed, these were fantastic!

When I asked Val what kind of socks she wanted, she said warm. Really warm. Thick and wooly warm. So I searched patterns, found lazy weekend socks. I made these in a yarn I had to test them and they came out pretty good. A few issues with the heel, and a little short, but overall not bad. I thought with the right yarn, they could be great for Val’s socks.

I looked through my stash of yarn and came across some yarn we bought in Edinburgh years ago. I loved the colors and thought they would make a great warm, wooly sock. And I was right – but the color of the brown yarn took on the sock monkey color when paired with the cream. Seriously – it didn’t look a thing like sock money brown in the cake, but knit it into a sock with some cream yarn and it really does. Once Bob said they looked like sock monkey, I couldn’t see anything else.

But no matter. Warm wooly socks can look like sock monkey. I followed the pattern exactly as I had done the first time, but I was able to make the heel correctly this time (I finally could tell what they meant in a particular part of the pattern) so I felt really, really good about these.

And then I finished and put them together. You see the problem, right? It’s not the size, or too many or too few rows or something that isn’t matching. Nope, I was extra careful with all of that. The heels are right, there are not any gaps. In fact, the socks are practically identical. And there in lies the problem. Somehow, I didn’t get the cable detail on the correct side of the second sock, so both cables are on the right side of the leg. Sigh. I literally noticed this after I completed the second sock, wove in all of the ends and put them next to each other. How I did this, I have no idea. But I did. So much for the perfect sock.

I’m taking this as a challenge, and a reason to make another pair of socks for Val. It may be a little bit (I have a list of socks to make already) but I will make them before the end of this year. A better pair. A perfect pair. A pair that doesn’t have a noticeable execution flaw. Challenge accepted!

But they are cute. Super cute.