A Blue Guy, Living Green, in a Red State

Maine Vacation

Posted in Maine by emerson430 on July 26, 2008
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My wife and I leave for Pemaquid Harbor, Maine early tomorrow morning. I believe that I first visited our cottage here when I was in the womb. My family has been going ever since. The cottage first belonged to my dad’s mother’s grandparents and was built around 1904. My grandparents live across the street in a cottage called “Bayview” and my great grandmother used to live next door until she passed. Some of my fondest memories of youth were here.

Rockmere Cottage

Rockmere Cottage

View from the Pier

View of the Pier

Looking in Off the Water

Looking in Off the Water

We leave bright and early tomorrow (6am) and drive straight through to Buxton, Maine where my parents live. We will head to the cottage early the next morning, stopping in Freeport for a visit to L.L. Bean’s, of course.

There are a few things that must happen every time we go up to the downeast.

1. A visit to Shaw’s Lobster Wharf

2. A visit to Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

Pemaquid Point Lighthouse

3. A visit to Reny’s

There is much more, but these are the necessities.

More to come when we get there.


Burning Money: Maintenance and Energy Efficiency of Old Houses

Posted in This Old House by emerson430 on July 26, 2008

My lovely wife is moderating a workshop tomorrow at Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens on this very topic, as well as another workshop titled: “House Makeover: Exterior Painting of Your Old House.”

My question is this, we all know that it is more sustainable to keep an existing structure instead of building new.  This does not come without sacrifice, however.  Time, money, and energy are required to maintain an older home.  If you were to attend this workshop, what questions would you have?

Beer of the Week … Stone IPA

Posted in Beer,Ratings by emerson430 on July 26, 2008
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What better way to start a blog off than with a proposed weekly segment about beer?

Let’s review a beer, shall we?

The beer this week just happens to be whatever I had in my fridge at the exact moment that I decided to enter the blogging world. That beer? Stone IPA!

So, a few things to start us off. First, Stone Brewing Company is located in Escondido, California. They are known for making big, bold beers that are not for the faint of heart. Lots of hops and huge malty goodness are halmarks of Stone beers. Some other beers of theirs worth trying include Arrogant Bastard Ale (both oaked and regular) and Ruination IPA (an imperial style IPA, more on this later). Today, however, we will be looking at their standard IPA. What is an IPA? It stands for India Pale Ale. Ales are top fermenting beers that require a warmer fermentation temperature than their counterpart, the lager. An IPA is named as such because of the preservative properties that the all important hop provides. You see, when the English empire colonized India the colonists living in the land of the Ganga River couldn’t be without their beer. However, beer that traveled over such a long way would inevitably spoil. Ratchet up the hops during brewing and low and behold, the beer would last for some time longer, certainly all the way to India. The result is a beer that is much more bitter and aromatic than most ales of similar malt profiles.

Now, on to the Stone IPA. I really like the IPA style. The hop character is surprisingly refreshing in the summer months and contrastingly warming in the winter ones. The citrus profile of most hops, such as Amarillo, Centennial, and Warrior, please both the nose and the palette. The Stone IPA tends towards the bitter end of the flavor profile and has a unique, almost smoky nose. At 77 IBU’s (International Bittering Units, a measure of hoppiness) the Stone IPA is on the higher end of the spectrum. It has a lot of both Centennial and Magnum hops and this comes through in both the aroma and the taste on the palate.

I like this beer and will buy it again. However, there are other IPA’s that I would buy first. A brief look at Ratebeer.com shows a few other IPA’s that are ranked at or above Stone’s. This includes Bell’s Two Hearted Ale and Dark Star Six Hop. I have had and love the Bell’s but am still looking for the Dark Star.

More to come on other styles, brewers (both domestic and international), and organic techniques. Requests are welcome!

Inaguration Day … 7/25/08

Posted in Uncategorized by emerson430 on July 26, 2008

My name is Ben and I am a science teacher. This means several things. For starters, I am a self admitted dork and love it. You might even say that I revel in it. There are few things in this world that give me as much joy as knowing and understanding the obscure and complicated. Secondly, I work 8 months of the year. This leaves a large amount of time to devote to aspirations and interests outside of my professional pursuits. My wife and I own an older home in Lakewood, Ohio that demands a certain amount of my free-time. (I hope to write about that extensively here.) I home-brew beer and love to cook. I am committed to sustainable agriculture, eating whole, healthy, and natural foods, and leadings as carbon neutral a life style as possible. I love trying new things, be it culinary, athletic, or artistic.  Being in Ohio, a recently red state, I want to share my experiences with our local culture and flare that transcends this red reputation.  That said, let’s begin.

My hope with this blog is the following:

1. Put a digital record of the interesting and current things in my life on “paper.”

2. Seek and find like minded people to share ideas and musings with.

3. Learn as much as possible, about as much as possible for the greatest resource there is, other people.

I must also give thanks to both Abbie and Rose for inspiring my new blogging effort.  Thanks guys.