28. September 2011 · Comments Off on Florida Discoveries 19: You Can’t Grow Hops in Florida!! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Many of my more loyal readers know that in Nebraska Dave and I were able to grow hops in our backyard.  We had a cool landlord/homeowner who gave Dave permission to dig up part of our backyard and string up trellises to grow hops (among other fruits and veggies).

In summer 2009 and 2010, we had this EPIC WIN of hops harvests!  The vines climbed up so high, and it was a lot of fun to learn about how hops grow.  We left Nebraska last fall with about 3 ounces of vacuum-sealed dried hops ready for the next time Dave decides to brew…probably once the weather cools down.

Here is how awesome the hops got in summer 2009:

The top ropes on this trellis are 8 feet tall!  These were awesome!
These flowers were ready to harvest in late July 2009.


But here in Florida, the goal is survival!  I gave away several of our hops rhizomes and tossed a few in a lightweight pot when we moved from Nebraska to Florida.  This spring the rhizomes sprouted but without the appropriate humidity and sunlight (the sunlight requirements for ideal growing conditions are at 35-55 degrees latitude), we didn’t get much at all.  This morning I took some pictures of the plant at the most growth it had this year.  Here in Florida, all I can hope is that we keep these alive until we get back that far north again.  So far, so good.

You can’t make this stuff up!  About 2 feet long, compared to the 10-12′ vines from Nebraska just one year prior!

All I can do is hope that the plant remains alive while we’re living here….

23. August 2010 · Comments Off on Colorado Discoveries: Part 2 — Golden, CO · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

After Rose’s Saturday night reception, we checked out of the hotel on Sunday morning and enjoyed a beautiful drive up to Golden, about 25 miles west of Denver. There were two things in particular we wanted to see in Golden: The Colorado Railroad Museum and the Coors Brewery Tour.

I’m falling behind on my posts so I’ll speed things up a bit. Less talk, more pictures.

We were in awe of all the bicycles on the roads. I’m sure bike riding is a popular Sunday morning activity there — they were conquering some pretty impressive hills/inclines!

From 2010 08 08 Colorado RR Museum
From 2010 08 08 Colorado RR Museum
From 2010 08 08 Coors Brewery Tour

First stop, the Railroad Museum! We made it there right when it opened up. This facility is about the size of the Strasburg RR or the NC Transportation Museum, and is full of pieces from Colorado’s railroads over the past years (which Dave could speak to more than I could). For a small extra fee, you could ride around the museum on a Galloping Goose, which was one of the Rio Grande Southern’s converted Pierce Arrow limousines. Learn more about Galloping Geese here. Enjoy some pictures!

From 2010 08 08 Colorado RR Museum
From 2010 08 08 Colorado RR Museum
From 2010 08 08 Colorado RR Museum

Jacob got to ride shotgun in the Galloping Goose!

From 2010 08 08 Colorado RR Museum
From 2010 08 08 Colorado RR Museum

After the museum we went into downtown Golden and had lunch at a restaurant there. Then we headed over to the Coors Brewery for their free tour. And what a line there was! We waited 45 minutes in the sun but made it onto the bus and over to the brewery, whoo hoo!

From 2010 08 08 Coors Brewery Tour
From 2010 08 08 Coors Brewery Tour
From 2010 08 08 Coors Brewery Tour
From 2010 08 08 Coors Brewery Tour

We received these audio tour handsets, you dialed the numbers on the tour and listened to the guy talk. Only the adults could get the handsets, but the kids hijacked them and enjoyed listening about how the beer is made here:

From 2010 08 08 Coors Brewery Tour

All those kettles….mmmmm:

From 2010 08 08 Coors Brewery Tour

Cool facts about Coors beer:

From 2010 08 08 Coors Brewery Tour
From 2010 08 08 Coors Brewery Tour

The packaging line:

From 2010 08 08 Coors Brewery Tour

Like all these other tourist attractions we go to, you’re yanked aside on the way in for a photograph. We did that, and we were handed the pictures on the way through the tasting area. If you don’t like the picture, you hand it back on the way out of the brewery. My iPhone accidentally captured a likeness of the picture:

From 2010 08 08 Coors Brewery Tour

Oops 🙂

Dave enjoyed his glass of “Colorado Native” beer, and I enjoyed some Blue Moon.

From 2010 08 08 Coors Brewery Tour

After the tour, at about 4pm, we packed up and continued our journey into the mountains. Next stop: Estes Park!

16. August 2009 · 4 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

Today we harvested our first batch of hops! We’re expecting 1-2 more harvests before the end of the season. Today we probably got enough for Dave to brew 1-2 batches of beer. It’s in the food dehydrator right now and our house smells like a brewery!

22. July 2009 · Comments Off on Pumpkin and Hops Updates · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , , ,

First of all, a week after the artificial insemination, here’s what we have for a pumpkin so far:
This is about 1.5 lbs. and about 10″ circumference. I’m so excited at this!

Unfortunately, the next several female flowers haven’t been opening up, but they can be really sensitive to amounts of water it receives. There are 4-5 more buds pending, and I’m keeping tabs on it…

Someone on Facebook commented about the breed of pumpkin he was growing, and it wasn’t till then I realized I don’t know what breed this pumpkin is going to be. It could be a pie pumpkin, a jack ‘o lantern pumpkin, or maybe one of those state fair pumpkins?

We’ll all just have to wait and see….

Break break.

I’m not sure whether I’d mentioned it on my blog, but we are also growing hops in our backyard. We ordered some rhizomes this past spring from American Brewmaster, the store that Dave frequented for his beer-making supplies while we were living in NC. After consulting billions of websites (here’s one) looking for how hops are grown, we learned that Nebraska is at the ideal latitude for growing them, and if the soil is good, and they’re planted in the right place, we could get enough hops to nicely augment Dave’s homebrewing.

So Dave ordered two rhizomes of Centennial hops this past March (at $4 per rhizome, this seems a much better deal than $4 per ounce for hops cones themselves!), and we potted them in pots in April to give them a head start. This is from April 9th.
The first week of May, Dave rigged up the trellising and we put the hops in the ground!
There was little progress for a month or so, Dave and I got a bit worried. By Memorial Day, nothing was climbing…

Picture from May 26th.
Just before our vacation, we saw evidence of some real climbing, and by the time we got back from our vacation, the vines had reached the tops of the trellises! From June 29th.
Just after July 4th, flowers started to appear up at the topmost parts of the vines, and I’ve been having a pretty hard time getting good pictures of them…here’s what I got today (July 21):

We weren’t expecting flowers this year. Hops are perennial vines that usually use its first-year growth to focus on strengthening its root system and establishing itself. But whatever we get will be great, and can be preserved for future brews. We’re just starting to see the flowers, flowering is allegedly going to continue through late August/early September, so I foresee plenty for at least one batch for Dave and his friends to enjoy this fall/winter.

After all, the world is just coming off of a hops shortage, and the homebrewers takes the brunt of such shortages….

Cheers and happy gardening!

27. April 2008 · 3 comments · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , ,

I’m stoopid tired again.

It started with another yard sale this morning. So once again I was up at 6am on a Saturday. It was lousy this time around: $20 in 3 hours. Compared to $300+ in 6 hours last Saturday. We ended up giving away our two largest items — Dave’s old model train layout benchwork and a La-z-Boy recliner, since they went to people we knew. I guess my double Baby Jogger’s goin’ on Craig’s List this week.

At 10:45am we took the boys to a birthday party at one of those bouncy-house centers, got them there a little after 11am, where the Bucklers (their daughter was also a guest at the party) kept the boys while Dave and I took off for…

Well, Dave did most of the drinking. He behaved very well, I’m proud of him! I enjoyed some tastes for the first 90 minutes or so…over 100 beers to taste! I was definitely most impressed with the Warsteiner flavored malt liquors. The lemon flavored “mix” tasted like Mountain Dew with a kick! Yum! I’m not as much a beer girl so I was okay wrapping things up early on so I could drive Dave home.

Got to enjoy some fried dill pickles! A distinctly North Carolina thing…

It was a great time, except for when I was buzzed I charged right into a porta-potty and went potty before realizing there was no toilet tissue! EEEWWW!

I did come out of there with a cool Blue Ridge Brewing Co. t-shirt featuring this pic of their Hurricane Hefeweizen label, which I thought was neat.

After a yummy fried seafood dinner with the boys, and the boys went to bed, I tackled cleaning closets. Stuffing linens and clothing into Space Bags and hauling them down into our near-cleaned out garage shelves. Just now finished. My closet looks pretty darned good now. Let’s hope potential home buyers think the same thing.

Tomorrow? Mowing the lawn, shampooing carpets, grocery shopping and helping Dave package up his model train layout to store it while the house is on the market.

Okay — while I was writing up this post, I must have downed about 10 Hershey’s Cookies & Cream Kisses. Oh so yummy in my tummy, but I must stop now!
17. February 2008 · Comments Off on I Can’t Believe I Lived Here for 2 1/2 Years and Didn’t Know About This! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags: , , ,

Yesterday Dave and I took a field trip to the Carolina Brewing Company for one of their weekly tours. We had a nice time (without the kids).

Dave did a description of the brewery and nice review of their beers here.

I just can’t believe we’ve been living right up the street from the place all this time and never thought to do this. It’s a great free activity for when family or friends come to visit.

Every Saturday afternoon from 1-3pm (perhaps even 4pm) they open up the taps for free “samples”, although you’re basically getting full pint glasses and you’re welcome to get as much as you like. Needless to say, we saw a lot of college kids.

Get there early, though…Dave and I arrived at 1pm exactly and there was a 10-15 minute wait before we made to the taps the first time. And we went straight back to the end of the line after we got our first pint, because we had drained our glasses when we got back to the taps (another 15 minutes). The taps are turned off during the tour portion itself, which is about 1/2 hour around 1:30-2pm.

We bought a set of 5 pint glasses, each of them featuring a different one of their beers. I was really wanting one of their Groundhog Day Imperial Stout glasses (go figure!) and the gentleman said they were out of new ones for me, but if I mingled among the crowd and found someone with one for their free samples, I could provide a clean drinking glass and take the used Groundhog’s Day glass. So that’s what I did! (I had 1 1/2 beers in me by this time, I had no problem batting my eyelashes at a guy to do it).

01. January 2008 · Comments Off on Dave’s ready to Bottle his homebrew. · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:

(The label Dave came up with for his first batch of Homebrew! — Howie’s our dog…)

Dave got a Mr. Beer for Christmas. It was “given” to him by his two sons. (Am I mother-of-the-year or what — convincing her sons to give Daddy a Home Brewery for Christmas!).

On Christmas afternoon, he took over my kitchen and started on this batch. He’s following the Mr. Beer directions pretty closely this time around, although he’s already consulted with several other home brewer who have enlightened him on “the right” way to homebrew.

So it’s now New Year’s afternoon, and Dave’s taken over my kitchen once again to bottle his work thus far.

Someone already commented about all the soda bottles on the kitchen counter in my first post. Those were in preparation for today’s bottling.

Good thing New Year’s dinner is a Crock Pot meal — he can have the kitchen all he wants today!